Travel Information to Ethiopia
Visa and Immigration Requirements
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. Except in the case of a few nationals, passengers in transit in Ethiopia holding confirmed onward bookings within 72 hours can obtain transit visas on arrival for a fee of Ethiopian birr 20. However, in this case, passports are held at the airport until departure and a pink-colored receipt card is issued.
Any visitor intending to take up work or residence in Ethiopia must have a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and a resident permit from the Department of Immigration in the Ministry of the Interior. A visitor on a tourist visa cannot take up work or get a work permit. It is best to have all formalities cleared before you enter Ethiopia and come in on a working visa.
All visitors (including infants) are required to possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia. Your doctor may also recommend gamma globulin shots or refresher vaccines for typhoid and polio before you go. Hepatitis, typhoid, meningitis, and other communicable diseases do exist in the country, but most tourists will run little risk of coming in contact with them.
Malaria is endemic throughout the country even at altitudes as high as 2,000 meters (6,560 feet). Visitors should begin taking a recommended chloroquine-based prophylactic two weeks before their arrival and continue taking them for six weeks after their departure. Medication for chloroquine-resistant malaria is also a wise precaution, especially when in a malarial area.
International Flights and Arrival by Road
Ethiopia is served internationally by Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways, Puntavia (Air Djibouti), Saudia, Sudan Airways, and Yemenia.
Ethiopia's major point of entry by air is Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport, which is modest but does provide full passenger facilities - currency exchange, postal services, banking facilities, telephones, a duty-free shop, gift shops, and a restaurant and bar service.
Taxis and rental cars are available at the airport for transport into Addis Ababa.
There are six 'official' points of entry by road into Ethiopia from the country's neighbors. Moyale serves as the border post from Kenya, Sudan has border controls to Ethiopia at Humera and Metema, Dewele is the point of entry from Djibouti, and Rama and Zala Anbessa from Eritrea. All have full customs and immigration checks.
Visitors intending on driving their own vehicle into Ethiopia should first obtain the necessary permit by writing to the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, PO Box 1238, Addis Ababa.
Once you have reached to Addis Ababa or other destination area from abroad to Ethiopia, you can come to Hawassa using vehicles or air. The road to Hawassa from Addis Ababa and other parts are all asphalt roads. However, car accident rate is higher in Ethiopia than most countries in the world.
Several firms operate car hire services in Addis Ababa and Other Parts of the country. Vehicles may be hired with or without driver. For trips outside the cities it is possible to hire insured cars appropriate for the trip (a four wheel-drive vehicle with driver/translator is recommended). Cars can be found for rent from private vehicle owners, tour operators or other car rental service providers in Hawassa. You can have also a taxi service as a contractual agreement using three wheeler drives that is commonly known as Bajaj or other taxis. Motorbikes are also available for rent around Lake Hawassa at the end of main Asphalt road from Piazza area. You can visit our business directory to find car rental service providers in Hawassa.
Drivers require a valid International Driving License, which can be obtained by exchanging your local license at the Transport and Communications offices.
Visitors can recover their original licenses a day or so prior to departure. Vehicle owners will require the necessary permit from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Driving is on the right.
The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1,5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are five different coins: 1,5, 10, 25, and 50 cents. In February 2001, 8.33 birr were equivalent to one US dollar.However the exchange rate varies regularly and one have to check with banks.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported to Ethiopia, but it must be declared on the currency declaration form obtained on arrival. Up to Ethiopian 10 birr may be legally imported. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declension form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure.
Visitors may change back any excess Ethiopian birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have birr to cash in at the airport, you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.
Banks have two sets of hours: cash and business. They are open for cash transactions all day from 08.00 to 15.00 including lunchtime Monday to Friday and Saturday 08.00 to 12.00.In now days there are variations between some commercial ban operation hours. Business hours are from 08.00 to 12.00 and 13.00 to 17.00 Monday through Thursday and 08.00 to 11.00 and 13.00 to 17.00 on Friday. All the major banks offer currency exchange. There are various ATM machines that can accept credit and debit cards around major hotel gates and marketing centers. You can use our business directory to find more information about Banks and ATM machines location.
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of five days (six days on leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.
Government offices remain open from 08.30 to 12.30 and 13.30 to 17.30 Monday through Thursday, and from 08.30 to 11.30 and 13.30 to 17.30 on Friday. Government offices are closed on public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Most shops are open from 09.00 to 18.00 or 20.00 from Monday through Saturday with a lunch break from 13.00 to 15.00. Some shops or businesses close on Saturdays at 13.00. A few small all-purpose shops throughout the city open on Sunday mornings.