Ethiopia is officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Situated at the Northern east of Africa, an area of 1,112,000 square kilometers. Ethiopia Shares its boundaries with Eritrea North and North east, Djibouti Easter part, Somalia south east and south, Kenya south and Sudan in the western side.
The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa founded in 1886 by Empress Taytu as Addis Ababa, currently Addis Ababa is known as the capital of Africa by hosting many international organization headquarters, UN for Africa (ECA), the AU (African union) and other Diplomatic mission for Africa.
The Ethiopian currency is called Birr and is issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia. One Birr is made up of 100 cents. The Bank notes are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 Birr and the coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 , 50 and 1 Birr cents. Visitors may import unlimited foreign currency. Foreign currency can be changed at banks and hotels and the receipts for all exchange transactions must be retained as this may be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any leftover Ethiopian Birr to their chosen foreign currency at the airport before departure and must provide the declaration form with all receipts for exchange transactions. Please note that the exchange rate fluctuates from day to day. Banks are open from 8 AM (2 o'clock local time) to 5:30 PM (11:30 o'clock local time). Some banks close for lunch between 1 PM (7 o'clock local time) and 2 PM (8 o'clock local time).
Money Transfer and Courier Services
Money transfers can be made through Western Union and Money Gram. Both have representative branches in Addis Ababa and outside in some of the major towns and make their services available from private and national Banks. For courier services, DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT, and EMS have offices in Addis Ababa.
Time and Calendar
Ethiopia is in GMT +3 hours’ time Zone, and follows the unique Julian calendar which is seven years and eight months behind the Gorgonian calendar, consists of thirteen month, the twelve months consists of 30 days each and the last (13th Month) will have 5 or 6 days during leap year, The New Year fall on the 11th of September.
Addis Ababa has two 5 stat hotels- the Hilton Addis and the Sheraton Addis (Luxury collection) and a growing number of tourist class hotels. Standards vary outside the capital, but apart from some remote areas where camping is unavoidable it is generally possible to get relatively clean rooms with en suite toilet and shower.
Telephone, Tele fax, Internet, e-mail and postal facilities are available in the country. Internet services are available in major cities and towns. The international dialing code for Ethiopia is +251.
Customs: Duty-free import are permitted for up to: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars or 1/2 lb of tobacco
1 liter of alcoholic beverages1/2 liter, or two bottles of perfumes Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Birr 500, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
- Summer (Kiremt or Meher ) June, July and August are the summer season. Heavy rain falls in these three months.
- Spring (Tseday ) September, October and November are the spring season sometime known as the harvest season.
- Bega (winter) - December, January and February are the dry season with frost in morning especially in January.
- Belg (Autumn) - March, April and May are the autumn season with occasional showers. May is the hottest month in Ethiopia.
Warm clothing is essential throughout the year in the highland regions. You may wish to bring light cotton clothing for use in the hot areas in the country. A hat and sunglasses are must!!
Amharic is the official language, but there are more than 80 other local languages which is dialectic to some 200. English and Arabic are wildly used and also Italian and French are spoken.
A large number of religions are traditionally practiced in Ethiopia, the most numerous today being Orthodox Christianity, followed by Islam. Protestant Christian and Traditional beliefs, usually categorized as Animism, attract a decreasing number of followers.
Visas are required for all visitors, however; Nationals of the 36 countries, Listed Here Below are given visa on arrival at Bole international Air Port.
19. Kore Republic
28. Russian Federation
Travelers using rail ways Dewele on the Djibouti border is the only point of entry to Ethiopia and those driving to Ethiopia via surface, Moyale (in Kenya), Humera and Metema (in Sudan), and again Galafi in Djibouti are the available means of entries. All arrivals undergo full customs and immigration checks. For the major part of travelers accessing via flight, the Bole International Airport is the only terminal available in the Capital Addis Ababa though there are other domestic airports and airstrips serving domestic needs.
When to come to Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s climate is typically very mild, with temperatures on the wide-ranging highlands averaging below 20°C. Only on the lowland fringes of western, eastern and southern Ethiopia can temperatures soar past 30°C.
The heaviest rains traditionally fall June to early October, making the rest of the year prime time to visit. Directly after the rains the highlands are wonderfully green, covered with wildflowers and sublime for trekking .
Banks, post offices and telecommunications offices are open at least 8.30am to 11am and 1.30pm to 3.30pm weekdays and 8.30am to 11am Saturday. Government offices’ hours are 8.30am to 12.30pm (to 11.30am Friday) and 1.30pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Shop hours are 8.30am to 1.30pm and 2.30pm to 5.30pm weekdays.