Located in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. The country is home to stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, tasty food and an incredible culture with different ethnic tribes and festivals to enjoy.
LANDSCAPES & NATURE
Ethiopia is blessed with a variety of landscapes that will captivate your sight. From spectacular mountains to arid plains, vast lakes and deep depressions, the country boasts 70% of the mountains on the African continent. Its diversity allows wildlife to thrive, offering and extraordinary range of endemic species like the Gelada baboon, the mountain nyala and the Ethiopian wolf, one of the best places for bird watching.
Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, hosting the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a social event where the coffee beans are roasted and boiled in a vessel; mainly for the purpose of getting together with relatives, neighbors, or other visitors. Its coffee is considered to be some of the best in the world thanks to its high altitude growing conditions and diverse coffee grain, an important part of their culture.
Thanks to its diversity and mix of cultures, Ethiopia offers a wide range of flavorful dishes to delight your palate, highlighting its variety of stews and vegetables (often spicy) always accompanied by Injera (a spongy sourdough flatbread ). Be aware that eating with your hands is the rule.
ARCHITECTURE & HISTORY
Ethiopia’s history dates back to the paleolithic age, being one of the oldest countries of the world and the place where the origin of mankind might have begun. Skeletons of early humans have been found in the country, which confirms this theory. Ethiopia has well preserve its rich history, and religious and historical sites can be found all over the country, from monolithic obelisks to the famous Churches of Lalibela and the beautiful Gondar castles.
CULTURE & TRIBES
Ethiopia is a melting pot of cultures, home to over 80 different ethnic tribes, with different traditions, cultures and languages. As it is almost the only African country that was never colonized (along with Liberia), they were able to maintain their customs and cultures. The Omo Valley has the biggest variety of cultures in the world (for such a small place).
What to expect
Amharic is the official national language of Ethiopia, however the country has 83 different languages with up to 200 different dialects spoken. English, Arabic, Italian and French are widely spoken by many Ethiopians.
In Ethiopia the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. That’s the standard voltage (220-240V) in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa; If you are traveling from the US you will need an adaptor
The Ethiopian Birr is the currency of Ethiopia. Other foreign currencies, like dollars and euros, might be accepted in some tourist places and hotels but won’t be accepted in smaller establishments. You could withdraw Ethiopian Birr directly from the ATM, although they only use the magnetic strip, not the newer chip & pin system. Credit cards are accepted but cash is recommended for remote areas and small establishments. 1 USD equals 33.99 birrs (as of 2020)
Ethiopia enjoys a variety of landscapes and therefore its climate will vary depending on the area, ranging from tropical savanna in the west to warm desert climate in the east. Average daily temperatures often exceed 85°F (30°C). Most parts of the country experience two main climate seasons – a dry season (October – May) and a rainy season (June – August).
Ethiopia is relatively safe, in comparison to other african countries. Serious or violent crime is rare. You could find some petty crime in big cities or tourist attractions, where caution is advised. Exercise increased caution when traveling border areas.
Citizens of Djibouti and Kenya do not require a visa to visit Ethiopia.
Holders of the following 92 countries will require a visa on arrival, valid for up to three months: Citizens from European Union, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central african Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Rwanda, Sao tome and Principe, Seychelles, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, UK, US, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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