Ethiopia: a land of ancient civilizations.
Ethiopia, the oldest independent nation in Africa, has its own script, calendar and heritage dating back to first century AD. Ethiopia is a country of variety, extremes, uniqueness, freedom, colorful culture, rich history, religions, legends, natural beauty and much more. Ethiopia’s uniqueness makes it a fascinating destination for every kind of traveler. Nine of Ethiopia’s cultural heritage sights are included in the world cultural heritage list.
Ethiopia is a country where the oldest human ancestors has ever discovered the 3.4 million years old bones of “Lucy” or Australopithecus Afarensis in 1974 (3-4 million years old Lucy) . The people are very friendly, hospitable and proud and still maintain some of the old practices in their daily life. Link with Direct link Ethiopia Tour and Travel (DLE) and experience a life time memory walking through in such an adorable country.
The Ethiopia is an independent republic operating under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The president is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government.
Ethiopia covers an area of 1,251,282 km, is situated in north – eastern Horn of Africa with a neighboring countries: in the east shares boarders with Somalia, in the north with Eritrea, in the north east with Djibouti, in the south Kenya and in the west with Sudan. It is a country of immense geographical contrasts with a high mountain up to 4,620m peak and flat low land sinking below sea level in the Danakil Depression (-120 m).
The capital city of the country and the diplomatic center of Africa, Addis Ababa which means “New flower” Settled in 1886 and christened by Empress Taitu, consort of Emperor Menelik II.
Ethiopia has two main seasons, the dry season from October through to May, and the rainy season from June to September. However, in the southwestern part of the country, the rainy season is from March to May. Temperatures will depend on altitude.
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken, of which there are over 80 with 200 dialects. With its distinctive alphabets, Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. English is also widely spoken and very well understood in most hotels and major towns.
Time / Calendar
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of 5 days (6 days in a leap year). The calendar is seven and a half years behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar. Ethiopian time is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). While you are in Ethiopia, in order to know what the local time is, just add 6 hours onto your watch reading. Days begin at sunrise. 12am (dawn), 6pm (noon), and 12pm (dusk), (in Ethiopian time).
Public Holidays /Festivals
A number of colorful, religious and cultural festivals are celebrated in Ethiopia. The followings are official public holidays:
- 7th January- Gena (Christmas)
- 19th January – Timket (Epiphany)
- 2nd March -Victory of Adwa Day)
- 6th April – Patriots’ victory Day
- Ethiopian Good Friday
- Ethiopian Easter Day
- 1st May – International Labor Day
- 28th May – Downfall of the Dergue
- 11th September – Enkutatash (New Year)
- Meskal, the finding of the true cross – 27 September (of which the bonfire ceremony is the most impressive part of the festival)
- Good Friday and Easter are based on lunar calendars, and therefore vary from year to year.
- All Muslim holidays
- Timkat, Ethiopian Epiphany – 19 January
Besides, there are other popular religious festivals connected to pilgrimage and other cultural big festive.
No visa is required for the nationals of Kenya, Djibouti, and Sudan. In addition nationals of the following countries can easily get a visa up on arrival in the airport. Argentina, Australia ,Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States
Nationals out of the mentioned countries above can apply for a visa at where available the Ethiopian Diplomatic Missions Offices abroad. The website of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia) http://www.mfa.gov.et/ provides useful information.
Medical facilities are found in almost every part of the country though capacity and size vary from region to region. However, it is advisable to carry a first-aid kit with preventative medicine (including anti-malarial tablets).Malaria precautions should be taken before visiting the lowlands. Any person, who visited or transited cholera-infected countries within six days before arrival, is required to have a vaccination certificate against Cholera.
The Ethiopian Birr is the national Currency and, while visitors may bring in as foreign currency as they wish. The amount of foreign currency; a visitor can bring into the country is unlimited. However, it should be declared on arrival to ensure there is no confusion when they depart since the currency declaration form will be required on departure. Exchanges can be done at authorized banks and hotels that are found throughout the country but only in major towns and cities.
What so Ever
Clients are advised to bring light cotton clothing for the day time and medium-weight clothing for the evenings. The temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. In high altitude, the sun can be very strong, so sunscreen is important. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques.
Telephone, Tele fax, Internet, e-mail and postal facilities are available in the country. Internet services are available in major cities and towns only. The international dialing code for Ethiopia is +251.
Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most reliable airlines in the world and it has various international connections. Most tourist sites can also be reached by domestic flights.