Ethiopia Guide

Ethiopia Guide

Country data

Location: East Africa

Time zone: CET + 2 (during summer time: CET + 1)

Total area: 1,104,300 km²

Land area: 1,000,000 km²

Water area: 104,300 km²

Length of the state border: 5,925 km

Bordering countries:
Djibouti: 342 km
Eritrea: 1,033 km
Kenya: 867 km
Somalia: 1,640 km
Sudan: 744 km
South Sudan: 1,299 km

Coastline: 0 km

Capital: Addis Ababa

Regions: 11
Adis Abeba (Addis Ababa), Afar, Amara (Amhara), Binshangul Gumuz, Dire Dawa, Gambela Hizboch (Gambela Peoples), Hareri Hizb (Harari People), Oromiya (Oromia), Sumale (Somali), Tigray, Ye Debub Biheroch Bihereseboch na Hizboch

Electric current: 220 V / 50 Hz ( fails occasionally)

Telephone code: 00 251 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m


Population: approx. 96.6 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 2.9% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 87

Life expectancy: 58 (male), 63 (female)

Official language: Amharic


  • 43% Orthodox
  • 34% Muslim
  • 18% Protestants
  • 5% other


The whole country suffers from prolonged periods of drought. Only in the south and east of the country is this interrupted by a rainy season.

In areas below 1,000 m there are constantly very high temperatures, combined with high levels of drought.

The moderate climatic zone then ranges from 1,000 to 2,500 m, and a cool zone begins at an altitude of around 2,500 m.


Best travel time:
For people from Europe, the months from November to January are the most suitable climatically.

Currency / finance

Currency unit: Ethiopian Birr (ETB)

Classification: 1 birr = 100 cents

ATMs: Credit card only in Addis Ababa.

International credit cards: These are only accepted by a few larger luxury hotels and airlines.

The national currency may only be imported up to an amount of 200 Birr. The export is only allowed on presentation of a “re-entry permit” up to a maximum of 200 Birr. The local currency may not be exported without this authorization.

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be imported, but this must be declared upon entry. This declaration is required again when leaving the country, as foreign currencies may only be exported again in the amount declared.

When exchanging foreign currency on site, a fee of 2-3% is charged. When taking cash with you, we recommend limiting yourself to US dollars, as other currencies are almost never exchanged.

Make sure you keep all exchange and purchase receipts until you leave the country.

With the currency reform of 01/01/1998, all old banknotes (Birr) with a value of 1 – 100 Birr became invalid! Therefore, you should only exchange your money at authorized exchange offices or banks!

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200 g tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • 0.5 liters of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free. However, you should declare valuable or important items on arrival so that there are no customs problems during re-export.

Expensive electronic devices, pieces of jewelry and sports equipment must be declared at customs upon entry.

A state export permit is required for the export of antiques and furs.

Travel advice

Although a peace treaty was signed with neighboring Eritrea on December 12, 2000 and United Nations peacekeeping forces were stationed in the country, travel to the border region should be avoided.

You should also avoid the border areas towards Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, as there is an increased risk of landmines there.

In the Gambella and the Selamago region, tribal conflicts and violent clashes occur again and again

In some areas inland there is occasional armed fighting between hostile groups. Travel to local tourist attractions is currently considered safe.

Before starting a private journey outside the capital Addis Ababa, you should always get in touch with your embassy and obtain more information.

Behavioral advice

Photographing public buildings and military installations is strictly forbidden and is punishable by high fines.

Larger gatherings of people should be avoided.


In a comparison with other African countries, the country is still far behind and is therefore heavily dependent on economic aid.

Agriculture is almost entirely done by hand or with animals, as machines hardly exist. With around 75-80% of all employees, this branch of industry is also the largest.

The large growing areas are in the highlands. The industrial areas are located in the capital and its immediate surroundings.

The main export is coffee.

Industries: Agriculture, Food, Textiles, Chemical Products, Cement

Natural resources: gold, platinum, copper, natural gas

Land use:

  • Usable land: 12%
  • Grain cultivation: 1%
  • Pasture area: 40%
  • Forests: 25%
  • other: 22%


While thorn bush savannahs predominate in the northeast of the country, there are large forest areas in the southwest. Baobabs, umbrella acacias, sycamore trees and junipers are represented here in large numbers.

Due to the many clearings that have been carried out, the vegetation has already been destroyed on large areas. With the help of state reforestation programs, attempts are being made to reduce tree loss. The eucalyptus tree in particular is used here.


Due to the severe destruction of the vegetation, the number of animals has also declined sharply in recent years.

Giraffes, flamingos, crocodiles, leopards, lions, pelicans and zebras can mainly be found in the vast savannahs.

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