Ethiopia :: Ethiopia
Category: Places :: Country
TOP ATTRACTION: Simien Mountains National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Bale Mountains National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Harar Ancient City
TOP ATTRACTION: Sof Omar Caves
TOP ATTRACTION: Awash Waterfall
TOP ATTRACTION: Gondar Castles
TOP ATTRACTION: Axum stellae field
TOP ATTRACTION: Lalibela - Church
TOP ATTRACTION: Mago National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Danakil Depression
TOP ATTRACTION: Erta Ale Volcano
TOP ATTRACTION: Blue Nile Falls
Ethiopia is without a doubt the most fascinating country in Southern and Eastern Africa. The landscape is astoundingly beautiful and varied, and the people are interesting, with many different tribes, and a rich and ancient culture. The picturesque countryside has an old-world charm, the Amharic language is unique and they use the Julian calendar which is different to the Western calendar. Perhaps one of Ethiopia’s biggest contributions to mankind is the fact that coffee originated here!
With its 115 million people, Ethiopia is one of the most populated countries in Africa. The rural areas are a continuous, terraced farmland. Most residents here operate at a subsistence level, using terraces that are thousands of years old, cultivating even the steepest slopes.
But Ethiopia is not an easy country to travel. Few people speak English and there are few facilities for campers. Locals can be emotionally draining as they have a different sense of privacy and personal space. Wherever you stop in town or next to the road they swarm around you, staring. Sadly, a huge culture of entitlement appears to have been created by Western aid, given in response to the drought and famine of the 1980s. Now, often when people see a foreigner they call out ‘farangee’ or ‘you’ and hold out a hand, expecting money.
Drive on the right-hand side of the road. Driving conditions are difficult; distances are huge, the going is generally slow and you have to be extremely attentive.
For a third world country the standard of road engineering is surprisingly high, with some stupendous passes. There are some excellent tarred roads, albeit clogged with animals and people to whom the traffic must yield. On the roads everything on foot has right of way. Vehicles simply have to manoeuvre their way through the people, cattle, horses, donkeys and donkey carts, none of which make any effort to get out of the way. There is far more livestock than wheels on Ethiopian roads; in country towns three wheeled tuk-tuk taxis are the only common vehicles. In Ethiopia you don’t get traffic jams but you will frequently be stuck in a cattle jam when villagers return their livestock to the safety of the village in the late afternoon.
GMT+3 (Eastern Africa Time).
Everyone, besides Kenyan and Djibouti nationals, needs a visa to visit Ethiopia. You can apply for a three month or six month visa.
Nationals of all countries, except Pakistan and Syria, are eligible for an eVisa if arriving at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.
If travelling by land you have to obtain a visa at an Ethiopian embassy or consulate in advance. You have to apply in your country of origin if it has an Ethiopian embassy. There are a number of Ethiopian embassies in Africa, but international travellers reported that it was quick and easy to obtain a visa in Khartoum, Sudan or in Cairo, Egypt.
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