American and Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended return date in order to enter and depart the country. Each traveler is responsible for ensuring that his/her passport is up to date. Citizens of other nationalities should check with respective authorities before departure. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Your passport must have at least one blank page for the entry stamp. This cannot include the ‘endorsement’ page at the back.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
Visas for Ethiopia are required by Canadian and US citizens - except transit passengers continuing to a third country within 12 hours - providing they do not leave the airport, and hold valid travel documents for onward destination. Some tourist visas for Canadian and US citizens can be issued on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. If applying for a tourist visa on arrival, visitors will require two passport photographs and US$50; application can take up to two hours. Visas are valid from the date of issue, not the date of entry into Ethiopia. The following visas are available: single entry visas for up to 30 days stay, multiple entry visas for three months and multiple entry visas for six months. Tourist visa costs: $50 (single-entry, one month); $34 (multiple-entry, three months); $36 (multiple-entry, six months).
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.
Some vaccines require more than one dose or a major length of time to be effective. For that reason, it is recommended to see your doctor or health provider at least 6 to 8 weeks before your trip. For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
Currently Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age arriving from areas considered to be at risk of transmission. It must be given at least 10 days before your trip in order to be effective. A yellow fever shot is NOT required for visitors from U.S. and Canada direct, however if you are travelling through surrounding African countries it is required.
Other vaccines to discuss with your doctor or travel health professional:
Remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind. Wearing long sleeves is a good idea. To reduce the risk of contracting yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria, liberally apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET to your skin and clothes, and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks especially in the evenings.
If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
Other recommended Items:
The weather in Ethiopia is generally temperate with a brief rainy season in the summer and fall; however it can vary dramatically depending on elevation. Sunshine is almost all year-round, the best time to travel is November – February when days are long and warm and the nights are cool.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a warm jacket for early mornings. Light, quick-drying, practical clothes are advisable. Non-synthetic, comfortably fitting, cotton clothing breathes more easily and will keep you cooler under the hot African sun. Shorts and T-shirts are normally the order of the day, and are replaced with long-sleeved shirts and trousers at night for warmth and protection from insect bites.
Preferred colors on safari are khaki, beige, olive green and brown. You are less visible in the African bush and therefore less threatening to the animals. These colors also help to deflect harsh sun and are less likely to attract mosquitoes.
Other essential items:
Bandannas, handkerchiefs and hat with a brim
FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Video camera, camera with zoom lens in a dust-resistant case, sufficient memory cards, a spare camera battery and charger, binoculars, bird and animal check lists
Electricity: Electricity in Ethiopia is 220 volts and 50HZ. Ethiopian sockets are designed to accept round prongs.
Phone: Your cell phone will work in most areas if your phone provider offers international roaming. Roaming phone charges vary, but tend to be quite costly. Consult your phone provider prior to departure to discuss their overseas rates and international package options.
Internet access is exceptionally slow and can be costly (as much as $5-10 per half hour) all across Ethiopia, and unfortunately has one of the lowest penetration rates in the entire continent of Africa “Smart” phones such as BlackBerrys and iPhones will actually download data much faster than computers. Again, roaming and data charges can be exceptionally high – so please talk to your phone provider to pre-purchase a data plan
The currency in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Birr, banknotes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 ETB. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 santim. NOTE: $1.00 USD is equivalent to 20.00 ETB.
Capital: Addis Ababa
Language: The national language is Amharic
Currency: Ethiopian Birr
Religion: Orthodox Christian
Time Zone: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) + 3 East Africa Time
Electricity: 220 Volt, 50 Hz
Telephone: Country code for calling is 251
Calling North America: Dial 011 plus area code and your 7-digit number
Emergency numbers in Ethiopia: For police, fire brigade or ambulance service, dial 939.