Welcome to a nation of surprises, diversity and contrast, from the ancient to the modern.
Few nations, if any, can boast the historic splendor of Ethiopia, evidence of whose extraordinary past is everywhere, from its rock-hewn churches, still places of living worship, to its ancient historical traditions and magnificent cultures. Legend has it that Emperor Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and king Solomon, brought the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Axum, where he settled and established one of the world’s longest known, uninterrupted monarchical dynasties.
Ethiopia’s History and Heritage dates back to the beginning of humankind. It’s a land of Christian civilization, archeological records, rock art dating back to 10,000 years providing a precious glimpse to the stone Age’s socio economic, religious, and artistic life. Bear witness to the richness of the past; stretching from the 3000 years old history of Axum, the 12th century churches of Lalibela, and the medieval castles of Gondar.
With their vast moor lands and extensive heathland, virgin woodlands and pristine mountain streams the Bale Mountains National park is a sharp contrast to the another Ethiopia highlight the Simian Mountains broad plateaus and grand Canyon escarpments. Additionally not to be missed in your travels are the differences between North and South – cultural, religious, wildlife and world heritage sites.
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Highlights of Ethiopia
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Best of Ethiopia
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Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa, west of Somalia and is slightly less than twice the size of Texas. The border countries include Djibouti 342 km, Eritrea 1,033 km, Kenya 867 km, Somalia 1,640 km, South Sudan 1,299 km, and Sudan 744 km.
Landlocked – the entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean
The Ethiopian Birr is the national currency of Ethiopia. The National Bank of Ethiopia was established by imperial proclamation 207 of 27 July 1963, and began operation on 1 January 1964. The National Bank of Ethiopia took over note production in 1966 and currently issues 1, 5, 10, 10, and 100 Notes. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.
For US citizens a passport valid at least six months beyond extended stay. Visas should be acquired prior to arrival as they are not available at border crossings. For U.S. Citizens flying in to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, a travelers’ visa can be obtained.
All travelers over one (1) year of age coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission are required to show proof of vaccination (International Certificate of Vaccination, known also as a yellow card.)
The CDC recommends that all travelers to Ethiopia be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine. As of May 5, 2014, people of all ages staying in Ethiopia for longer than 4 weeks may be required to show proof of polio vaccination when departing Ethiopia. Polio vaccine must be received between 4 weeks and 12 months before the date of departure from Ethiopia and should be officially documented on a yellow vaccination card (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis). Travelers should talk to their doctor about making sure they are properly prepared for any requirements they may face exiting Ethiopia.
Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas excluding Addis Ababa. Extremely high malaria transmission occurs throughout the year below 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Altitudes between 2,000 m and 2,500 m are subject to infrequent epidemics. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and report their travel history and anti-malarial medication taken.
Climate & Best Time to Travel
The dry season runs from September through to March which is the best time to travel to Ethiopia. The long rains run from July through to the end of September. There are short rains in April and May called the belg which are nothing really to write home about. The weather dries up a little May/ June prior to the main rains beginning again in July. Southern Ethiopia follows a broadly similar pattern to Kenya with heavier rains in April, May and November.
Ethiopia constitutes the bulk of the Horn of Africa, and as such spans subtropical and tropical east Africa. The Ethiopian section of the Great Rift Valley runs north-east to south-west, from Eritrea to northern Kenya’s Lake Turkana, and much of the country’s northern, western, central and southern areas are dominated by a series of highlands collectively known as the Ethiopian Plateau.
As a result of its position and its varied topography, Ethiopia’s climate varies – broadly speaking - from tropical in the north eastern lowlands and south eastern lowlands to temperate and cool in the highlands. Temperatures in the tropical lowlands average out at around 27°C, while those in the highlands are dependent on altitude, and range between 16 and 22°C
In Ethiopia, the standard voltage is 220 V.; the standard frequency is 50 Hz.; the power sockets that are used are of type C / E / F / L. (Converter required)