Ethiopia – Travel Guide

Facts to assist you when travelling to Ethiopia



  • The Ethiopian population currently stands at 123.7 million (2020).


Capital and Largest City

  • The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa, and it is also the country’s largest city.


Official Language(s)

  • Ethiopia has a number of official native language, most of which are spoken by a small number of the population. The most spoken languages are Oromo and Amharic. Some Ethiopians may also speak English, but it is not an official language.



  • The official currency of this country is the Ethiopian Birr.


Office Hours

  • According to the Ethiopian Labour proclamation the normal hours of work shall not exceed eight hours (8) a day or forty-eighth (48) hours a week.



  • The work week in Ethiopia runs from Monday to Friday, while weekends are on Saturdays and Sundays.


Time Zone

  • UTC+3.


Calling Code

  • +251.



  • Tipping in Ethiopia is no compulsory, nor is it included in the bill. Rather, tipping is dependent on your interest. There is no specific standard or formula for it, it is depended on your means and level of satisfaction. Most travellers, however, are known to give generous cash tips.



  • Ethiopia houses a multitude of African and international Embassies.



  • The ruling party in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).



  • The Climate of Ethiopia is extraordinarily diverse and ranges from equatorial rainforest with high rainfall and humidity in the south and southwest, to Afromontane regions on the summits of Semien and Bale Mountains to desert region in northeast, east and southeast Ethiopia. Ethiopian seasons are classified into three: the driest season is called Bega and lasts from October to January. The Belg season lasts from February to May, and the rainy season, called Kiremt, lasts from June to September.



  • Transport in Ethiopia is managed and regulated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The transport industry has received an influx of funds in recent years to promote the development of the country’s infrastructure and economy.



  • Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The economy of Ethiopia is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector. The government of Ethiopia is in the process of moving toward a market economy. The country’s main industries are agriculture, forestry, fishing, textiles, and minerals.



  • It is considered polite to refer to people by their titles until they have indicated that they are comfortable with being addressed on a first name basis. If you are a guest, be careful not to compliment something (especially children) more than once, or continue to admire it once you have acknowledged it. This may make Ethiopians uncomfortable as they will become wary that the evil eye will be jealous of it. It is also customary to show respect to elders by kissing their hands in some rural areas. However, this may not always be expected in cities.



  • A common and simple greet that would be understood in most places in the country is ‘’Salam,’’ which is the traditional Arabic greeting. Ethiopians consider greeting to be very important. You are expected to acknowledge people even if you do not speak the same language.



  • The Birr is the unit of currency in Ethiopia, and it is subdivided into 100 Santim.



  • Ethiopia is said to have an average level of safety. There are no serious threats awaiting and therefore it is a fairly safe country in Africa for you to travel to. However, public transport is generally not safe, and citizens are at risk of unpredictable natural disasters. There are also risks of petty crimes all over the country, so visitors are advised to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times.



  • The culture of Ethiopia is structured along ethnolinguistic lines. Music forms a huge part of Ethiopian culture, and the different ethnicities each have a type of music and musical instruments that is special and unique to them.



  • Ethiopia has some lovely modern shops and shopping centres that resemble the ones in Western countries. However, to truly experience the culture of the country and its people, you might want to visit one of the many vibrant markets. Ethiopia also has a number of safe and reliable online stores.


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Written and edited by Saudika Hendricks


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