TRAVEL TIPS

·        GETTING THERE

These days there are many ways to travel to Ethiopia. Overland railway connect the country with Djibouti, the roads are well-maintained, and international air carriers arrive and depart daily from Bole International airport found in the capital, Addis Ababa. There are many local airports located within the country. Travel to Ethiopia is easier and more convenient than it has ever been before. World-class airport facilities and on-the-ground assistance make sure that your visit to the country is perfect from the first moment of arrival.

Whether you’re travelling independently or with our tour operators, we will make sure to book your ticket well in advance and also take care your return flights. We, at Northern Tour and Car rent Tours; can assist you in making any last-minute changes to your itinerary and flights.

·        GETTING AROUND

Traveling in Ethiopia is a rewarding and remarkable experience. Driving through villages and grasslands on your way to game parks and nature reserves will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.

There are many ways to get around in Ethiopia, and the option you choose will depend upon your time constraints and your budget. Traveling by road is the most accessible and probably the cheapest way to travel, and public transport connects all major locations, and ventures far off the beaten track.

Ethiopia’s infrastructure is not quite developed,but around major tourist attractions is a little bit better. Public transport vehicles crisscross the country and connect larger towns to out-of-the-way locations.

If you want to travel by air transportation, Ethiopian Airlines has flights to 23 domestic destinations ( Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Assosa, Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gonder, Gode, Humera, Jigjiga, Jimma,Jinka, Kabari Dar, Kombolcha, Lalibela, Mekele, Shire,Humera,Semera,Awassa,) and there is also daily flight of ‘ Historic Route services’ for those interested to see the historical cities of Ethiopia.

Our tour operators will assist you and give you the best advice on how to travel within the country.

            ·        WHAT TO BRING?

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • A camera and telephoto lens if you’ve got one – it’s better for wildlife shots
  • Insect repellent
  • A good sun hat and waterproof sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with a cord
  • A photocopy of your passport, important phone numbers, credit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance, and tickets
  • Good walking shoes and a pair of sandals for relaxing at the end of the day
  • A bathing suit and beach or pool wear
  • Any prescription medication you are taking, and anti-malarial prophylactics
  • An extra bag to bring shopping home in
  • Try to travel light – weight restrictions on charter aircraft can be quite low, and bags can become quite heavy under the African sun…

·        TRAVEL INFORMATION

Country topographic profile

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Land area: 432,310 sq
Population (2013 est.): 120million
Transportation: Public Buses, Taxies, convenient Trains coming very soon With an area of 1, 112, 000 square kilometers, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined.

From the north and running down the center are the Abyssinian highlands, to the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east the deserts of the Afar and the Red Sea. South of Addis Ababa, the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes.

·   ECONOMY

85% of the population gets their livelihood from the land. Coffee (the word originates from the name of the province Kaffa, in the south west of Ethiopia) provides 65% of foreign currency earnings. The opening up of the economy since the overthrow of the previous government in 1991 has created more favorable grounds for development of Ethiopia's resources.

Ethiopia is the "water tower" of the region (the Blue Nile contributes to 85% of the main Nile flow) and plans are now in progress to better exploit the country’s water resources both to boost agricultural production and for power generation.

Mineral exploration and mining has stepped up in recent years-there are reserves of natural gas, coal, Gold, copper, tantalum, potash, zinc, iron ore, marble, precious and semi-precious stones.

The export of livestock, skins and hides (Ethiopia has the largest domestic livestock population in Africa) oilseeds, pulses and animal feed makes up the rest of Ethiopia’s foreign currency earnings, with tourism set to make an increasingly important contribution.

·        GOVERNMENT

The former military regime was overthrown in 1991.Ethiopia is now a Federal Republic made up of 16 regions, mainly based on ethnicity.

 POPULATION

The current population is more than 120 million, making it the third most populated country in Africa.

·        WHEN TO COME

This can depend on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March. In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November. With the upgrading of the airports along the historic route (Axum,Gheralta,Mekelle, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar), it is now possible to visit the north even in the rainy Sean.

For travelers who do not mind waiting out a downpour (usually followed by brilliant sunshine) there are certain rewards-a green countryside full of crops and flowers and the sites largely to yourselves.

·        CLIMATE AND CLOTHING

Because of elevation, temperature rarely exceed 25c in most of the country, although in some of the lower lying areas (Awash, Omo and Mago parks) it can get considerably hotter. Pack light clothes for the daytime and jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking-path ways around historic sites is usually uneven and stony. Trekkers in the Simian and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproofs and 3-4 seasons’ sleeping bags.

       ·  A CULTURAL NOTE

Ethiopians are generally modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going underdressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques-for getting around sites like Axum, Lake Tana Monasteries, Lalibela with its many churches airline socks are very useful.

·        TRAVEL BY AIR, ROAD AND RAIL

Ethiopian Airlines operates an extensive (43 airports and an additional 23 landing strips) and generally efficient and reliable domestic air service, but cancellations and delays do occur. Traveling by road allows visitors to experience Ethiopia’s wonderful scenery, but road conditions are generally poor, and mountainous topography in the north will cut speed.

The hour flight to Lalibela for example takes nearly two days by road. Railway enthusiasts who wish to travel by train from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa or on to Djibouti should be prepared for delays and run down carriages.

Ethiopia has recently secured substantial grants for the renovation of its road and rail network, but improvement will take time.

   ·        FOOD

The Ethiopian national dish consists of injera, a flat, circular pancake made of fermented dough on top of which are served different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and pulses. The sauces are generally spiced with berbere, a blend of herbs and spices (including hot peppers) which gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste. Vegetarians should try "fasting food" (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up nearly half the year), a colorful spread of Salads, vegetables and pulses, devoid of all meat and animal products.

One eats national dishes with right hand (water for washing is usually brought to the table before the food is served), tearing off pieces of injera to pick up the "toppings". Addis Ababa now boasts of a wide variety of restaurants, and at hotels in tourist sites European style food such as pasta is always available.

·        HEALTH AND MEDICAL

All visitors should be in possession of valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Polio is recommended.

Malaria: in many sites malaria is not a problem because of the elevation - this is true of Axum, Gondar and Lalibela for example, but it can occur in Bahir Dar at the end of the rainy season and after unseasonable rains. Chloroquine resistant strains have been identified in some areas so you should consult your doctor about the prescription. Alternatively, you can keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay with repellent creams and sprays. (Climatic changes and phenomena such as el-Nino have meant the appearance of Malaria at unseasonable times, and its spread to areas previously malaria free).

Visitors should take a simple first aid pack, which would include: different size plasters, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream and/or tablets for insect bites, sun barrier cream (while temperatures are moderate the sun is strong) and anti diarrhea tablets such as Imodium for emergencies (they will not cure the problem but will control the symptoms). Generally, visitors should take out standard holiday health insurance in their Home countries.

·        MONEY MATTER

The Ethiopian currency is called Birr, the rate of which against the US dollar is fixed in weekly auctioned. (Recently the rate fluctuated from ETB 52.00 to US$1.00). In order to change birr back to Dollars on leaving the country, visitors will be asked to produce bank receipts.