Ethiopia Travel Information

Photo Welcome to the Ethiopia, located in Africa. Ethiopia sits landlocked on the eastern side of the continent, the Horn of Africa. To its west is Sudan, to the north Eritrea, to the west the tiny country of Djibouti and Somalia, which also stretches around the southern border, and to the south Kenya. Ethiopia is dominated by a high central plateau, cut by deep gorges including the Great Rift Valley. Only around 12% of Ethiopia is used for agriculture - mainly around the flood plains of the Blue Nile, in the west of the country, and in the highlands and most of this is subsistence growing . Although Ethiopia is relatively close to the equator, the central plateau has a temperate climate, with an average annual temperature of 16°C (60°F). Only in the east, towards the Red Sea, and west, near Sudan, does it get very hot. The Kremt, or main rainy season, occurs between mid-June and mid-September, and there's also a bit of light rain in March and April. There are plenty of antelope species and a couple of monkey and baboon species. But if its birds you're after, you've come to the right place - there are more than 20 endemic species in the country, and you won't have to travel far a field to find them.

Occupations in agriculture support 89 percent of all Ethiopians. Most agriculture consists of subsistence farming. The population is concentrated heavily in the central plateau region, where agricultural resources are most developed. The ethnic composition is extremely diverse, as a result of racial and linguistic integration that began in ancient times. The population of Ethiopia (2001 estimate) is 65,891,874 estimate, yielding an overall density of 58 persons per sq km (151 per sq mi). The Amhara, who founded the original nation, and the related Tigreans, both of which are highland peoples of partly Semitic origin, constitute about 32 percent of the total population. They occupy the northwestern Ethiopian highlands and the area north of Addis Ababa. The Oromo, a pastoral and agricultural people who live mainly in central and southwestern Ethiopia, constitute about 40 percent of the population. The Shankella, a people in the western part of the country from the border of Eritrea to Lake Turkana, constitute about 6 percent of the population. The Somali, who live in the east and southeast, notably in the Ogaden region, are about equal in number to the Shangalla. The Denakil inhabit the semidesert plains east of the highlands. The nonindigenous population includes Yemenis, Indians, Armenians, and Greeks. Visitors must declare hard currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa. Official and black market exchange rates are close to convergence. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton Hotel and Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa. Foreigners are generally required to pay for hotel and car rental in hard currency. Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, and airfields). Such sites are rarely clearly marked. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Taking photographs of prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

Important: Travel to Ethiopia may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Ethiopia visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Capital city: Addis Ababa
Area: 1,104,300 sq km
Population: 91,195,675
Ethnic groups: Oromo 34.5%, Amara 26.9%, Somalie 6.2%, Tigraway 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Gurage 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Affar 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, other 11.3%
Languages: Oromigna
Religions: Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.7%
Government: federal republic
Chief of State: President GIRMA Woldegiorgis
Head of Government: Prime Minister HAILEMARIAM Desalegn
GDP: 94.85 billion
GDP per captia: 1,100
Annual growth rate: 7.5%
Inflation: 33%
Agriculture: cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, khat, cut flowers
Major industries: food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Trade Partners - exports: Germany 14.2%, China 12.2%, Belgium 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, US 6.3%, Italy 5.1%
Trade Partners - imports: Saudi Arabia 10%, China 9.9%, US 7.6%, India 4.6%