Aberus Ethiopia Tours - Ethiopia Travel Facts
When to Visit Ethiopia
This can depend on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the beginning 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.
A valid passport is required for travel to Ethiopia containing at least two blank pages per country and a validity of no less than six months beyond the period of your stay.
Any foreigners except those who hold the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Djibouti passport needs a visa!
You can get your visa from the Ethiopian embassies or consulates in your country but for the following listed countries, visa can be obtain on arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa: - Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and US can obtain a visa on arrival for US$20 and two passport photos. This is only available at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. !
It is no longer obligatory for visitors to declare currency in their possession on arrival, but should visitors wish to change money back on departure, it will be necessary to produce receipts from banks and authorized foreign exchange dealers. The Ethiopian currency is the Birr, the rate of which against the US dollar is fixed in weekly auctions. Current exchange rate.
Credit card acceptance is now growing throughout the country, but only one bank (Dashen Bank) can issue cash on cards, to a limit of US$500.00 per day, and does not yet have branches in all main cities.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia also introduced ATM for Visa and other cards. But the service is still available only in the capital city.
Climate and Clothing
Because of the elevation, temperatures rarely exceed 25 o C 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 day time and a 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 are usually uneven and stony. Trekkers in the Simien and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproofs and 3-4 season sleeping bags. On a cultural note – Ethiopians are generally modest dressers, and visitors should be sensitive about going underdressed (shorts, tank tops and bare backed) 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
The possession of a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is no longer mandatory but visitors coming from countries where Yellow Fever has been reported may be asked. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio is recommended.
Malaria: in many sites malaria is not a problem because of the elevation – this is true of Axum, Gondar and Lalibela but it may be able to occur in Bahir Dar at the end of the rainy season and after unseasonable rains. Lowland areas along the Awash River, the Omo Valley, Rift Valley and Gambella are subject to malaria outbreaks. Chloroquine resistant strains have been identified in most 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.
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).
Always take more film, digital camera cards and spare batteries than think you will need. Ethiopia is very photogenic and it will be easy to use at least one roll of 36 exposures per day or fill half your digital camera card.
We suggest you take a U/V filter and dust cover to protect you camera. Out of Addis Ababa it is hard to find spare camera batteries and digital camera cards so we recommend you bring these with you or to buy before you leave Addis Ababa. AET local tour guide assist you where to find these in Addis.
On arrival at Addis Ababa airport please proceed through immigration and baggage collection and custom clearance. Once through proceed out of arrival hall, where Aberus Ethiopia Tours (AET) representative will meet you holding the sign with AET (or passenger) name on it, AET representative will accompany to your hotel. He/she will also inform you start time of the tour.
Please reconfirm your onward international flight or hand over the responsibility to one of our staffs in office through the AET representative you will meet at the airport.
Departure Taxes are included on your air ticket.
Domestic flights and luggage allowance
Not all but most domestic flights are operated with the two propellers Fokker 5O. Luggage allowance 20kg for check in luggage and 7kg for hand luggage. Please keep all your valuables in the hand luggage. Whether the purchase of your flight ticket is made by us or by you, reconfirmation of all domestic flights are on our shoulder.
It is of the utmost importance that you are properly insured and make sure that you carry details of this insurance with you on your tour. For more information please ask the help of your travel agent.
Practical information about Photography and Videography:
- Taking pictures of very important bridges is prohibited; your guide or driver will inform you which bridge are these on the spot
- Except the Omo valley people and some dominantly Muslim regions most people in Ethiopia like their picture to be taken. Acceptance for picture is expressed either with smile or with proper positioning oneself for picture. While rejection is expressed through giving oneself back or covering face with hand or cloth.
- In the Omo valley there is picture fee which amounts 2 birr per picture of individuals even if you take group of people at one shot (Our guides and driver guides always take enough small changes with them, please ask them when you need). This rule applies also when you make a shot of their house. A shot to the whole market and whole village is permissible for free but it must be after you take some pictures that require fee. Please don’t take any picture until your guide or driver gets permission, which the answer is always OK.
- In the Afar and some dominantly Muslim region you need to wait until your guide or driver negotiates with the locals. This doesn’t include the most photogenic regions like Harar and Bati Market where there is no picture fee.
- Except for the above mentioned places, please don’t pay picture fee!
- No photography fee in all natural attractions and heritages sites but there are few places with prohibition.
- There is Videography fee almost in all churches and in some historical and natural sites.
- To photograph old paintings it is must to put of the camera flash first.
Recommended Travel Guide Book For Ethiopia
Philip Briggs`s The Bradt Travel Guide To Ethiopia supplies plenty of practical advice on how to bridge the cultural gap and its a comprehensive handy book for first time traveler to Ethiopia
The first thing to remember is that tipping is not compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The bottom line in determining whether and how much to tip is to ask yourself how much the individual did to make your travels more enjoyable.
Try to obtain small changes for tips to bar staff, waiters, porters, etc.
For more information on the spot please ask your guide or driver in private not close-by the person to be tipped.