When to Come
In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March. In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November. With the upgrading of the airports along the historic route (Axum, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar), it is now possible to visit the north even in the rainy season. For travelers who do not mind waiting out a downpour (usually followed by brilliant sunshine) there are certain rewards — a green countryside full of crops and flowers and the sites largely to yourselves.
Climate and Clothing
Because of elevation, the temperature rarely exceed 25°C (77°F) in most of the country, although in some of the lower lying areas (Awash, Omo and Mago parks) it can get considerably hotter.
Pack light clothes for the daytime and jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking-path ways around historic sites is usually uneven and stony. Trekkers in the Simian and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproofs and 3-4 season sleeping bags.
A cultural note: Ethiopians are generally modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going underdressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques — for getting around sites like Lalibela with its many churches airline socks are very useful.
Health and Medical
All visitors should be in possession of valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Polio is recommended. In many sites malaria is not a problem because of the elevation — this is true of Axum, Gondar and Lalibela for example, but it can occur in Bahir Dar at the end of the rainy season and after unseasonable rains. Chloroquine resistant strains have been identified in some areas so you should consult your doctor about the prescription. Alternatively, you can keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay with repellent creams and sprays. (Climatic changes and phenomena such as el-Nino has meant the appearance of Malaria at unseasonable times, and its spread to areas previously malaria free). Visitors should take a simple first aid pack, which would include: different size plasters, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream and/or tablets for insect bites, sun barrier cream (while temperatures are moderate the sun is strong) and anti diarrhea tablets such as Imodium for emergencies (they will not cure the problem but will control the symptoms). Generally, visitors should take out standard holiday health insurance in their home countries.
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In order for visa to be granted, the following are prerequisites:
- Current passport, it must be valid for at least six months
- One recent passport-size photograph.
- Copy of Green card or I-94 or Work Permit (Except US National)
Tourist Visa Prior to Arrival
A completed visa application form (click to download). Service fees will be paid in money order or Cashiers Check or Certified bank check made payable to Embassy of Ethiopia; view a chart (click to download) of the visa types and associated fees. A self addressed return envelop with sufficient prepaid postage (for those using mail service); If all the necessary requirements are fulfilled, the visa can be issued on the next two or three business day.
Tourist Visa on Arrival Tourist visa, can be issued for three months on arrival at Bole International Airport for nationals and residents of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Democratic people's Republic of Korea (northern Korea), Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (South Korea), the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.
All business visa applicants should attach a letter addressed to Ethiopian Embassy from his /her organization explaining the purpose of his/her travels. US Officials or Diplomats traveling with Diplomatic, Official or Service Passport must bring an official letter from US State Department. Officials or Diplomats of other countries traveling with Diplomatic, official or service Passport must bring official letter from appropriate Authorities or Embassies.
The passport must be valid for at least six months.
One recent passport-size photograph.
Copy of Green Card or I-94 or Work Permit (Except US National).
A letter from his/her organization explaining the purpose of his/her travels.
Photography and Filming tours
Film crews interested in visiting Ethiopia must submit a media accreditation application to the Ministry of Information, and follow the guidelines for filming in Ethiopia.
When you submitt the application on the email address listed on the application, please remember to include us on the email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can follow up on your application with you.
- A. Travel and cancellation insurance is recommended for all of our clients. The purchase and processing of insurance coverage is the responsibility of the client. Prior to starting a Tour with Travel Ethiopia, an insurance protection should be one of the major considerations for the full duration of the travel, to cover personal injury, medical expenses, and repatriation expenses. If a client falls ill, all hospital expenses, medical expenses, doctor's fees and repatriation costs are the client's responsibility and Travel Ethiopia shall not be liable for any refund of the tour.
- B. We recommend baggage coverage to be added to your insurance plan.
- C. Travel Ethiopia does not sell insurance plans, please contact your insurance agent.
- A. Travel Ethiopia and its agents act only as agents of Tourist or business travelers as it relates to hotel accommodation, tour by aircraft, boat or other means of transportation. There is a risk that accompanies your Tour package request. All agents of Travel Ethiopia will go the extra mile to serve our customers but for situations that are beyond our control, we will not take responsibility. Travel Ethiopia will not cover the loss or damage of possessions, injury or illness to the client, loss of life or consequential damages.
- B. Travel Ethiopia's liability to passengers using our vehicles is governed by laws of Ethiopia, and all claims are subject to the jurisdiction of the court of Ethiopia in which the case of actions arises.
- C. Travel Ethiopia reserves the right to employ subcontractors to carry out any or all parts of the services agreed to be supplied and in any event of the exercise of such right the terms of clause (B) relating to Travel Ethiopia's liability shall apply.
- D. Travel Ethiopia will not be held responsible for the loss or damage of personal belongings. We suggest customers to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip.
Policy on Refunds, Purchases and Cancellations
On confirmations of tours, agencies or individuals making bookings with Travel Ethiopia shall make payments as follows:
25% immediately after the tour is confirmed
75% 45 days prior to the commencement of the tour
If complete payment hasn't been made as per guidelines above, Travel Ethiopia isn't obliged to accept the client to tour unless other arrangements have been made beforehand, and no refunds will be made.
Written request has to be made to cancel tour bookings and will be subject to the following:
- 1. From 60 – 31 days prior to departure an administrative fee of $50.00 per person will be made.
- 2. 30 days to 15 days prior to departure, a fee of 50% of the tour price will be charged.
- 3. Cancellations made within 14 days prior to departure, no refund will be made.