ETHIOPIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Ethiopia is an exciting destination, rich in local tradition and history, possessing its own written language and script, and filled with classical African landscapes, flora and fauna. Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. In the long and disturbing history of the African continent, Ethiopia remains the only country which has never been colonised (except for a brief occupation by Italy during World War II).
It may also be justifiably considered the cradle of humanity - its famous Rift Valley is the site of a prehistoric civilisation and the place where the fossils of ‘Lucy’ and ‘Homo Ramidus Afarensis’, the world’s oldest known hominids, were found. Best of all, it has been a virtually unknown tourist destination, which means that you won’t have to contend with scores of camera-wielding tourists.
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ETHIOPIA QUICK FACTS
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and the second-oldest official Christian nation in the world after Armenia.
- Capital: Addis Ababa
- Currency: Birr (ETB)
- Area: 1,127,127 km²
- Population: 109,2 million (2018)
- Language: Amharic (official), Oromo, Tigrinya Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
- Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox, Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Animism, Baha'i
- Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (European & Italian plugs)
Ethiopian New Year takes place on the 11th of September or on the 12th during a leap year. It is known as Enkutatash, which means "Gift of Jewels". Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of 30 days plus five or six epagomenal days, which comprise thirteenth months. The sixth epagomenal day is added every four years.
The New Year signifies the end of the long rainy season and the beginning of a bright sky and a dazzling sunlight. The countryside turns into gold with the yellow daisies (adey abeba) covering the entire fields in rural areas of Ethiopia, which are in bloom at this time of the year.
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ETHIOPIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 7 January, Christmas Day (Genna)*
- 19 January, Epiphany (Timket)*
- 2 March, Victory of Adwa Day
- 11 September, Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash)**
- 27 September, Feast of the True Cross (Meskel)**
* Falls one day later in Gregorian leap years.
** Falls one day later in the year before a Gregorian leap year.
Business openings and work schedules may be significantly affected by Coptic Orthodox Christian and Islamic holidays.
ETHIOPIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Ethiopia’s large land area and diverse topography results in different climates across the country. Thus, Ethiopia’s climate is tropical in the south-east and north-east lowlands and cooler in the highland regions in the central and north of the country. Seasonal rainfall is driven mainly by the migration of the Inter‐Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Mean annual rainfall distribution is approximately 2,000 mm over the south-western highlands and less than 300 mm over the south-eastern and north-eastern lowlands. Temperatures across Ethiopia can range from below 15ºC, over the highlands to above 25ºC in the lowlands.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN ETHIOPIA
Although outdoor activities are possible all year round, the best time for hiking in Ethiopia is during the dry season, from October to June. Trekking in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia is a wonderful experience and for the best experience, try to go from September to November, just after the summer rains.
HEALTH RISKS IN ETHIOPIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.