Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Visa to come to Ethiopia?

No visa is required for the nationals of Kenya, Djibouti, and Sudan. In addition nationals of the following countries can easily get a visa up on arrival in the air port. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zeland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Untied States of America.

Nationals out of the mentioned countries above can apply for a visas at where available the Ethiopian Diplomatic Missions Offices.

What are the Ethiopian National Flag colors?

The official flag of the current Ethiopian government is the tri-colours flag with a yellow ground and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands. The yellow ground on the blue disk is also known as the ‘national coats of arms’. It has a message of conveying the desire of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia as well as its religious communities, to live together in unity and equality
The most prominent components of the Ethiopian flag comprise the three equal horizontal bands in green, yellow and red colours respectively. The green is at the top, the yellow at the middle and the red at the bottom. The bands of the colours are structured horizontally and be of the same size. And the length of the flag is twice its width. The well-known representation is the green colour band – fertility, the yellow – peace and the red – scarification.

What can you tell me about Ethiopia?

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country located in the Northeastern part of Africa commonly known as 'The Horn of Africa'. It lies in the equatorial region 30 - 180 North and 330 - 480 East. Eritrea and Djibouti border it to the northeast, on the East and South-east is Somalia. Kenya borders to the South and on the west is Sudan. It is a landlocked country. Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined, it has an area of 1,104,300 km. It is the tenth largest country in Africa. It is a democratic national comprising of 11 semi-autonomous administrative regions organized loosely along major ethnic lines. It has an agriculturally dominated economy, which is about 65 per cent of the land currently being cultivated. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa having its own calendar, alphabet and clock.

Is Ethiopia really the cradle of mankind? What can you tell me about Lucy'?

Lucy is a 3.5 million years old female skeleton; it is among the important archaeological discoveries that provide Ethiopia the prestigious title of 'the cradle of mankind'. It is a complete direct hominid fossil discovered in the North Eastern part of Ethiopia at the place called Hadar. Now any tourists in the National museum in Addis Ababa can visit it. So the fact that the most crucial discoveries, including that of Lucy have taken places in Ethiopia make the country the most probable site for the cradle of mankind.

What can you tell me about the people of Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is considered to be the' mosaic of cultural diversity. The population of Ethiopia is recently estimated to be about 77 million. It is the home of more than 80 ethnic groups. Based on the language they speak, they can be divided into Semitic, Hamitic, Nilotic and Omotic stocks. Despite their diversity, Ethiopians are characterized with peace, hospitality and the struggle to develop. The Ethiopians, often called the 'Habesha' are generally sociable and friendly, not at all hostile to tourists. Ethiopians are proud of their culture and civilization, which pre-date those of Europe. They are known for their unforgettable hospitality and well-deserved cultures.

What is the local food and drink?

Ethiopia’s coffee is it’s main export and always available whether in a coffee ceremony which includes the lengthy process of roasting the beans, grinding them and having them stew three times, or the more modern and very popular Machiato can be bought in all coffee shops.
A wide variety of different dishes are available in Ethiopia and most of them are unique to the country so you have to familiarize yourself first with the names of different dishes. You can choose from the spicy and hot Doro Wot, Kitfo, or Key Wot to less spicy dishes like Alicha Wot you can get these foods virtually anywhere in the country and portions are generous and very cheap. Injera is eaten with almost every meal, a large pancake shaped bread with a sour taste it is used to pick up the food you are eating. There are also homemade local drinks for you to choose from; Araki- a strong alcoholic beverage made from millet and maize similar to Gin, Tej - a mead like drink made from honey , Tela - locally brewed beer from maize, wheat and barely and Gudar- the Ethiopian wine.

What is the base of the Ethiopia economy?

Ethiopia's economy is predominantly agricultural. The highlands are very fertile, which contain many large rivers with enormous untapped potential for irrigation projects. About 90 per cent of the population earns their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting carrel on the hoof and hides and skins. 25% of the populations grow coffee and it accounts for 55% of Ethiopia's exports.

What can you tell me about the topography of Ethiopia?

A volcanically formed central plateau, isolated on three sides by low-lying desert dominates the Ethiopian landscape. The central plateau, often referred to as the Ethiopian highlands, has an average altitude of above 2,000m and includes 20 peaks of 4,000m or higher. The Ethiopia highlands are dramatically mountainous, no more than where hey are bisected by the Rift valley, which starts at the Red sea, then continues through the Denakil depression and through southern Ethiopia to Mozambique in Southern Africa. The part of the Rift valley, south of Addis Ababa, is notable for its string of eight lakes. The most extensive mountain ranges on the highlands are the Semien, which lie directly north of Gondar, and Bale, which lies in the southern highlands to the east of the Rift Valley. Mount Ras Dashen in the Semien is at 4,620m, the fourth highest peak in Africa. The highlands also form the source of four major river systems. The nest known of these is the Blue Nile or Abbay, which starts at Lake Tana in the northwest and supplies nine- tenths of the Nile's water, which eventually reaches Egypt's Nile valley.

What is the climate in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia shows a wide climatic variation, ranging from the peaks of the Simien and Bale, which receive periodic snowfall, to regular daytime temperatures of over 500 C in the Denakil Desert As a rule, the highland has a temperate climate and average day time temperature of 160C. Due to their proximity to the Equator, the eastern lowlands and far south is dray and hot. The western lowlands are moist and hot, making them one part of the country that feels truly tropical. The southern rift valley, much of which is at the relatively high altitude of 1.500m, is temperate to hot and seasonally moist. The general precipitation pattern is that the bulk of the rain in the highlands and Rift valley falls between mid-June and early October. The rainy season in the Rift Valley generally starts and ends a few weeks earlier than in the highlands. The northeastern highlands have a less reliable rainy season than other highland parts of Ethiopia. In normal rainy season the highlands receive an average rainfall of 1,000mm. From a tourist's point of view, rain tends to fall in dramatic storms, which end as suddenly as they start a situation that is infinitely easier for travel than are days of protracted drizzle.

What does thirteen months of sunshine mean?

Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days on leap year). You can see the sun every day of the year That is why we call our country- a country where the sun shines thirteen months. You will be seven years younger when you arrive in Ethiopia because the calendar is seven years and eight months behind the western calendar.

What is the time difference in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia has a different time calculating system and three hours ahead of Green witch Mean time (GMT). The Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to that in many equatorial countries, where day and night is always the same length. Time remains constant through the year counting starts from western 6 and 6 Western 7 is therefore one o'clock, noon is 6 o' clock and 6 is 12 o'clock. In Addis Ababa, then sunrise and sunset at around 6:30 and 18.45 respectively.