FAQ

The official languages of Ethiopia are Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromifa, Afar, and Somali. However, Amharic is generally understood in all but the most remote areas. In total it is said that there are 92 languages in usage in Ethiopia today.

English is spoken by many residents of the country. However, not every individual you meet will be able to converse in English.

The currency used throughout the country is the Ethiopian birr. Mastercard and Visa are used at high end hotels, resorts, and restaurants in tourist areas however do not expect to rely on this. ATMs can be found in the majority of larger cities within the country dispensing local currency. You cannot withdrawal foreign currency from local ATM’s or banks. It is in your best interest to enter the country with US dollars or Euros. Especially because many banks will charge foreign transaction fees for withdrawals. The amount of money able to be withdrawn from the ATM at one time is modest.

A visa is required when traveling to Ethiopia (except for Kenyan or Djiboutian nationals) and can be obtained before entering the country or on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. A 30 day tourist visa costs US$50, or a 90 day one costs US$70. This is subject to change without warning. It is recommended that you obtain a visa prior to arrival to avoid possible complications. Travel with a valid passport is mandatory. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Ethiopia. We are happy to assist you in obtaining your visa!

 

Travelers can visit Ethiopia any time of the year, as it is considered a year-round destination. The climate varies widely due to the dramatically diverse landscape. Snow can be seen in the Bale mountains, whereas the Danakil Depression can regularly reach temperatures of 120 F. It is best to avoid the rainy season however, from June through October in most of the country. It really depends on the destinations you are hoping to visit.

 

The Danakil Depression is one of the hottest places on Earth, with temperatures averaging up around 120 F most of the year. The ‘coolest’ time to visit the area is from November to early January.

The best months to trek here are from September through November. The rainy season ends slightly sooner here than in the north and central parts of the country, and the trekking views are breathtaking when all is still green with flowers in bloom

The Omo Valley follows a rainy season pattern that is slightly earlier than the rest of the nation from April through June, and has a short second rainy season in October as well. The best times to visit this area are from August to October, as well as from December to January.

Ethiopian transportation options vary. In the cities many people travel in tuk-tuks (bajaj). There are also apps like Ride and Feres that are similar to Uber or Lyft in the capital of Addis Ababa. Between the major cities, a plane can be taken for convenience. If you enter Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines you receive a considerable discount on domestic flights. We always advise to enter the country on Ethiopian Airlines because of this. Buses are very common among locals for intercity traveling as well.

Ethiopia is very well suited for the adventurous family. We have experience creating memorable family trips. The history, unique culture, and wildlife all make it a great destination for children to explore, learn, and grow.

Ethiopia is less accepting than some other nations in Africa when it comes to LGBTQ rights, and homosexual acts remain illegal. Conservative beliefs still prevail, All visitors should maintain an understanding of the cultural sensitivity around this issue. We recommend that public displays of affection be reserved for privacy even among heterosexual partners.

A yellow fever vaccine is a requirement for entry to Ethiopia if you have come from or transited through a country where yellow fever occurs. We also recommend you consult with your local travel clinic for the most up to date recommendations, particularly in regards to malaria prophylactics (although Malaria is only common in certain regions.)

Ethiopia uses 220-240 Volts, 50Hz electricity. They use types C, E, F, and L power sockets, similar to those used in most of Europe. It is recommended to bring a converter.

Staple foods in Ethiopia are typically called “wat” similar to thick stews. Oftentimes meats (such as chicken, lamb, beef, or fish) are created in a thick stew that is eaten using a fermented bread made from teff called injera. Injera is also used as the utensil to eat the wat. Food is often eaten using the hands and not utensils. Many Ethiopians are Orthodox Christians and follow strict fasting guidelines that may restrict them to vegetables wat only for a time. The coffee ceremony is also an important part of daily life. This process involves a gathering where coffee is roasted, ground, and brewed by hand and served up to three times together. 

There are also European, Arab and Turkish, as well as Asian cuisines available in many cities.

Tour rates do not include international flights. It is often times less expensive for travelers to book these separately as well as being more convenient as it gives one the flexibility to choose the schedule that is most convenient for you. You can purchase international flights on your own, or we can help you arrange these flights. We almost always recommend travelers book their flights with Ethiopian Airlines so as to receive large discounts on domestic air travel within the country.

We will arrange your pick up from the airport when you travel with us!

You can book your tour at any time but generally the earlier you book, the better. We are also able to accommodate last minute travelers as well. However, for travelers looking to participate in festivals, it can be very difficult to find last minute accommodation and flights.

Absolutely! We can easily arrange for extensions within Ethiopia or offer other suggestions for other African destinations. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

After you book your tour we will provide you with a detailed list of recommendations. Since the climate varies depending upon altitudes and season it helps us to know your itinerary.

The tap water is generally NOT safe to drink anywhere in Ethiopia for non-locals. Bottled water or filtered water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, safari camps & restaurants.

Ethiopia is in the East African Time Zone.

The same rules apply for Ethiopia as for any country in the world. There are always risks and it is always advisable to take some precautions:

Wear or keep your money in a safe place

Have a photocopy of your passport with you and a picture of it on your phone

Do not carry too much cash or valuable belongings like jewelry

Be aware of pickpockets, especially in some areas like Merkato in Addis Ababa or during religious festivals and other crowded events

Use the safe-deposit boxes at hotels whenever possible

Avoid walking alone during the night time in isolated places and always take a taxi especially in Addis Ababa, where crime has increased in recent years.

 

The conflict in northern Ethiopia is currently confined to the Tigray region and parts of neighboring Afar. We do not take our guests anywhere that we know to be unsafe.

Yes, we do, but we need specific information about the special needs of the person ahead of time.

 

Domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (if you have entered the country on Ethiopian airlines)

All land transport costs with an experienced Ethiopian driver

Accommodation

Breakfast (Depending on the location we may also offer lunch and dinner as well as snacks)

Bottled drinking water

All historic sites, museums and national park entrance fees

All professional local guides and National Park scout fees

Internet speed and penetration is steadily increasing in country. However, it is still not up to the standards many American, European, and Asian travelers are accustomed to. We are happy to provide you with your own WiFi, EthioTelecom Sim Card, and Data for your trip at an additional cost. However, WiFi and data signals vary throughout the country and can be non-existent in remote areas.

 

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