"Every hundred feet the world changes."
Travel information about Ethiopia
Ethiopia is situated just north of the equator, and most of the country is covered by the Ethiopian Highlands with varying heights between 1500 and 3000 meters above sea level. Several mountain peaks rise above 4000 meters, the highest being Ras Dashen, africa's 4th highest mountain (4550 meters). The Ethiopian Highlands is often called the Roof Of Africa due to its height and grand size. Because of this, Ethiopia experiences an all year moderate temperate, even chilly at night, climate.
When to travel and what to bring
The main tourist season starts in late September all through January since the weather at this time of the year is at its most pleasant, the landscape is greener, and it is the harvest season for agricultural products like coffee and many fruits. Besides, ethiopian celebrations also lie in this season. The rainy season is from June till beginning of September. During these months things are more quiet, and hotels tend to have more rooms available, though the rain does not affect travelers to get around except while trekking. In fact, some prefer the rainy summer season, due to the frequent evening rain that clears the air and guarantees a green landscape while travelling.
Vaccinations, health and safety
The following advice must be viewed as a guide only, it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor should it be treated as one. Also, please keep in mind that targeted health and vaccination advice should include factors such as; Past medical history, activities, lenght of stay, type of travel and accomodation, altitude and time of year.
"It is safe, and you can't get safer than safe."
There are many ways to minimize the chances of getting ill, including; Bottled water only (this also includes icecubes in drinks), avoid swimming in lakes and rivers, and minimizing contact with insects. Bega Tour Operation emphasize that vaccinations are not mandatory for getting tourist visa, but your vaccination card being up to date will make sure you do not spend time worrying, and rather enjoy your holiday as planned.
Tourist visa are issued at Bole International airport upon arrival for the listed countries below, remember 20 US dollars in cash as payment per visa; where as for those which can not obtain visa up on arrival, Bega Tour Operation can handle the process in advance for you from Addis Ababa. Tourist visas are valid for three months. Kenyan and Djibouti nationals do not need travel visa to Ethiopia.
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian federation, Slovakia, South africa, South korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United kingdom and United states of america.
Currency, ATM and Credit card
The local currency is Ethiopian birr, and is made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency. Credit cards work in most hotels, banks and in the Ethiopian Airlines offices. All ATM machines of Dashen Bank, Wegagen Bank, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Zemen Bank can be used with international Visa, Visa Electron and Mastercard. Diners Card can be used at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Time, Calendar and Language
Ethiopia is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +3), and remain constant so throughout the year. The Ethiopian Calendar, which originates from the Julian Calendar, has twelve months with exactly thirty days, plus five or six days (leap year) comprising the thirteenth month. In the Ethiopian Calendar, the new year starts the 11th of September according to the Gregorian Calendar.
"So, how is the Ethiopian cuisine?"
The ethiopian traditional cuisine differs from international cuisine quite a lot. Both in terms of ingredients and spices, but also how it's eaten; Ethiopians eat with their right hand, and most dishes are served on top of injera, a flat sourdough flatbread used to pick up the food. Because of long traditions of fasting, there are a great variety of vegan dishes to choose from, especially on fasting days.
"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch."
Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa in particular, is embracing international cuisine surprisingly fast, and a wide array of restaurants are popping up every day. We can confidently say that you will be able to order your favourite dish also here, and that you yourself can decide what level of curiosity you want on a meal to meal basis.
Mobile and Internet
Turn on your telephone upon landing at Bole Airport, and you are good to go! (most telecom service providers are supported, check here for a comprehensive list). For internet on your smartphone, the access-point is 'etc.com' (no username or password) and turn on roaming in your cellular settings. 3G network is available in bigger cities.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."