Ethiopia Travel Information

On April 11, the authorities introduced a state of emergency in Ethiopia. The purpose is to enable the authorities to deal with the outbreak of covid-19. For information on the exception state, see the section on security. All travelers to Ethiopia are quarantined in hotels dedicated to this. The traveler has to cover the costs himself. For information on coronavirus and entry restrictions, see the section on Health. According to Abbreviationfinder, ETH stands for Ethiopia in geography.

Major Landmarks in Ethiopia


On April 11, the authorities introduced a nationwide state of emergency in Ethiopia which will last for five months. The purpose of the state of emergency is to enable the authorities to deal with the outbreak of covid-19 as well as situations that may arise in this context. For travelers to Ethiopia, these are the most important provisions of the state of emergency:

  • All border crossings are closed, goods transport is excluded
  • Anyone arriving in Ethiopia should quarantine in two weeks, for more information see the section on health
  • Ban on congregations with more than four people, a maximum of two people can train together
  • Entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and cinemas are closed
  • Private vehicles and buses can only be 50 percent full, trains 25 percent
  • It is mandatory to keep two meters away from others in the public space
  • It is mandatory to cover the mouth and nose in the public space

The authorities have stated that the provisions of the state of emergency may be changed at short notice and that violations of the provisions will be punishable by imprisonment or fines. Travelers are encouraged to stay informed locally, exercise caution and avoid crowds.

  • Countryaah: Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Travelers should be aware that any unrest, demonstrations and violent clashes may result in closed roads and reduced access to transport and services. Such a situation can arise very quickly, so it is important to stay informed along the way.

The Embassy of Addis Ababa continuously reviews and updates its travel information. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to the border areas towards Eritrea and South Sudan. For more details, see the additional information in the chapters below. However, the embassy does not have sufficient, reliable information to be able to design chapters on all regions of Ethiopia. All travelers are encouraged to register at Many people visit several different cities and regions during their trip to Ethiopia. Therefore, if possible, you should state when you will be staying in the different parts of the country.

Check for official travel advice for Ethiopia.

The situation in Addis Ababa

There is less crime in Addis compared to many other African metropolitan areas, but petty crime such as pocket theft and robbery has increased significantly in recent years. Although the level of crime is relatively low, one should not carry large sums of money or expensive valuables. There are areas of Addis Ababa, such as the large Mercato market area, around Ghion hotels, outside the National Theater and in the Bole area, where one should pay particular attention to pocket theft. Particular attention should be paid to situations where you are approached by people seeking to divert one’s attention.

It also appears robbery, in part violent. It is recommended to be careful if you are out in the evening, and preferably use a car. When using a car, it is recommended to lock the doors to prevent theft. Travelers are encouraged to stay informed locally, exercise caution and avoid crowds.

The situation in Oromia

Violent clashes occur in scattered parts of Oromia. This also applies to areas close to Addis Ababa. In the Wollega, Guji and Borena areas a command post has been created, which in practice means a local state of emergency. Norwegian citizens traveling to Oromia should be aware of and stay away from larger crowds and demonstrations. Travelers should be aware that any unrest may result in closed roads and reduced access to transport and services, and that the situation may change rapidly.

Norwegian citizens who are in or considering traveling to Oromia are encouraged to stay informed about the situation and take the necessary precautions.

The situation in Gambella

The situation in Gambella is tense, and crime is occurring. Norwegian citizens who are in, or considering traveling to, these areas should stay up-to-date on the situation and take the necessary precautions.

The situation in Benishangul Gumuz

There are violent conflicts and clashes in Benishangul Gumuz. The situation may be tense in some places. Norwegian citizens who are in or considering traveling to these areas should stay up-to-date on the situation and take the necessary precautions.

Situation in the SNNP (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region)

Since April 2018, there have been violent conflicts between ethnic groups in the border areas between West Guji in Oromia and Gedeo in SNNP. The security situation is challenging.

Norwegian citizens who are in, or considering traveling to, these areas should stay up-to-date on the situation and take necessary precautions.

Other safety information

Although significant progress has been made, Ethiopia is still poorly adapted for tourism, and one should prepare for that if traveling alone.

Discharges must be able to identify themselves upon request, and it is recommended that passports are always brought.

Traffic accidents are the single factor that kills most visitors. Therefore, be very careful in traffic and when choosing the means of transport and driver. Traffic and driving patterns in Ethiopia are different than in Europe. It can feel a bit chaotic and requires adaptation. Use of mobile while driving is fined. Speed ​​checks and celebrity tests are frequent, especially in Addis Ababa. Traffic accidents are strongly reactive.

On the roads outside and between the big cities, a lot of unlawful driving is seen at high speed, and there are a number of fatal accidents. Be careful about using a minibus on such stretches. Driving on the country roads after darkness is strongly discouraged.

Taxi services in cities are large and prices are low. Both regular taxis and small minibuses can be found everywhere in Addis Ababa. In smaller cities, the offer of tricycles (tuk-tuk) and horse-drawn cabins is dominated. The standard of the cars is sometimes very poor. On the taxis it is usual to bargain for the price. This does not apply to the yellow taxis with a taximeter, they are often cheaper than the blue ones and of a better standard.

“Homosexual acts” are prohibited in Ethiopia and can be punishable by up to five years in prison. Homosexuality is generally not tolerated in Ethiopian society, neither by religious actors nor otherwise in the population. Aggressive reactions to gays have been recorded in public.

In the Danakil area of ​​Afar, about 30 kilometers from the border with Eritrea, armed groups can pose a security risk. You should exercise caution, listen to local knowledge and carefully consider safety when planning visits to the area.

For trips to the Danakil area, tour operators must use their own safety routines. Trips to the area in general, and the volcano in particular, are usually conducted in accordance with armed security guards and local guides. In August 2008, there was an eruption in Danakil in the Afar region. Ethiopia has several volcanoes, but they have not been active for hundreds of years. There are earthquakes in Ethiopia, but these are mostly of low strength.

Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer period in Ethiopia are encouraged to register at Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.

Local emergency numbers: Fire Department 912, Police 991, Ambulance (Red Cross) 907/(Nordic Medical Center) 8901

In crisis and emergency, contact the Norwegian Embassy by phone: + 251-11-317 04 20

Visiting Address:
Nifas Silk Lafto Sub-City
Woreda 4
House No. 744.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 08:00 – 16:00. Friday 08:00 – 13:30.

Outside the opening hours of the embassy, ​​the public is invited to contact the UD’s operational center by phone: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail:


Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens must have a visa when entering Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm covers Norway. Usually, a visa application from Norway takes two to four weeks.

If you are going on a business-related trip, studying or volunteering in Ethiopia, you need a business visa. This is obtained from the embassy in Stockholm, with a letter of support from the Norwegian/Ethiopian organization / company for which you are traveling.

It is possible to obtain a tourist visa on arrival at Addis Ababa airport. The fee is $ 50 for one month and $ 75 for three months. This scheme is intended exclusively for tourists, and business travelers must obtain a business visa.

You can also apply for a tourist visa and conference visa electronically. If granted, you will receive an e-mail with authorization and the passport will be stamped upon entry. For more information and application see Ethiopia’s e-visa website.

It is not possible to change a tourist visa to a business visa after arriving in the country. Norwegian citizens of Eritrean origin cannot obtain a visa upon arrival, it must be obtained through the Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm in advance. One can renew the tourist visa for one month, but the total duration cannot exceed three months.

Ethiopian authorities require a valid visa or residence permit at all times. Illegal stay is punished with a fee of ten – 10 – USD per. day and one risks arrest and custody until the case is closed and the fine paid. You have to cover your own journey home.

For the latest updated information on entry rules to Ethiopia, travelers are encouraged to check with the Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm.


Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian travelers are encouraged to consider returning home as soon as possible – in a safe and quiet manner. Norwegian citizens living in Ethiopia are asked to follow the advice, guidance and instructions of local authorities on how to deal with the situation.

Ethiopian authorities have created a 24-hour information and notification service. You can call 8335, 952 or 0118276796. Alternatively, e-mail If you are calling from a non-Ethiopian sim card, use country code 00251 and remove the 0 that is first in the phone number.

All travelers to Ethiopia by air will be quarantined in hotels dedicated to this. The traveler must cover the costs himself and the stay must be paid before arriving in Ethiopia.

Travelers with Ethiopian Airlines note that the Oslo-Stockholm-Addis Ababa route has been changed to Stockholm-Addis Ababa. Travelers must therefore use SAS’s flights between Oslo and Stockholm, both when entering and leaving Addis Ababa. We recommend those who have tickets to contact the travel company to find a solution for the itinerary.

For full and up-to-date information on entry rules and quarantine, see Ethiopian Airlines’ pages.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.


The risk of developing malaria in Addis Ababa is very small due to the elevation above the sea, but malaria is present in low-lying areas of Ethiopia and malaria prophylaxis is recommended. The sanitary conditions in the city are generally poor, stomach ailments and amoeba infections are common to many foreigners during the first period of their stay. Visitors should exercise caution in eating fruits and vegetables that are not cooked, fried or peeled. Drinking water must be boiled and preferably also filtered, but safe drinking water can be bought reasonably for bottled. Cholera is found in Ethiopia, and there have been several outbreaks in recent years. As large parts of Ethiopia are at altitude, UV radiation is considerable and it is recommended to use sunscreen. Addis Adeba’s air pollution is high and poses challenges for many.

Hospitals of international standard do not exist in Ethiopia, but a number of private health services have been established in recent years. HIV/AIDS risk is high in Ethiopia. It is estimated that approx. 2.1 million Ethiopians today live with HIV. Unprotected sex involves a significant risk of infection for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

For information on vaccines see the Public Health Institute’s website. Gulf vaccination is required and can be controlled upon entry.

Medications are available, but it is recommended that solid drugs and pharmaceuticals are brought along. It is then recommended to include documentation from a physician on which fixed medications you are using. For more information see WHO’s Ethiopia website.

Practical information

Ethiopia has a very varied climate, with the main difference between the highlands and the lowlands. The country has its own calendar and way to set the clock.

Time difference to Norway is two hours during winter time and one hour at summer time. In Ethiopia you set the clock after sunrise/sunset. This means that seven o’clock in the morning will equate to one for many Ethiopians. You should be aware of this when making appointments.

Ethiopia has a mains voltage of 220 volts, 50 Hz. Sockets are like in Norway. Power outages are common.

English is far from being spoken, especially in the big cities. But be aware that there are over 80 languages ​​in the country. The most commonly used are Amharic, Oromic, Tigrinya, Sidamo, Guaraginja and Somali.

The flight connections between Addis Ababa and Europe are good – with many daily departures/arrivals. Domestically, Ethiopian Airlines has a good network. There have been a couple of new bus companies offering higher standard bus journeys between most major cities in the country.

Bus and taxi are easily accessible and reasonably priced. Prices for regular taxi must be agreed in advance, there are also taxi companies with taximeter. In 2015, Addis Ababa also received a light rail train/tram.

The road standard has gradually improved in Addis Ababa and is undergoing major improvements. The same applies to the road network between Ethiopia’s big cities, but if you are going to visit smaller places, four-wheel drive cars may be necessary. Outside the capital, this is often a necessity as many of the tourist attractions are unpaved. The supply of gasoline and diesel fuel can vary, and in certain periods it can be difficult to obtain gasoline in particular. This should be taken into account if planning longer car trips in the country.

According to allcitycodes, national phone code is +251.

The telephone network can be unstable, especially the mobile network. In Addis Ababa, it is both 3G and 4G. The Internet, 3G/4G and the ability to both send and receive text messages may be restricted by the authorities when they consider the situation to be so.

The Internet domain The internet has gradually become more accessible and the speed has improved. However, there is still great variation in capacity and stability.

The currency unit is Ethiopian Birr (ETB).

Credit cards are accepted at the big hotels, some restaurants and in some banks. ATMs can be found at hotels, malls, banks and some other central places in the cities. Ethiopia’s economy is still largely cash-based, so you shouldn’t bother paying with cards when traveling around the country.

Opening hours for shops vary, but most stores have long opening hours, and are usually closed Sundays and holidays. Grocery stores are open every day, some of which are open 24 hours a day.

The climate in Ethiopia is very variable. In the central highlands (where Addis Ababa is located) most Norwegians find that the climate is pleasant. The daytime temperature in Addis Ababa is rarely above 28 ¡ã C
, but due to the altitude, the solar heat can be experienced as intense. At night, the temperature can drop below 10 ° C.

The long rainy season in the highlands, which includes Addis Ababa, lasts from June to September/October. During this period it can be cool as in autumn in Norway. But the rainy season also has sunny periods. The country has several climate zones. In the lowland areas in the south/southwest and on Lake Tana in the north, the humidity is higher and the temperature variations between night and day are smaller than in Addis Ababa. In the desert areas, the daytime temperature can reach closer to 50 ° C.

In Ethiopia, the Julian calendar, which is almost eight years behind our Gregorian, is used. Local public holidays are January 7 – Genna (Ethiopian Christmas), January 19 – Timed (Jesus’ baptism), March 2 – Victory at Adwa (commemorating victory over Italy in 1896), Sickle (Ethiopian Good Friday), Fasika (Ethiopian Easter Day), May 5 – Patriots Day (recalling opposition to Italy’s invasion and occupation 1936-41), May 28 – The defeat of Derg, September 11 Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year), September 27 – Meskel (found by the True Cross), mawlid (Prophet’s birthday), Eid-al-Fitr (end of Ramadan), Eid-al-Adha (sacrificial feast).