Facts on Ethiopia II
Travel facts on Ethiopia, Visa & Insurance requirements, accommodation, food, tipping, health
care, medical services, in all about travel in Ethiopia.
Best Times to Visit
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A visa to enter Ethiopia as a visitor is required, as is a passport valid for at least six months after the end of
your tour. The passport must also have a blank page for each visa required. Visas can be collected from the airport
on arrival for a fee, but you must carry at least 2 passport photos.
There is also an Airport tax payable on departure from Addis Ababa.
It is recommended that you take photocopies of your passport, visas, insurance and any other
essential travel documents, kept separately, in case of loss or damage of the originals. This will make it easier
to replace them if you have copies.
Travel & Medical Insurance
Travel insurance is required for all tours. All
clients MUST be insured to cover trips cancelled or cut short, the cost of returning home, personal accident and
medical expenses including air ambulance. If trekking the insurance should also cover the cost of helicopter
If you intended to do other activities like horse riding or white water rafting you should also
ensure that you have adequate insurance cover for these types of pursuits.
Photography and Filming
It should be remembered that sometimes it can cause
offence to take photographs without first asking permission, particularly in Afar and the Omo valley where the
people may ask for money.
Photography in churches is generally allowed but in the more famous tourist attractions like the
Blue Nile Falls you can expect to be charged.
In some areas such as airports and around military camps photography may be prohibited altogether.
Taking photographs or filming army, police or official personnel or government buildings can result in a penalty
and having your film and/or camera confiscated.
Photographers should bring enough stocks of film as brands can be limited and could be more
expensive than when purchased before you travel.
Those bringing video cameras and battery chargers should also bring the necessary electrical
adaptors (see the Electrical Section) and spare long-life batteries as electricity will not always be
Addis Ababa has many top class and tourist hotels.
The top two 5 star hotels are the Hilton and the Sheraton.
Elsewhere the standards vary immensely but overall, rooms are clean, comfortable and many come with
en suite toilet and shower.
Food, Restaurants and Alcohol
The Ethiopian national dish consists of injera, a
flat, circular pancake made of fermented dough.
This is usually served with side dishes of meat, pulses, vegetables and spicy sauces.
The traditional way of eating is with the right hand, having washed one’s hands in water - usually
brought to the table before the meal is served.
Restaurant prices vary widely around the country, starting at around 3 Birr per head in cheaper
restaurants to 30 to 40 Birr in more expensive ones.
However meals are often accompanied by some form of entertainment that may include national music
and dancing. In top class hotels like the Hilton and the Sheraton where more international cuisine is served,
prices can be considerably higher.
The Highlands are predominantly Orthodox Christian which means they observe fasting every
Wednesday, and Friday and at Lent eat only vegetarian dishes. However hotels that cater to Western visitors usually
do not observe these customs.
Tips and Tipping
Most hotels and restaurants include a service charge, however
visitors might want to leave a small tip of one or two birr to show their appreciation of good service. It is
customary to tip drivers and guides.
Health Care and Medical Services
Medical facilities whilst limited are of a good standard. It is recommended that tourists and non-citizens should
only use private hospitals and clinics.
It is highly advisable to consult your own doctor at least two months before travelling about any
immunisations you may need.
Vaccination against Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio with optional vaccination against
Meningitis and Rabies are strongly recommended.
Malaria can be a problem in Ethiopia at the lower altitudes, say through the Rift Valley, so also
consult your doctor for a prescription for both chloroquine and paludrine. Insect repellent cream or spray are also
extremely useful (but not always effective) for mosquito bites.
If you choose not to take anti-malarial drugs, you should consider bringing Malarone, Quinine or
Fansidar tablets as a cure. The side effects of some of these malaria pills can be greatly enhanced by
You should also ask you doctor about your blood group in case of emergency and about any
pre-existing medical conditions which might affect you on tour. You should notify us about any known medical
conditions at the time of booking.
It is also necessary to obtain an International Certificate of Vaccination before travelling showing each injection
is dated, signed and stamped.
It is also advisable to have a dental check-up prior to travelling.
Due to the level of reported AIDS cases, visitors are advised to take precautions during any form of sexual
Food and Water
Do not drink tap water unless boiling it first, or having it filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink
unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Avoid unpasteurized milk and products such as ice cream.
Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. Avoid cooked foods that
have been left at room temperature and are no longer hot. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.
Around 50% of the population live within 12km (8 miles) of a health unit with approximately 33 people per doctor.
The main causes of fatalities are diarrhea, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis and malaria.
Facts on Ethiopia I
Interesting facts on Ethiopia, its cities,
peoples, culture, history, languages, climate, currency, different times, in fact everything Ethiopia.
Facts on Ethiopia III
Travel facts on Ethiopia, dress code, recommended clothing, transport, electrical supplies and communications
whilst travelling in Ethiopia.
Location Map Of Ethiopia
Crossed by deep breathtaking gorges, crowned by magnificent mountains, studded with beautiful lakes and majestic
rivers, surrounded by sweltering deserts, Ethiopia is a land of indescribable beauty.
Choosing a Tour
How to request a brochure featuring the type of tours available to Ethiopia.
Arthur Boylston writes:
Just to thank you and all your staff once again for a wonderful trip which we shall never forget. Your very
personal service is much appreciated. It meant a lot to us to be able to spend time with Tom in your wonderful
Anthea and Arthur Boylston
Places Visited Nov 28 - Dec 12, 2008:
Addis Ababa, Bahirdar, Gonder, Lalibela and Harar
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