Visiting Ethiopia

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November in Addis Ababa is warm and dry. With a subtropical highland climate, you can expect the temperature to range between 16-25 °C (61-77 °F). The evenings are milder; therefore, don’t forget to pack a jacket.

The local currency is called the Ethiopian Birr (ETB). All local banks provide currency exchange services with an exchange rate that is uniform across the board. The current exchange rate can be found on the website of the National Bank of Ethiopia. Please note that it is illegal to exchange your currency on the black market – only deal with official banks. All major hotels have FOREX services on site you can easily use.

Mobile Phones
International mobile phones will need to be “unlocked” in order for them to work in Ethiopia, but you may incur roaming charges. Please contact your mobile carrier for information about your individual plan options. Of note, Blackberry Messaging services are not available in Addis Ababa as of now.

Alternatively, for less than $20 you can purchase a local pre-paid SIM card for your unlocked mobile phone. There is only one telecommunications company in Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom, formerly Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC).

The electricity in Ethiopia is 220V/50Hz. Don’t forget to bring appropriate adapters (and convertors for 110V electrical goods).

The official working language in Addis Ababa is called Amharic. However, almost everyone you encounter will speak at least enough English for you to communicate.


Vaccination and Medication
The United States Center for Disease and Control Prevention recommends that all travelers be up-to-date on routine vaccines and that they visit their doctor 4-6 weeks prior to their trip to discuss any vaccination or medications they may need for traveling. Information on yellow fever and malaria can also be found here.

It is strongly recommended that you do not drink the tap water during your stay in Addis Ababa. Bottled water is easily available.

Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world. Due to this high elevation, travelers may experience altitude sickness while acclimating.


Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has information on various other relevant topics.