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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Facts and Statistics


Eastern Africa


Addis Ababa


96,633,458 (2014 est.)


Ethiopia is a Federal Democratic Republic made up of 9 regions, mainly based on ethnicity. The present government was reelected in May 2005 for a 5-year term.


The national flag is a tricolor of green, yellow, and red horizontal stripes with a blue disk and a yellow outlined star and rays in the center.

Weight and Measurement

The metric system is used, but some local weights and measures also are employed.


Ethiopia has no territories or colonies.

Air Travel in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines is undoubtedly one of the earliest and best carriers in Africa with an impeccable safety record and practice. Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic network flying to 45 local airfields and an additional 25 landing strips. Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport is also a gateway to the rest of Ethiopia. The airport also serves many destinations in Africa, Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America. There are also many other airlines that also serve Ethiopia.

Some Airlines Flying to Ethiopia are:

  • Lufthansa
  • Kenyan Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Egypt Airways
  • Emirates
  • United Air (with codeshare)
  • Gulf Air

Care & Supports


At Bole International Airport, and in all major cities and many towns, there will be branches of national banks.


In order to fully experience the vast array of Ethiopian scenery it is a good idea to travel by road. Visitors must be aware that due to the nature of the terrain, road conditions in Ethiopia are poor. However, over the past ten years, roads in Ethiopia have significantly improved and asphalt roads are connecting all the major towns. There are still some rough patches so you will want to be in one of our Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota MACK 2 Long base Land Cruisers, or our Toyota four-wheel High Roof Buses.


From the luxurious Sheraton and Hilton hotels to lesser class hotels, Addis Ababa has hotels that cater to all budgets. All tourist resorts offer a choice of modern hotels. The quality and number of hotels has also increased significantly in the past decade. In Addis Ababa and around most of the major tourist sites, visitors can enjoy excellent standard hotels. However, in some of the rural areas, visitors should be prepared for more rustic accommodations. The standards of Hotels vary immensely with the Hotels in the north being generally better than the hotels in the south.

Overall, the hotel rooms we cater are very clean and comfortable with en-suite toilet, shower and sometimes other deluxe facilities.


Some people don’t prefer the company of Internet on their travels bur some do. The hotels we frequented have a WIFI connection. Upon your enquiry, we can also provide a portable WIFI apparatus that will help you update your social medial and stay connected. Wherever there is a mobile network or signal, It will work properly.

Electric supply

Ethiopia uses standard 220 volts 50 Hz per second power supply and all Wall Outlets are almost the “two-prong round” type.

Duties and Customs

Duty-free import is permitted for up to: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 1/2 lb. of tobacco, 1 liter of alcoholic beverages, two bottles of perfume. Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Birr 500, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit. Grains and any type of seeds are not permitted to live the country.


The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, providing declaration of such currency is made to customs on arrival. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by customs on departure. Visitors, however, will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. It helps to note that, foreign currency is only changed at banks and authorized hotels.


Ethiopians follow the ancient 13 month Ge’ez calendar consisting of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 or 6 days and its 7 1/2 years behind the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopians celebrated their millennium in 2007. Banks, airlines, and major businesses not only follow the Ge’ez calendar but the Gregorian too.

The Ethiopian fiscal year begins on 8 July and the Ethiopian New Year begins on 11 September (12 September in leap years).


As with many equatorial countries, the sun dictates time in Ethiopia. The sunrise marks the beginning of the day and the sunset marks the end of the day. What most of the world would call 7:00, Ethiopians would call 1:00. Both noon and midnight are 6:00 in Ethiopia. But if you make an appointment with an Ethiopian, it’s a good idea to clarify which time they are using.


The Ethiopian national dish is called wat with Enjera. However, staple diets vary in where you are in Ethiopia. Wat with Enjera is a hot spicy stew accompanied by Enjera (traditional large spongy pancake made of Teff flour). The whole grain Teff is grown on the Ethiopian highlands. Though it is unique to Ethiopia, it is diverse in color and habitat.

The New York Times and many studies accredited teff for being the next Supper Grain. This symbiotic grain contains two to three times the iron of wheat or barley. The calcium, potassium and other essential minerals are also many times what would be found in an equal amount of other grains.

There are many varieties of Wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas are stewed with hot spice called Berbere which is known in the western world as paprika. Berbere is made of dried red hot pepper, herbs, spices, dried garlic and salt ingredients. Wat is served by placing it on top of the Enjera which in traditional households is served in a Mesob (large basket tray). The food is eaten by tearing off a piece of Enjera and dipping it in the Wat.

In the south and west central lands, the people of Gurage grow Enset, 'false banana tree', whose root, stem and leaf stalks provide their staple food Kocho or unleavened bread. They are also known for the Kitfo, a blend of raw meet mixed with butter and garnished with a banana leaf. Many Ethiopians enjoy raw beef. The meat is very fresh and of the highest quality. It is worth a sample, but the cook will gladly grill your portion upon request. Usulay, it is common to see people eat raw meet in Ethiopia. The kitfo and row meet can also be considered as national delicacies all over the country. In the Tigray regions of the upper north, rolls of porridge called Tilliho are eaten either dipped in a butter and Berebere souse or in a whipped fermented bean cream called Hillbet.

Coffee ceremony is a common ritual in Ethiopia. The server starts a fire and roasts green coffee beans while burning frankincense. Once roasted, the coffee beans are ground with a mortar and pestle, and the powder is placed in a traditional small black pot called a jebena. Water is then added. The jebena is removed from the fire, and coffee is served after brewing for the proper length of time. Often, kolo (Fried whole-grain barley) or Fendisha (Popcorn) is served with the coffee.

During Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians fasting periods, no animal products can be eaten and no food or drink can be consumed from midnight until 3 P.M. This is the standard way of fasting during the week, and on Saturday and Sunday no animal products may be consumed. Although there is no time restriction on the fast, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians regularly fast on Wednesdays and Fridays except the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, the Fast of the Prophets, the fast of Nineveh, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary.

Thought it is sold in traditional specialty restaurants, Honey Wine, called tej, is a drink reserved for special occasions. Tej is a mixture of honey and water flavored with gesho plant twigs and leaves and is traditionally drunk in old tube-shaped flasks or cups curved out of Bull Horns. High-quality tej has become a commodity of the upper class, which has the resources to brew and purchase it. But it can be obtained in traditional specialty restaurants and hotels.

Banquet Decorum

  • Food is a sign of hospitality.
  • Ethiopians are hospitable and like to entertain friends in their homes.
  • An invitation to a private home should be considered an honor.
  • Punctuality is not strictly adhered to although considerable lateness is also unacceptable.
  • You may have to remove your shoes at the door.
  • Start from the Elders and shake hands with each guest individually.
  • When greeting people at a restaurant, often they will have already washed their hands, or they will already eating. In place of a handshake, they will offer you their wrist; lightly grasp their wrist but do not shake it. If your hands aren’t suitable for a handshake either, you can touch your wrist to theirs.
  • Traditional meals are eaten from a communal plate, but you should not reach all the way across to the other side to grab food; eat what is close to you.
  • Only use the right hand for eating.
  • Table manners are a sign of respect and do not presume that because food is eaten with the hands, there is a lack of decorum.
  • Waiter or your host may bring a basin and pitcher to the table. There will always be a way to wash your hands before and after the meal. Sometimes a
  • Expect a small earthenware or metal jug to be brought to the table before the meal is served. Extend your hands over the basin while water is poured over them.
  • It is polite to eat with your right hand - the left is considered unclean and therefore you should avoid using it if you can.
  • You will always be offered a cup of coffee. It is not considered impolite to refuse.
  • Hierarchy dictates that the eldest person is the first to take food from the communal plate.
  • Expect to be urged to take more food. Providing an abundance of a sign of hospitality.
  • Guests are often served tasty bits by another guest in a process called "gursa". Using his hands, the person places the morsel in the other person’s mouth. Since this is done out of respect, it is a good idea to smile and accept the offering.
  • The gursha is a gesture when a person will put food into your mouth. It is a gesture of respect and it is courteous to accept it.
  • Because of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, many Ethiopians fast two days a week; Wednesday and Friday, in addition to the two months of fasting before Easter (the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter later than other Christian sects). On these days, they do not eat or drink until 3pm and also refrain from eating animal products (except for fish). Some restaurants do not serve meat on these days of the week

  • A woman may offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.
  • The meal ends with ritual hand-washing and coffee.
  • Inhale the aroma of the coffee before sipping.
  • The first round (called "awol") is served, starting with the eldest.
  • When the first cup is finished, the "jebena" (coffee pot) is refilled with water.
  • The second round (called "tona") is then served. It is weaker than the first since the same ground beans are used.
  • The third round (called "baraka") is served after boiling water is again added to the jebena.
  • Always sip the coffee slowly.
  • Smile and Thank your host for Hosting you sometimes the host may walk you to the gate of the compound.

Obtaining Visa

Visitor Visas may be obtained at any of Ethiopia's embassies abroad. Citizens from many countries may also receive visas upon arrival at Bole International Airport. However, this only applies if you are arriving by air. If you are arriving overland, you must already have your visa at hand.

To receive your visa upon arrival at the airport, you will need to pay a fee of 50usd in cash for each person in your group. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after your date of entry. You will need to provide the name and phone number of either your tour operator or the hotel where you will spend your first night. Passport photos or other documents of any sort are not required.

If your country is not on the list below, you can receive your visa at the Ethiopian Embassy in your country or nearest consulate.

Eligible Countries for Visa upon arrival

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, Democratic People's
  • Republic of (North Korea)
  • Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
  • Kuwait
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico,
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russian Federation
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America.


Ethiopia is not just the cradle of civilization; it has played a significant role in the formation of many of the world's religions. It is not only the location of the biblical kingdom of Sheba. It currently houses the Ark of the Covenant, brought forth by Queen of Sheba's and king Solomon’s son visit to Jerusalem.

Until 1974, The Ethiopian Orthodox Union church, an autonomous Christian Church headed by a patriarch and closely related to the Coptic Church of Egypt, was the state church of Ethiopia.

For Muslims, Ethiopia is also synonymous with freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear. The family members of the prophet were among the first Hijarat pilgrims who travelled to Ethiopia under the prophet’s instruction "find a king there who does not wrong anyone."

About 62.8 percent (Orthodox 43.5%, Protestant 18.6% and Catholic 0.7 %) of the people of Ethiopia are Christians. A further small percentage, which is about 3.3% of the population, adheres to traditional and other beliefs including Judaism. 33.9 % of the country’s population is Muslim.


Ethiopia is a land looked country located in the Horn of Africa. The surface of the country is a vast 1,127,127 km², from which 1,119,683 km² is land, and a Water surface area of 7,444 km² which gave the country the title “the water fountain of Africa”. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. Ethiopia has a high central plateau that varies from 1,290 to 3,000 m (4,232 to 9,843 ft) above sea level, with the highest mountain mount Ras Dejen reaching 4,533 m (14,872 ft) above sea level.

Notably, the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley houses the lowest point on earth called the Danakil Depression which is 125 meters below sea level. At the southern end of this depression also lies’ the Dallol sulfur hot springs and the Erta Ale Volcano. This volcano is one of several magma crater lakes bubbling from the Earth's core. This is also one of the major destinations in the world for astrobiologists.

The Great Rift Valley Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of Sudan on the west and to the Somali plains of the East. This vast arid valley extends from Mozambique to the Dead Sea and the starts at Jordan Valley, passing in a south-north direction through Ethiopia diagonally splitting the country. It is home to numerous lakes and a number of rivers cross the plateau, many of them of tourist destinations.

To the west of the plateau ranges, lie the gorge of the Blue Nile River and Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake and the source of the Nile River. This river winds around in a great arc before merging with the White Nile in the Sudan, travels through great canyons, which reach depths of more than 1,200 m (4,000 ft). Several rivers in the southwest also make up a system of tributaries to the White Nile.


Ethiopia is in the tropical zone laying between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. According to the country’s elevation, ethiopia has three different climate zones, namely Kolla, Woina dega and Dega

Kolla (Tropical zone) - is below 1830 metres in elevation and has an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius with annual rainfall about 510 millimetres. The Danakil Depression (Danakil Desert) is about 125 metres below sea level and the hottest region in Ethiopia where the temperature climbs up to 50 degree Celsius.

Woina dega (Subtropical zone) - includes the highlands areas of 1830 - 2440 metres in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimetres.

Dega (Cool zone) - is above 2440 metres in elevation with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 1270 and 1280 millimetres.

Major Changing Seasons.

  • Kiremt or Meher (Summer) - June, July and August are the summer season. Heavy rain falls in these three months.
  • Belg (Autumn) - September, October and November are the spring season sometime known as the harvest season.
  • Bega (Winter) - December, January and February are the dry season with frost in morning specially in January.
  • Tseday (Spring) - March, April and May are the autumn season with occasional showers. May is also the hottest month in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia's economy has undergone major reforms since May 1991, when a market-oriented government came to power. Droughts, civil war, and cross-border conflicts have devastated the economy as much as socialist-style totalitarianism in the past. The government continues to institute economic reforms designed to liberalize the economy and increase the role of private capital.

Agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing engaged 85% of the Ethiopian population. Coffee generated $175 million in exports in 2001 (down from $262 million in 2000), which was 60% of export earnings. Livestock production is also important, responsible for around 20% of export earnings. The manufacturing sector, centered around Addis Ababa, mainly produces construction materials, metal and chemical products, and basic consumer goods including food, beverages, leather, clothing and textiles. Over 90% of large-scale industry is state owned.

Ethiopia produces gold and has additional undeveloped deposits of platinum, marble, tantalite, copper, potash, salt, soda ash, zinc, nickel, and iron. Natural gas is also found in the Ogden region. Ethiopia is also the “water tower” of the region (the Blue Nile contributes to 85% of the main Nile flow)

Projects are now underway to better exploit the country’s water resources both for power generation as well as to boost agricultural production through irrigation schemes. Mineral exploration has stepped up in recent years and thermal power generation schemes are already operational in Afar and Oromo Regions.

Abba Travel PLC is a full-fledged IATA approved travel agency, which was founded in 1995 and prides itself in a decade of development and excellence. This includes awards for top rated travel agencies by leading International Airlines and The National Carrier. Read More

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