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Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Currency & currency regulations in Ethiopia

 The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), made up of 100 cents. Birr notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency but this must be declared on arrival to the customs authorities on the appropriate blue-colored form. Foreign currency may only be exchanged at authorized banks and hotels, and a receipt must be obtained. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by customs on departure. Visitors may change back any surplus Ethiopian Birr to cash at the airport before departure. In addition to any Ethiopian Birr, along with the currency exchange form you must bring with you all receipts for exchange transaction.   

Visa & immigrations requirements   

Ethiopia Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charges. List includes:

1. Australia 2. Austria 3. Argentina 4. Belgium 5. Brazil 6. Canada 7. China 8. Denmark 9. Finland 10. France 11. Germany 12. Greece 13. India 14. Ireland 15. Israel 16. Italy 17. Japan18. Korea 19. Kuwait 20. Luxemburg 21. Mexico 22. Netherlands 23. Newzealnd 24. Norway 25. Poland 26. Portugal 27. Russian federation 28. South Africa 29. Spain 30. Sweden 31. Switzerland 32. Thailand 33. United kingdom 34. United states of America . 

Important Travel information   

Ethiopia Fuel name: Federal democratic of Ethiopia Capital city: Addis Ababa Land : 1.14 Million square Kilometers Topography and Climate: Ethiopia has an elevated plateau ranging in height between 2,000 to 3000 meters. In the north and south east part of the country there are high mountains whose picks rise to above 4,300 M. one of the bigets lake which is the source of famous Nile river is also found in the northern part of the country. Ethiopia also has two major favorable seasons wet and Dry seasons. We season runs from June to September and dry prevails October trough May. 


Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. Amharic is the working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia while Oromigna, Tigrigna and Guragina are widely spoken. Moreover, English, Italian, French and Arabic are widely spoken in the spheres of commerce and education. 


Major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam but there are also some Catholic and Protestant. 

Internet, telephone and fax service

Internet domain or country code suffix .et Numerous internet cafes are available in Addis Ababa and in other cities. They all give fax and telephone calling service. The country Dialling Code is +251. 

Power supply

Ethiopia uses 220 volts 50 cycles AC. 


The population is estimated at 83.1 million (UN 2007) 

Time Zone

Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar. 

Main Product Exports

Ethiopian main exports are based on agricultural products as such as: Coffee, hides, oil seeds, beeswax, meat, sugarcane, and flowers. 

Banking Hours 

Banking hours are usually from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm from Monday to Friday and from 8:00 am – 11:00 am on Saturdays. Closing times may be an hour longer in some private banks. Most banks work through lunch time; however foreign exchange services are closed during lunch hours (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm 

Couriers and Money transfer services 

Money transfers can be made through Western Union and Money Gram. Both have representative branches in Addis Ababa and also make their services available from private and national banks. Four courier service providers DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT and EMS have offices in Addis Ababa. 


Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious Sheraton and Hilton hotels to the tourist-class hotels such as the Ghion, the Ethiopia and the Wabi Shebelle. All tourist resorts offer a choice of modern hotels. 


In general between seasons, clothes are appropriate. At higher altitudes, woollen clothes or a coat are needed in the evenings. Travelers should take rain coat or other rainwear, particularly when visiting the country during the period from February to October. It is usually possible to have clothes laundered at or near hotels within a short period of time (frequently services are offered 24 hours a day). 

Health Requirements

Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia. 

Custom Duty

Free imports are permitted for up to: 1. 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 1/2 lb of tobacco 2. 2 liters of alcoholic beverages 3. Half-liter or two bottles of perfume. Visitors may export souvenirs, although some articles (such as animal skin and antiques) require an export permits. 

Public Holidays in Ethiopia   

Ethiopia Public holidays are celebrated according to the Ethiopian (Julian) Calendar which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days in leap year). The calendar is seven years behind the Western or Gregorian Calendar, with New Year falling in the month of September. Sunday is the weekly day of rest.

  1. September 11 Ethiopian New Year

  2. September 26 The finding of the True Cross (Meskal)

  3. October 2 Id ul Fitr (Ramadan)

  4. December 9 Id ul Ahda (Sacrifice)

  5. January 8 Ethiopian Christmas

  6. January 20 Ethiopian Epiphany

  7. March 2 Victory of Adwa

  8. March 20 Birth of Prophet Mohammed (Mauled)

  9. April 25 Ethiopian Good Friday

  10. April 27 Ethiopian Easter

  11. May 1 International Labor Day

  12. May 5 Ethiopian patriots’ victory day

  13. May 28 Downfall of the Dergue Regime

The holidays of Id al Fater and Id al Adaha and the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.) are subject to moon sighting.  


Contributed By Teshome Gessesew


Contributed By Teshome Gessesew