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Overview

ETHIOPIA, LAND OF THE ORIGINS

Ethiopia, land of the origins, lions, kings and Haile Selassie is one of the most enigmatic countries in the world. Sitting at the horn of Africa between Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and the two Sudans, it is one of the largest countries in Africa, the second most populous and potentially the oldest civilization after Egypt. It is also an incredible tourism destination with history, culture and religion dating back to the 10th century BC.To tour Ethiopia is like to walk far back in time to when everything was medieval, amazing and mind boggling; An ancient civilization of unparalleled beauty, history, culture, religion and larger than life characters.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ethiopia is Sep-April, but particularly at either end of the rains – in April, when the land is dry and barren, or as it flourishes again in Sep-Oct. This green season is also best for highland wildlife. Rains replenish the Omo Valley even sooner – so travel Nov-Mar or Jun-Sep.

Currency & Language

Currency: Ethiopian birr

Official language: Amharic

History & Culture

The history of Ethiopia dates back centuries. And it all begins in the far northern town of Axum, the birthplace place of the biblical Queen of Sheba whose encounter with King Solomon birthed the imperial dynasty that ruled Ethiopia for 3,000 years beginning with Menelik I, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and ending with the death of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1975. Axum is home of the magnificent St. Mary’s Cathedral, the biblical Arch of the Covenant, the Stelae park hosts massive blocks of sculpted granite stone that were used as pagan tomb stones and the underground ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba are just some of her principal landmarks.

History then descends to Lalibela, the presumed second Jerusalem with her ancient rock-hewn churches which are still being used today; they are not only a marvel to behold but are of especial importance because they are not just historical relics but also form the basis of all Ethiopians’ culture, customs and traditions. To them, Christianity is a way of life deeply intertwined with their history and religion; to visit, tour and learn about these churches is to know about the Ethiopian person. The churches are certainly grand, but they portend even greater meaning and importance telling the story of a people, their ancient myths and legends, their life today and aspirations for the future.Lalibella is attains special importance during the Ethiopian Epiphany because it is the birthplace of King, St. Lalibela, who was born on the same date as Jesus Christ. Starting two weeks ahead of genna (The Ethiopian Christmas celebrated every year on 07thJanuary)people from all corners of Ethiopia undertake a pilgrimage to Lalibela to attend the colorful ceremony get spiritual blessings from the high priests.

Weather and Climate

Ethiopia is an ecologically diverse country; you can therefore expect several climate zones ranging from tropical savanna in the west to warm desert climate in the east. ... Generally, the best time to visit Ethiopia is between November and February when clear, sunny days bring regular average temperatures of 25°C (77°F).

Visa Gide

All persons, except nationals of Kenya, require a Visa to enter Ethiopia. Visas for all, except nationals of a stipulated 36 countries, must be obtained in advance before boarding. Please always reconfirm with your Travel Agent and Air Carrier before departing. For more specific information about your passport nationality, how to apply and the entry requirements, please check https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home.Ethiopia exercises strict anti-terrorism measures at her airports which can slow down processes but it is a necessary procedure and has borne good [email protected] does not accept responsibility for denied entry into any country due to wrong or improper travelling documents or any consequences of any manner that may accrue.

Transportation

Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport is the principal gateway to Ethiopia. It is frequented by many international air carriers including KLM, Qatar, Emirates, Air France, South African Airways, Kenya Airways as the award winning national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has a worldwide routes network and makes access to Ethiopia easy and efficient.

Pre-Trip Preparation

Before you leave on your holiday, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:

  • Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
  • Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
  • Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)

Health Requirements:

A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is a mandatory requirement for entry into Ethiopia. Ethiopia sits within the African tropics in areas that are Malaria prone. Anti-Malarial Prophylactics and other protections recommended by doctors are advised. Please consult with your physician before departure.

Do & Don'ts

DO

  • Check the type of visa that you need before coming.
  • Bring a credit card if you have one.
  • Get proper vaccination and insurance before coming.
  • Have some emergency numbers always ready with you.
  • Try to learn some basic Amharic; they’ll love it and you too.
  • Try to visit the countryside and see the rural side of Ethiopia.
  • Unblock your phone at the airport upon arrival and get an Ethiopian SIM card at Ethio Telecom.
  • Bring comfortable shoes and clothes (check the weather of the season/place you are coming).
  • Use safe ways of transport, especially avoiding drivers who chew “khat” and night rides outside the city.
  • Wash your hands always, before and after meals.
  • Eat properly cooked food and drink bottled water.
  • Bargain in souvenir shops. They inflate the price double, triple or four times the real price.
  • Negotiate with taxi drivers that don’t have a meter system.
  • Ask always if the appointments’ time is in Ethiopian time or international time.
  • Offer food to people around while you are eating.
  • Try to come to one of the big holidays; they are very colorful.
  • Get some leather, coffee and cotton (Ethiopia made, please).
  • Be careful with street dogs; they may transmit rabies.
  • Respect different cultural aspects when different than yours.
  • Be aware of your impact as a tourist and try not to leave a footprint that can damage them in the future.
  • Be nice and polite to people all the time.
  • Take it easy when things are going wrong. Try to act calm and serene. People will normally try to help you when you claim for help.

DON’T

  • Don’t bargain in local food and grocery stores; they have fixed prices.
  • Don’t give alms to kids. They are not going to school, pressed by family members or mafias. If you give them money or goods, you are perpetuating this exploitation.
  • Don’t take pictures of government buildings, embassies and similar; it is forbidden.
  • Don’t take portraits of people without asking first; it’s a robbery.
  • Don’t openly criticize the government. Be careful with politics.
  • Don’t drink tap water, uncooked food, salads, etc.
  • Don’t leave your things unattended.
  • Don’t accuse anybody of stealing without proof.
  • Don’t expose homosexual activity; it is punished by law.
  • Don’t swim in most of the lakes (except Langano)
  • Don’t hire unaccredited tourist guides.
  • Don’t go to religious service without covering your head, shoulders, and knees (women).
  • Don’t contraband illegal items/drugs into the country.
  • Don’t work under any circumstance on a tourist visa.
  • Don’t volunteer under any circumstance on a tourist visa.
  • Don’t share non-fasting food with fasting people.
  • Don’t leave trash behind (even if you see locals do it)
  • Don’t feel the need to answer to every person talking/insulting you on the street.
  • Don’t try to get a “logical” explanation to everything that happens in Ethiopia. There may not be one

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