One of the oldest and most independent nations in Africa, Ethiopia is still colourful, proud and unlike any other.

Having resisted Western powers for the course of its history, Ethiopia shows few signs of European development. Its countryside is strewn with the makeshift dwellings of nomadic tribes, and its urban centres are dominated by spires of the Orthodox Church. Situated on the East African highlands, the country boasts incredible views of mountains, plunging valleys and escarpments. Ethiopia is no less a cultural marvel. The country’s eclectic mix of local ethnic groups consists of the lip-disked Mursi tribe and the body-painted Karo. 

Ethiopia travel highlights

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Ethiopia holiday information

Ethiopia facts

Local culture of Ethiopia

Geography & environment

Shopping guide to Ethiopia

Ethiopia festival calendar

Food & drink in Ethiopia

Further reading

Ethiopia travel FAQs

Most nationalities need visas for Ethiopia. A tourist visa can be obtained on arrival at Addis Ababa airport. Visa application requires two passport photos, about US$40 and proof of a return ticket, or if you’re travelling by land, your tour information that shows how you’re leaving. If entering via a border other than Addis Ababa airport, you must obtain a visa in advance from your home country. Contact your local embassy or consulate for more information. 

Tipping is expected for most services in Ethiopia. It shows appreciation and is considered polite by the locals. Leave a few extra bir at restaurants even if there is a surcharge included in the bill. Drivers and tour guides expect a couple of bir for their efforts, especially if they’ve been with you for the whole day. Taxi drivers don’t expect a tip but be sure to negotiate your fare before your ride. 

You’ll find internet cafes and Wi-Fi in Addis Ababa, but internet service is patchy outside of this major centre. 

You’ll have mobile phone service in Addis Ababa and some other urban areas, but service is unreliable across the rest of the country. Remember to activate global roaming with your provider if you wish to use your mobile while traveling. 

Most toilets in Ethiopia are squat or pit toilets, however you may find Western-style toilets in some hotels and tourist areas. Soap and toilet paper aren’t always provided so you may like to carry some with you. 

  • Cup of coffee = 10-15 ETB
  • Bottle of beer = 30-40 ETB
  • Simple lunch = 40-60 ETB
  • Nice dinner in a restaurant = 150-200 ETB

Drinking tap water is not considered safe in Ethiopia. For environmental reasons, avoid buying bottled water and bring a bottle or canteen with you. Ask your leader where you can access filters to refill your supply, or carry your own purification tablets with you. 

Ethiopia has a predominately cash-based economy. You might be able to use your credit card at some major hotels, however credit cards are unreliable for most other transactions.

There are a few internationally connected ATMs in Addis Ababa but they may be unreliable. It’s best to carry foreign currency like US dollars which you can exchange when needed. 

Yes. All peregrine passengers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip. Your insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day.

For a current list of public holidays go to: