Frequently Asked Questions

Most commonly asked questions by visitors to Ethiopia

WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE TOPOGRAPHY OF ETHIOPIA?

A volcanically formed central plateau, isolated on three sides by low- lying desert dominates the Ethiopian landscape. The central plateau, often referred to as the Ethiopian highlands, has an average altitude of above 2,000m and includes 20 peaks of 4,000m or higher. The Ethiopia highlands are dramatically mountainous, no more than where hey are bisected by the Rift valley, which starts at the Red sea, then continues through the Denakil depression and through southern Ethiopia to Mozambique in Southern Africa. The part of the Rift valley, south of Addis Ababa, is notable for its string of eight lakes. The most extensive mountain ranges on the highlands are the Semien, which lie directly north of Gondar, and Bale, which lies in the southern highlands to the east of the Rift Valley. Mount Ras Dashen in the Semien is at 4,620m, the fourth highest peak in Africa. The highlands also form the source of four major river systems. The nest known of these is the Blue Nile or Abbay, which starts at Lake Tana in the northwest and supplies nine- tenths of the Nile’s water, which eventually reaches Egypt’s Nile valley.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ETHIOPIA?

Ethiopia can be visited at any time of the year. People are often advised against traveling during the rainy season, which normally runs from June until early October. But it has its own advantages. The scenery is particularly wonderful green in September and early October. At this time the whole country will be a riot of wild flowers. The ideal time to visit Ethiopia is between September and June, when the rains are over but the countryside is still green.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR DURING MY TRAVELS TO ETHIOPIA?

For tourists, light cotton clothing with sunglasses and a hat is advised in the warm lowlands, while in the highlands light or medium-weight clothing is appropriate. During the rainy season a light raincoat and umbrella are essential, and a sweater is best for chilly evenings. The sun can be very strong in high altitudes, so a strong sunscreen is important. Outside of the rainy season, pack light clothes for the daytime and a jacket or sweater for the evenings. A good pair of comfortable walking shoes is essential. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques. When visiting the northern part of the country, where churches are the main attractions (Lalibela, Axum, etc) it is advisable to wear flight socks to ensure your comfort.

IS THERE A DRESS CODE I SHOULD BE AWARE OF ?

It is advisable to be aware in places and times of worship to cover up.However, in other times and places it would not show any disrespect if you wear shorts, jeans and t-shirts as all are acceptable in most parts the country.

IS TIPPING APPROPRIATE?

Firstly, there is no obligation to make tip. We believe that people need to be paid a realistic wage, and inflated tips work against that. Excessive tips can actually spoil the person receiving and be against the work culture. Never the less small appropriate tips to guides and/or drivers are welcome.

WHAT CURRENCY SHOULD I BRING ?

Local payments at restaurants, shops etc will be paid in the local currency. 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 USD, Euro or GBP which should 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.

ARE CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED ( ATM )?

Credit card acceptance is now growing throughout the country  so You can access cash with most visa and master cards at some locations in Addis and at major hotels, airlines and ticket offices mostly in Addis Ababa and this service has recently been extended to other main urban centres.

ARE MOBILE NETWORKS AND INTERNET ACCESS WIDELY AVAILABLE IN ETHIOPIA ?

Telephone, fax, and internet access is available in most tourist destinations. There are internet services at hotels, telecommunication offices, and at private internet cafes in Addis and most of the towns out side of Addis Ababa.

ARE MOBILE NETWORKS AND INTERNET ACCESS WIDELY AVAILABLE IN ETHIOPIA ?

Ethiopia is relatively safe to travel in compared to many African cities. To ensure your safety, we avoid the border areas of Eritrea and Somalia, which are relatively insecure. Other parts of the country are stable and safe.

HOW DO I GET A VISA ?

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 charge.

The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and the United States.

For China including passports issued in Hong Kong and MACAO, a visa is available on arrival.

CAN I GET VEGETARIAN FOOD?

Yes Addis and the destinations you will be heading to offer a wide selection of tasty and delicious foods both for vegetarians and non vegetarians. It is easy to pick your selection from the menu at a restaurant or just by asking the person providing your service.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR DURING MY TRAVELS TO ETHIOPIA?

While clothing will depend on the time of the year, it is best to remember that Ethiopians are fairly conservative in their dress. Dress is less conservative in Addis Ababa, where most people dress in western fashion. For tourists, light cotton clothing with sunglasses and a hat is advised in the warm lowlands, while in the highlands light or medium-weight clothing is appropriate. During the rainy season a light raincoat and umbrella are essential, and a sweater is best for chilly evenings. The sun can be very strong in high altitudes, so a strong sunscreen is important. Outside of the rainy season, pack light clothes for the daytime and a jacket or sweater for the evenings. A good pair of comfortable walking shoes is essential. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques. When visiting the northern part of the country, where churches are the main attractions (Lalibela, Axum, etc) it is advisable to wear flight socks to ensure your comfort.

WHAT IS THE TIME DIFFERENCE IN ETHIOPIA?

Ethiopia has a different time calculating system and three hours ahead of Green witch Mean time (GMT). The Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to that in many equatorial countries, where day and night is always the same length. Time remains constant through the year counting starts from western 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Western 7 a.m. is there fore one o’clock, noon is 6 o’ clock and 6 p.m. is 12 o’clock. In Addis Ababa, then sunrise and sunset at around 6:30 and 18.45 respectively.

ARE THEIR SUFFICIENT ACCOMMODATIONS IN ETHIOPIA?

Addis Ababa has numerous hotels that can cater for all desires. From the luxurious Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson Blu, to tourist – class hotels such as Friendship ,intercontinental , CapitalJupiter and Nexus, you will have wide range of selections. There are also several budget hotels in the city. Hotel standards outside of Addis vary considerably. However, we accommodate our clients at the best available hotels even outside of capital. Ethiopia has shown tremendous growth in new number of hotels and lodges both within Addis Ababa and elsewhere. As a result, the standard is increasing significantly and we make sure our clients get the very best for their money.

WHAT IS THE INTERNET ACCESS LIKE IN ETHIOPIA?

Internet cafes can be found in cities and  towns but less so in rural and remote places.

CAN I USE MY MOBILE/CELL PHONE WHILE IN ETHIOPIA?

Mobile phone coverage is quite good in Ethiopia’s urban areas, but less so in rural, remote and mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.

Contact us

  •   1km away from Bole airport, Addis Ababa

  •    Office:251-118-100025

  •    Fax:251-118-100025

  •    Mobile:251-911-983256

  •    Mail: info@zagweethiopiatour.com

         

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