Travel Info

Here is some information about traveling to Ethiopia.

Visa Requirements

Who needs a visa? Can I get one at the airport?

The following is visa information from the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism:

Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia, with the exception of nationals of Djibouti and Kenya. Visas should be applied for well in advance of any trip as applications can take time to process.

Here is a link to a directory of Ethiopian Missions if you wish to apply for a visa ahead of time.

Visas can be obtained upon arrival at Bole International Airport in certain conditions and for certain passports. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says this:

Under the following circumstances tourist visas can be issued on arrival at Bole International Airport: –

1.    Foreign tourist, who are coming from countries that are not listed as tourist generating countries and from those countries that do not have agreement with Ethiopian regarding issuance of visa on arrival, can enter to Ethiopia by obtaining visa from a nearby Ethiopian Mission. Nevertheless, if tourists from such countries wish to get visa on arrival at the airport, they are expected to get approval from the Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in Ethiopia by sending a request by the following address:-
Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs
Fax No. : – 00251 1 55 32 09
00251 1 56 49 81
P. O. Box: – 5741
Addis Ababa

2. For foreign nationals, even though there is an Ethiopian Mission, who are coming from internationally recognized tourist-generating countries of which the list is attached with this directive and who are permanent residents in these countries, single or multiple tourist visas valid for 3 months can be issued.

Tourism Generating Countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States.

Health Information

What vaccinations do I need? What health concerns are there for travellers?

From the UK Government’s page on Ethiopian entry requirements:

Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

You can see recommendations regarding vaccinations and health precautions from the US’ Center for Disease Control, the UK government, the Australian government.

The main health concern for a traveller to Addis Ababa may be from food- or water-borne diseases. Foreigners often suffer intestinal problems – it is generally best to avoid uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit, and to drink only bottled water.


How safe is Addis Ababa?

Ethiopia is generally a very safe place. The crime rate in Addis Ababa is not high. However, travellers are encouraged to be cautious and take care of themselves. Exercise the normal precautions of travelling in a large city and you should avoid problems.

Currency & Credit Cards

How & where can I change currency? Can I use a credit card?

Ethiopian currency is the Birr. The current exchange rate as of this writing is around 19ETB=$1US. You can exchange foreign currency for Birr at the airport or at hotels. There are ATM’s at various locations that can dispense Birr using foreign Visa cards – there is one such machine located on the campus.

Most shops and restaurants do not take credit cards. Major hotels will.

Mobile phones

Can I use my mobile phone in Ethiopia? Can I get a local SIM card?

Ethiopian telecommunications are all managed by the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation. ETC has roaming agreements with many other countries – you should be able to use your service in Addis Ababa. Charges may be quite high – please check with your provider.

It is possible to purchase an Ethiopian pre-paid SIM card for use while here. Major hotels and ETC offices can arrange such things. (There is an ETC office not far from the school.) Top-up cards can be purchased at nearly any shop, including small kiosks.

Electricity – plugs and adapters

What type of sockets are there? Can I get an adapter?

Ethiopia uses the Schuko plug (same as is used in continental Europe):


There are some adapters available at the school, and there may be adapters at your hotel, but we recommend bringing a universal travel plug for your devices.

Weather in September

What's the weather like? How should I pack?

In September, the weather in Ethiopia is chilly and wet. It would be wise to bring an umbrella and/or a raincoat, as well as reasonably warm clothes (a sweater or light jacket).

Temperatures are typically 10°-20°C (50-70°F).

Touring Ethiopia

Would you like to organize a tour to visit Ethiopia?

If you would like to organize a tour during your visit to Ethiopia, these are some travel agents that we have used and can recommend:

World Travel:

Contact Name & e-mail address:

Safeway Travel:

Contact Name & e-mail address:

Destination Ethiopia Tours:

Contact Name & e-mail address:


Other information you need? Let us know!

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