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Climate | Latest Travel Advice | Visas & Immigration | Money | Local Time | Getting Around | Public Holidays | Electrical Power | Travel Insurance


Ethiopian climate varies according to the different geographical regions. The central plateau has a moderate climate with minimal seasonal temperature variation. The mean minimum during the coldest season is 5.5°C (42°F), while the mean maximum rarely exceeds 26°C (79°F). Temperature variations in the lowlands are much greater, and the heat in the desert and Red Sea Coastal areas is extreme, with occasional highs of 60°C (140°F). Heavy rainfall occurs in most of the country from June to September. The central plateau also experiences a second, through much milder, rainy season between December and February. Average annual precipitation on the central plateau is roughly 48 inches. Average annual rainfall in the Ogaden, however is less than 4 inches. The western most region of Ethiopia receives an annual rainfall of nearly 80 inches.

Climate Chart for Addis Ababa
Climate Chart for Addis Ababa

For today's weather forecast see     CNN - Africa Weather Forecasts


Foreign & Commonwealth Office (London)
US State Department - Travel Warnings


Apart from nationals of Kenya all visitors to Ethiopia are required to have an entry visa and if you arrive by air it is expected for you to show an onward ticket. Obtaining a single entry tourist visa is not a problem but multiple entry visas are only issued to business travellers.

Ethiopian immigration issues visa upon arrival for the following countries:- Argentina Austria Australia Belgium Brazil Canada China Denmark France Germany Finland Greece Ireland Israel Italy Japan Korea Luxemburg Mexico Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Russia South Africa Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA

We recommend you check your local Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate for the latest visa requirements.

Listing of tourist offices and Embassies located round the world


Official Currency:    1 birr=100 cents
Current Exchange Rate:    Today's Exchange Rate

Travellers cheques are best taken in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling and cash is best taken in US Dollars. Some major credit cards are accepted at major hotels.


Banks:     Monday to Thursday 0800-1200 and 1300-1700    Friday 0830-1130 and 1300-1700

Shops:     Monday to Friday: 0800-4230 and 1530-1930     Saturday: 0900-1300 and 1500-1900


Ethiopia is three hours ahead of GMT



Air: Ethiopian Airlines from Asia, Europe, USA and Africa

probably the best way of getting round the country is the good domestic flight service offered by Ethiopian Airlines between the major towns and prices are reasonable.
Train: There is only one route running from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa and conditions can be overcrowded.
Bus: The bus service is run by the government and is extremely slow and unreliable. Fuel shortages often means there is no form of public transport available and this will also have an affect on those who want to hitch.
Self Drive / Car Hire:

Ethiopia Folded Map  
The Africa Guide's recommended Map
Ethiopia Folded Map  (Maps Worldwide)

Published by ITMB Publishing Ltd - Africa
published for the English speaking traveller - informative text included with the map, dealing with the history, culture, etc. Light, practical and should be invaluable for the backpacker, traveller or tourist

Other Maps & Atlases for Sale

Driving is on the right hand side and a valid British licence is acceptable. Although if you intend to drive you should obtain a temporary Ethiopian driving licence. Car are available for hire in Addis Ababa.

Due to the nature of the terrain, road conditions in Ethiopia are poor. Consequently, travel by road can be time consuming and a four-wheel drive can be an advantage.


Jan 7th Ethiopian Christmas
Jan 19th Epiphany
Mar 2nd Battle of Adowa
April 6th Victory Day
May 6th May Day
Sept 11th New Year's Day
plus moveable Muslim holidays


Electric Power is 220V running at 50Hz. The Plug types used are :
Round pins with ground - view
Round pins with round grounding pin (offset) - view
Round pins with round grounding pin (in-line) - view


If you need medical care whilst in Ethiopia, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country's local embassy or representative.

To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts.

It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.

You can check out the following websites which specialise in long term travellers, adventure travellers, backpackers and workers based abroad.

Insure and Go - UK Travellers
whether it's for a one off holiday or if you travel many times over the year, if you're off backpacking before university or you're retired and looking to explore the world; if you're after winter sports cover or if it's for a business trip, a wedding abroad or a golfing weekend away, we have a policy at the right price to ensure you have the peace of mind that you are covered for the unexpected while you're away.
InsureMyTrip - USA travellers
A trusted resource that serves millions of customers worldwide, our licensed customer services representatives help travelers find the right insurance plan, offering one of the industry's largest customer ratings and reviews forum and a unique customer advocacy program that provides one-on-one assistance to travelers before, during, and after their trip.

Downunder Insurance - UK - Australia and New Zealand Travellers
offers travel insurance to travellers and residents in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Our cover ranges from basic to highly comprehensive, with affordable policies aimed at backpackers and gap-year students, but with cover available to travellers and holiday makers up to 55 years of age.


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