|Government||Federal republic; hybrid regime|
|Area||Total: 1,127,127 km2
Water: 7,444 km2
Land: 1,119,683 km2
|Population||74,777,981 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Amharic (official), Oromo, Tigrinya Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic (official), other local languages, English (official, major foreign language taught in schools)|
|Electricity||220V/50Hz (European & Italian plugs)|
Ethiopia  (Amharic: ኢትዮጵያ ʾĪtyōṗṗyā) is a country situated in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa (after Nigeria), bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan and South Sudan to the west. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and the second-oldest official Christian nation in the world after Armenia. Ethiopia is also the place for the first Hijra (615 CE) in Islamic history where the Christian king of Ethiopia accepted Muslim refugees from Mecca sent by the prophet Mohamed.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest independent nations in the world. It has long been an intersection between the civilizations of North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Unique among African countries, Ethiopia was never colonized, maintaining its independence throughout the Scramble for Africa onward, except for five years (1936–41) when it was under Italian military occupation. During this period, the Italians occupied only a few key cities and major routes, and faced continuing native resistance until they were finally defeated during the Second World War by a joint Ethiopian-British alliance. Ethiopia has long been a member of international organizations: it became a member of the League of Nations, signed the Declaration by United Nations in 1942, founded the UN headquarters in Africa, was one of the 51 original members of the UN, and is the headquarters for and one of the founding members of the former OAU and current AU.
Ethiopia was historically called Abyssinia, derived from the Arabic form of the Ethiosemitic name ḤBŚT, modern Habesha. In some countries, Ethiopia is still called by names cognate with "Abyssinia", e.g., Turkish Habesistan, meaning land of the Habesha people. The English name "Ethiopia" is thought to be derived from the Greek word Αἰθιοπία Aithiopia, from Αἰθίοψ Aithiops "an Ethiopian", derived from Greek terms meaning "of burnt (αιθ-) visage (ὄψ)". However, this etymology is disputed, since the Book of Aksum, a Ge'ez chronicle first composed in the 15th century, states that the name is derived from 'Ityopp'is, a son (unmentioned in the Bible) of Cush, son of Ham who according to legend founded the city of Axum.
The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. As a highland country, Ethiopia has a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator. Most of the country's major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000-2,500 metres (6,600-8,200 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum.
The modern capital, Addis Ababa, is situated in the foothills of Mount Entoto at an elevation of around 2,400 m (8,000 ft), and experiences a healthy and pleasant climate year-round. With fairly uniform year-round temperatures, the seasons in Addis Ababa are largely defined by rainfall, with a dry season from Oct-Feb, a light rainy season from Mar-May, and a heavy rainy season from Jun-Sep. The average annual rainfall is around 1200 mm (47 in). There are on average 7 hours of sunshine per day, meaning it is sunny for around 60% of the available time. The dry season is the sunniest time of the year, though even at the height of the rainy season in July and August there are still usually several hours per day of bright sunshine.
The average annual temperature in Addis Ababa is 16°C (61°F), with daily maximum temperatures averaging 20-25°C (68-77°F) throughout the year, and overnight lows averaging 5-10°C (41-50°F). A light jacket is recommended for the evenings, though many Ethiopians prefer to dress conservatively and will wear a light jacket even during the day.
Most major cities and tourist sites in Ethiopia lie at a similar elevation to Addis Ababa and have comparable climates, though in less elevated regions, particularly the lower lying regions in the east of the country, the climate can be significantly hotter and drier. The town of Dallol, in the Danakil Depression in this eastern zone, has the world's highest average annual temperature of 34°C (93°F).
High plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley, low lands in the eastern and westernmost of the country
- Elevation extremes: lowest point: Denakil Depression -125 m (-410 ft); highest point: Ras Dejen 4,620 m (15,157 ft)
- Natural hazards: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
- Geography: landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in north-west Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean.
Time and calendar 
Ethiopia uses the Ethiopian calendar, which dates back to the Coptic calendar 25 BC, and never adopted the Julian or Gregorian reforms. One Ethiopian year consists of twelve months, each lasting thirty days, plus a thirteenth month of five or six days (hence the "Thirteen Months of Sunshine" tourism slogan). The Ethiopian new year begins on 10 or 11 September (in the Gregorian calendar), and has accumulated 7–8 years lag behind the Gregorian calendar: thus, for the first nine months of 2007, the year will be 1999 according to the Ethiopian calendar. On 11 September 2007, Ethiopia celebrated New Year's Day (Enkutatesh) for 2000.
In Ethiopia, the 12-hour clock cycles do not begin at midnight and noon, but instead are offset six hours. Thus, Ethiopians refer to midnight (or noon) as 6 o'clock.
Note: Airline timetables are based on the 24-hour clock and use the Gregorian calendar.
- Addis Ababa – capital of Ethiopia and one of the biggest shopping cities in Africa
- Adama (also known as Nazret or Nazareth) – a popular weekend destination near Addis
- Aksum (Axum) – home of ancient tombs and stelae fields, in the far north near Eritrea
- Bahir Dar – the monasteries on the islands of Lake Tana and close to the beautiful Blue Nile Falls
- Dire Dawa – the second largest city; in the east
- Gondar – some of East Africa's only castles
- Harar – ancient walled city near Dire Dawa
- Lalibela – home to 11 astonishing rock-hewn churches
- Mekele – a town in the Tigrayan Highlands in the north
Other destinations 
Ethiopia is ranked with the other African countries of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia for preserving and maintaining national parks as tourist attractions. The southern and south-western part of the country has a stunning natural beauty with a huge potential of becoming a unique resort.
- Abijatta Shalla Lakes National Park
- Awash National Park
- Bale Mountains National Park
- Mago National Park
- Nechisar National Park
- Omo National Park
- Rift Valley lakes - seven lakes that are a popular weekend getaway for Addis residents, great for birding, watersports or relaxing at the luxury resorts
- Simien National Park
- Sodere - spa resort
- Wolo Highlands
- Yangudi National Park
Get in 
Visa requirements 
All visitors to Ethiopia (except for nationals from Djibouti and Kenya, and foreigners who arrive in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for a few hours to catch a connecting flight and do not leave the airport or pass the Immigration Desk) must obtain an entry visa. Since 2002, tourists from 33 countries (listed here:  with additional information) are able to obtain entry visas upon their arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, and at the airport in Dire Dawa. In April 2013, the fees for visa-upon-arrival valid for three months were US$20 or €17, regardless of whether one was applying for a Tourist, Business or Transit Visa. The procedure is relatively quick and painless; just look for a door with a sign "Visa" on the left hand before the immigration counters. You can get a visa in advance of travel though your local Ethiopian embassy, but the line at the airport is always longer for those who already have visas than it is for those getting the visa at the airport. This is due to the fact that all Ethiopian passport holders need to go through the same line as those who have already obtained visas in advance, and the majority of passengers coming to Ethiopia are Ethiopian citizens.
It seems to be often impossible to obtain a visa at an overseas consulate (e.g. Kampala, Cairo), as there is a backwards policy of not granting visas to non-residents. There seem to be exceptions though. Obtaining a visa at Tel Aviv embassy is very easy: it takes around 15 minutes and costs 100NIS for a 1 month visa and 150NIS for a 3 month visa. You can request a multiple entry visa at the same price if needed. As of July 2012, the Ethiopian visa in Khartoum was also easy to obtain. A filled in form, US$20, and two photos dropped in the morning was enough to get the visa on the same afternoon. These are sometimes for one month and sometimes for two, depending on the mood of the consular officials. Extending a visa in Addis Ababa is a day-long tedious process so bear it in mind if you are planning to stay for more than 4 weeks. For other countries, the only way to gain a visa might be by flying in, or posting your passport back to your home consulate.
By plane 
Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most successful and reputable airlines in Africa and is as good or better than most US airlines. Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines and also hosts Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Egypt Air and fly Dubai. A new runway and international terminal, which was said to be the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, opened in 2003. Terminal 2 services international flights, while Terminal 1 services domestic and some regional (Djibouti, Nairobi, Khartoum, etc.) destinations. You'll be bombarded by people wanting to help with your bags, so much so that it can be a bit scary. They're largely harmless and just looking for a tip, but it could be an easy time to lose a bag. If you have one person help you, twenty will ask for a tip. If you have someone help you one Birr is a sufficient tip, but most first time visitors will not have Ethiopian currency and will have to give them foreign currency. If you have a driver pick you up at the airport they will typically take care of any tips for you.
CAUTION: Arriving in the country without a major currency such as Euros or US dollars is not recommended, especially if one has not obtained a visa prior to arrival. Travellers cheques and cash can usually be exchanged at the airport. Upon arrival, foreigners are often greeted by a throng of locals attempting to "help" load their luggage into cars. They will expect money afterwards and, if you're confused by your newly obtained Ethiopian currency, you'll likely give them more money than you intended. Generally an appropriate payment for a minor task like loading luggage into the car would be between 5-15 birr (ignore requests for more money because you are a foreigner).
- If you have a prior arrangement, many hotels will send a vehicle to pick up pre-booked guests from the airport. The Sheraton Addis, Dreamliner, Hilton Addis, and most other hotels provide regular shuttle service for guests. This is also the case with many popular guesthouses.
By car 
One way to get in from Sudan is via the border village of Metema.
One way to get in from Kenya is via the border town of Moyale. The road from Kenya to Ethiopia through the town of Moyale is much better and well maintained. On the Kenyan side of Moyale the road is horrible and is known for banditry so be careful and make sure you have plenty of time, at least 24 hours, to travel from Moyale to Nairobi. However, the road is currently being rebuilt and paved, with large sections already finished and the remaining sections to be finished around early 2015.
By bus 
- Public transport brings you to the border. With the Sudan or Kenya crossings, you just walk to the other side. If you arrive at the border towns late at night, try not to cross the border in the dark. Wait in the town and do your travelling in the morning.
- Buses that cover some distance start in early morning. This implies that if you arrive during the day you would be stuck at least until the next morning.
- From Gedaref (Sudan) catch a bumpy bus or truck (700 SDnr) to the border. The Sudanese side consists of several small villages and a tiny town. In Ethiopia you could find better, but basic, accommodation. Buses leaving for Gonder dry up by mid-afternoon so you must either arrive early at the border or spend the night in Metema (around 50 birr).
- From Djibouti you can take a small bus to the border (2-3 hr) where you will find buses to Dire Dawa. This road is a dirt track and the trip takes at least half a day, at nightfall the bus uses to stop and you resume travel the next day. From Ethiopia into Djibouti, a bus leaves supposedly around midnight (buy tickets during the day at the office in the centre of Dire Dawa). This arrives at the Djibouti border in the morning where you change onto a different bus to get to Djibouti City. It is a good idea to take a tuk-tuk to the bus station as hyenas wander the streets of Dire Dawa at night.
By train 
There are no active train services in Ethiopia as of January, 2013. The historic Addis-Djibouti railway is being rebuilt by the government on a standard-gauge track that will allow modern train service to resume in the future. The Chemin de Fer train station in downtown Addis Ababa, (in the Kazanches neighborhood near the Sheraton Addis .) is a hidden tourist relic.
Get around 
By plane 
Ethiopian Airlines  is reasonably priced and has fairly comprehensive domestic services. Flights are often overbooked, so it is essential to reconfirm your tickets at least a day in advance and show up at the airport on time. If you forget to reconfirm, they may assume you aren't going to show up and give away your seats.
Tip: Booking tickets for Ethiopian Airlines online works out very expensive when compared with booking at their office in Addis Ababa. For example, the route Addis -> Gonder -> Lallibella -> Addis was quoted on-line for US$450 whereas at their booking office (at the Hilton in Addis) the ticket cost only US$150.
Chartered flights (both to serviced airfields and "bush flights") are available from Abyssinia Flight Services, located on TeleBole road, just down the street from the airport. Helicopter service is available from National Airways, Abyssinia Flight Services, and certain government-owned companies.
Parking at Bole airport costs 5 birr (approximately US$0.27) and is payable in cash only to the parking attendants on arrival.
By bus 
Ethiopian buses fit into one of three major categories: "blue donkeys", the ubiquitous minibuses or matatus that operate throughout the region; small passenger buses called "Higer bus" (named after the manufacturer) that often travel between regions, and the large (often double-jointed) red Addis Ababa city buses.
There is a comprehensive network of cheap Higer buses along the major roads, although these are slow and basic. Buses travelling shorter distances generally leave whenever they have filled up with passengers (in practice, these means once an hour or so); nearly all long-distance buses leave at dawn (6AM on the European clock; 12AM on the Ethiopian clock). Buses do not travel at night; they will stop before sundown in a town or village with accommodation for the passengers, or, between Dire Dawa and Djibouti, just in plain nature. Between some cities (e.g. Adama and Addis Ababa), minibuses will run after the larger buses have stopped for the night. Everyone on the bus must have a seat by law &mdash: this prevents overcrowding, but often makes it difficult to catch a bus from an intermediate point on a route. If planning to travel by bus, keep in mind that the vehicles are old and very dusty and the roads are bad. Ethiopians do not like opening the bus windows, so it gets hot and stuffy inside by afternoon. If you like fresh air, sit as close to the driver or one of the doors as possible as the driver keeps his window open and the conductor and his assistant often have the door windows open. It can be risky riding the minibuses and Higer, as they are a leading contributor to Ethiopia's position among the most dangerous places in the world to drive. The drivers often do not use mirrors and simply disregard the possibility of oncoming traffic when changing lanes.
The bus stations usually open somewhere around 5AM. If you are catching an early morning bus, you should get to the station at 5AM. They are very chaotic first thing in the morning, and many buses will sell out of seats before they leave at 6AM. To make things easier and less stressful, you can often buy a ticket in advance. In Addis, find the correct window at the bus station the day before you wish to travel and buy your ticket there. (You will need help finding the window unless you can read Amharic, but there are usually people around who will help if you ask.) The ticket will be in Amharic, but there will be a legible bus number written on it somewhere. Simply find that bus the next morning at the bus station. In smaller cities, you can often buy your ticket from the conductor when the bus arrives from its previous trip the afternoon before you travel. Even if you already have a ticket, arrive early and claim a seat as soon as possible. If you don't have a ticket, you will have to ask people to show you the correct bus (unless you can read Amharic). In this case, don't waste time trying to buy a ticket from the window or from the bus conductor—push your way on board the bus and claim a seat! The conductor will sell you a ticket later. Medium sized backpacks can usually be squeezed under the seats, but large packs and most luggage will have to go up on the roof. Claim your seat before you worry about your luggage. Anyone assisting you with your luggage, including the person passing it up to the conductor's assistant on the roof, will expect a small tip (around 2-3 birr).
On several routes (Addis - Dire Dawa, Bahardar - Addis) you may find also a kind of informal traveler cars with no fixed departure; when looking around at a bus station you may be approached by somebody who offers you a faster connection by going with a private car; this is more expensive than the normal bus but also much faster. You'll be handed a cell phone number where to call in order to make an appointment. These cars may leave before sundown or travel even at night.
By car 
A good way to tour Ethiopia is by car. You can take small aircraft to expedite your tour, but you will take in more of the scenery if you travel by car. Reasonable touring companies include Galaxy Express Services  NTO , Dinknesh  and Focus Tours Ethiopia . as well as Ethiopia Safaris and Journeys Abyssinia with Zawdu. . They can take you off the beaten track so you can see the beauty and attractions of Ethiopia. Nevertheless, hiring a car is quite expensive (starting from 600-900 depending on condition and quality of model. 600 Birr for cheap car with driver). But if you want a car for at least 8 persons is costs from 1,000-3,000 Birr per day. Prices will vary at this time due to inflationary pressures inside the country. Drivers pass on their costs for spare parts and need to increase the price if fuel rises. A driver guide's credentials should be checked such as tourism license, insurance, engine (external and internal). Before accepting a contract, it is also a good idea to quiz the driver-guide about tourism routes via a travel guide book (eg: Lonely Planet and Bradt Guide) but you must also accept that this information could be out of date. When driving to the "deep south" of Ethiopia also check the licence plates, because the authorities in the south check in and log "3" plate tourism cars, take the names of the passengers and passport number. They need a letter from the tour company to show the agent is bona fide on some routes and parks. Petrol costs 21 birr a litre. Make sure to check the pump is zeroed before re-fuelling starts.
There are a several highways in Ethiopia, many of the roads in Ethiopia are in good conditions:
Road 1: Addis Ababa-Asmara via Dessie and Mekelle
Road 3: Addis Ababa-Axum via Bahir Dar and Gonder
Road 4: Addis Ababa-Djibouti via Nazret (Adama), Awash and Dire Dawa
Road 5: Addis Ababa-Gambela via Alem Zena and Nekemte
Road 6: Addis Ababa-Jimma via Giyon
Road 48: Nekemte-Gambela National Park via Gambela
TAH 6 to the east: Djibouti via Dessie
TAH 6 to the west: Ndjamena via Darfur
By bicycle 
Road conditions vary considerably around Ethiopia; some roads are smoothly sealed while others consist mostly of large stones. Accommodation is cheap and available in almost every village (although these "hotels" usually double as bars and brothels). Food and drink are also easily available. You will attract considerable attention (it is not uncommon for whole schools to empty out as the children chase you).
By train 
There are no longer any train services in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) is apparently planning a Light Railway Network project in Addis Ababa. The project is expected to transport 20,000 passengers per day and will assist in solving Addis Ababa’s transportation problems.
In September 2010 construction commenced on a new freight rail network. The project is planned to provide a 5,000 km network, radiating from Addis Ababa, with the majority of traffic going to Djibouti.
- See also: Amharic phrasebook
Amharic is the first official language of Ethiopia. The language is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic, and if you know either one you'll recognize some cognates. In all parts of the country everyone speaks Amharic to some extent, no matter what their first language may be. The language is written in the Ge'ez script.
In big cities, most people under 40 speak some English. (English is the primary foreign language taught in schools.) In rural areas, find local school children to translate for you for a fee that could be next to nothing. (Ethiopians have a distinct way of speaking English. Because it is heavily accented, it might be a bit difficult to understand it at the beginning. However, when you get used to the way they pronounce some English words, it will become fairly understandable.) Older Ethiopians, especially those from the Tigray region or Eritrea (which was once a state of Ethiopia), may speak Italian, while other elders may speak Russian or Cuban-accented Spanish due to the influence of the former Derg regime.
In the north, especially in Tigray, Tigrinya is the primary language, also written in Ge'ez. However, Amharic is widely understood. In the middle highlands regions Oromifa, or Afaan Oromo is widely spoken. Oromifa uses a Latin alphabet. In the Ogaden region, located mostly in Somali regional state (near the border with Somalia and Somaliland), Somali is common, and is written in a Latin alphabet; Arabic is also common, with a Yemeni influence. Towards the border with Djibouti, French becomes slightly more common.
- See the obelisks and St Mary of Zion Church in Axum
- Historic Routes, churches and Mosques Lalibella, Axum, Gondar, Harar
- Volcanic lake Danakil Depression and Erta Ale
- Rift valley lakes Wonchi crater lake, Langano, Tana
- National Parks Menengesha
- Towns Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Old City Harar
- Tribal region safari in Lower Omo Valley
- Trekking in Dodolla, Bale Siemien Mountains National Park
- Bird watching in Rift Valley lakes
- See the baboons at Debre Sina near Addis Ababa
- White water rafting in the Omo River
- Visit Azmari bet (traditional dance)
- Attend a traditional coffee ceremony.
- Visit the many beautiful churches in Addis Ababa
- Visit the rock hewn churches in Lalibela
- Castles in Gondar
Many people have a desire to do some sort of charitable work while in Ethiopia. Unless you have pre-arranged with an NGO to do work and you are staying an extended period of time, there is probably little volunteering you can do to help.
What you can do is patronize their businesses. Many non-profit organizations produce goods that they sell to help fund their efforts. Most locals at hotels and guest houses can point you to them. Abebech Gobena Yehetsanat Kebekabena Limat Mahber is a great example. Abebech Gobena (also known as Mother Teresa of Africa) was interviewed by CNN. Be warned: you will cry.
Missionaries of Charity started by Mother Teresa of Calcutta operates in Ethiopia as well. They have a centre near Sidest Kilo in Addis Ababa.
Many visitors bring donations to Ethiopia. Although most anything is appreciated, there are things very difficult to get in Ethiopia that make great donations. Soy formula for orphanages is a great example as lactose intolerant babies need this to thrive and it is hard to find in-country. High quality soccer footballs (what would be considered cheap footballs at US$10-15 in Western countries) are hard to find as well. Deflate a football and you can get over 30 in a large bag. You will be seen as a hero when you give them away at orphanages and schools.
The official currency is the Ethiopian birr (ETB). You are only supposed to import and export 100 birr. Usually hotel and car rental bills must be paid in cash.
The Ethiopian birr is one of the more stable African currencies and in May 2013 €1 was about 24.1 birr, UK£1 was about 28.7 birr, and US$1 was about 18.4 birr. Coins are valued at 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, and banknotes come in values of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 birr.
As of 2012 there are many ATMs provided in all bigger cities in Ethiopia, and more to come. Finding an ATM should, in other words, be no problem as long as you keep to the bigger cities. Notice that Lalibela does not have an ATM yet but there is a Western Union office to be found. VISA is the most reliable provider in Ethiopia, few places accept other providers.
Changing cash and travellers cheques 
Any commercial bank in Ethiopia can change cash and travellers cheques. The rates are the same everywhere and are set by the central bank daily. There are hundreds of commercial bank branches in Addis, including in the Sheraton and Hilton hotels, and in the corner of the baggage claim hall at the airport. Most cities and towns that tourists visit will have at least one commercial bank, except for villages in the Omo valley. US dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling are the best currencies to carry.
It is illegal to change money on the black market and the rates aren't much better than what you can get from the banks.
It is essentially impossible to exchange the birr outside of Ethiopia due to currency controls, and it is illegal to remove more than 200 birr from the country without permission. Many hotels will convert US dollars to birr at the front desk. You may find it best to keep most of your cash in your home currency and take out what you need daily. Prices are extremely low in Ethiopia and a US dollar will go a long way. Additionally, since ATM machines dispense money in birr, it may be easier to simply withdraw money from the ATM as needed.
US dollar 
Dashen bank is the only bank that accepts foreign bank cards in Ethiopia. In cities like Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa (little accepted in Dire Dawa, not like Addis) the US dollar is mostly accepted. In some shops in Addis Ababa the prices will be written in ETB+US$. Some ATMs in Addis Ababa give out both US dollars and birr. Most hotels in Addis Ababa accept US dollars. All airports in Ethiopia accept US dollars.
You cannot obtain US dollars in Ethiopia through legal means unless you have a flight ticket to leave the country. This means that if you need dollars (e.g. to get a Djibouti visa) and don't have a flight ticket to leave Ethiopia you will need to either change money on the black market or ensure that you have enough US dollars on you.
Ethiopia is relatively cheap for tourists, compared to other African countries.
To stay at a 5 star hotel in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gondar and Awasa costs on average 1,500 birr per night.
Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Adama/Nazret have the most expensive prices in the country. For example a 32 inch (81 cm) LCD TV costs around 15,000 birr. Food is also expensive if you buy it in the downtown.
You need about 400 birr per day for hotel, fuel, food, lodging and transport. In Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa you can need 600 birr per day.
Injera is Ethiopia's national dish. It is a spongy, tangy-tasting bread made from the grain teff, which grows in the highlands of Ethiopia. It looks and feels akin to a crepe or pancake. It is eaten with wot (or wat), traditional stews made with spices and meat or legumes. Some popular wats are doro (chicken) wat, yebeg (lamb) wat and asa (fish) wat.
The injera sits directly on a large round plate or tray and is covered with wat placed symmetrically around a central item. The various wats are eaten with other pieces of injera, which are served on a side plate. Injera is eaten with the right hand - rip a large piece of injera from the side plate and use it to pick up one of the various flavors of wat on the main platter. Eating with the left hand is considered disrespectful, as it is the hand traditionally used for personal hygiene and is thus considered unclean. Another popular injera dish is firfir: fried, shredded injera. It can be served with or without meat or with all sorts of veggies.
If you prefer vegetarian foods, try the shiro wat, which is an oily bean stew served with injera. Shiro is common on Ethiopian "fasting days", in which devout Ethiopians eat an essentially vegetarian diet.
One of Ethiopia's most famous dishs is tibbs or tibs, spicy beef or lamb fried in butter (nitre kibbeh). Tibs comes in several styles, most commonly "chikina tibs", fried in a sauce with berbere spice, onions, bell peppers, and tomato; and zil-zil tibs, a more deep fried breaded version served with tangy sauces. Equally as famous is Kitfo, minced meat spiced with chili. You can have it raw (the locally preferred way, but there's a risk of getting parasites), leb-leb (lightly cooked) or fully cooked. It comes with a local cheese ayeb and a spinach. In Harar region, one can find kitfo derivatives including camel meat. Many restaurants that serve kitfo include it in their name (e.g. Sami Kitfo, Mesob Kitfo, etc.) but typically serve a wider selection than just raw meat.
For the pickier visitor, almost every place in Ethiopia also serves spaghetti (thanks to the short lived Italian occupation). Italian restaurants are common, as are so-called "American style pizza and burger" places that have little in common with American pizzas and burgers. There is continued demand for more American style dining in Ethiopia from, not only expats, but from Ethiopians as well. There are restaurants like the Country Kitchen (not the chain) that serves American style fried chicken and wings run by an American-born-and-raised Ethiopian. Good Pizza can be had at Metro Pizza at the Dagim Millenium Hotel The restaurant at Addis Guest House run by an American raised Ethiopian named Yonas serves a good selection of western foods including great French toast for breakfast. It is worth the trip just to meet Yonas who may be the best tour guide you can find in the city. "Kaldi's Coffee House"  are all over the city. They are largely Starbucks knockoffs, but they do it well. Great coffee, good pastries, and very good ice cream. You will find westerners or western raised Ethiopians everywhere in the capital and they all are very helpful.
Common spices include berbere, Ethiopia's natural spice which includes fenugreek; mittmitta, another piquant spice; and rosemary, which is used in almost all meat in the country. Most local meats are of poor quality and are stringy and tough even when cooked perfectly. Luxury hotels and restaurants will often import their meat from Kenya, which is much higher quality.
Ethiopia is the historical origin of the coffee bean, and the coffee is among the best in the world. Coffee is traditionally served in a formal ceremony. The coffee ceremony involves drinking a minimum of three cups of coffee and eating popcorn, and it is a special honour, or mark of respect to be invited into somebody's home for the coffee ceremony. Ethiopians tend to drink their coffee either freshly brewed and black, very strong, with the grounds still inside; or as a macchiato, Ethiopia's popular form of coffee.
In preparation for the ceremony the coffee beans are roasted in a flat pan over charcoal. The beans are then ground using pestle and mortar. The coffee is brewed with water in a clay coffee pot and is considered ready when it starts to boil. Coffee in Ethiopia is served black with sugar; some ethnic groups may add butter or salt to the coffee but will generally not do so with foreigners. Beware, after drinking coffee in Ethiopia, you will find yourself always disappointed with the quality of coffee when you return home. In Ethiopia the coffee is so fresh as it is usually roasted the same day as it is consumed. You will dream about coffee for weeks after leaving Ethiopia.
Tej is a honey wine, similar to mead, that is frequently drunk in bars; in particular, in a tejbeit (tej bar). It strongly resembles mead in flavor though it typically has a local leaf added to it during brewing that gives it a strong medicinal flavor that may be off putting. It is considered manly to consume this beverage.
A variety of Ethiopian beers are available, all of which are quite drinkable. Formerly owned by the Ethiopian government, they are now owned by Western beverage companies like Heineken (Harar beer) and Diageo (Meta beer). The national beer is St. George, or "Giorgis", which is a light lager similar to American beers. Ethiopian breweries rival many microbreweries in the west. Most beers are sold for under $1US. Ethiopian wines, both red and white, exist but are generally considered undrinkable by foreigners.
There is a wide range of accommodation in Ethiopia. There is a luxurious Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa. You can also find a "hotel" that is nothing more than a small room with a tiny bed, and no running water, in the border town of Moyale.
Staying in tourist areas generally results in a broader range of choices, but watch out for tourist prices. It is acceptable to bargain with the hotel owner, for they usually tend to charge you "faranji" (foreigner) prices at first, which are often twenty times the local rate. You won't be able to bargain down to local prices (close to nothing) but you can bargain down a lot. This is not true at the government run "Ghion" chain, and the fancier private chains as well, where prices for foreigners are fixed. (Bekale Mola, for example).
Addis: Addis is full of cheap hotels. Most tourists stay in the piazza area, where there are many hotels ranging from very cheap to moderately cheap. Except for the cheapest, most of them have running hot water, and are fairly clean. Park Hotel starts at 20 birr a single and 30 birr a double. Two big ones are Taitu hotel and Wutma hotel. The two biggest hotels in Addis are the Sheraton, referred to by expats as "The Sheza", and the Hilton. Both are enormous and very expensive. Both have swimming pools, good restaurants, souvenir shops and bakeries: the rooms are comfortable. If you cannot afford these two hotels, visit them and chat up the expats (especially at lunch time when they take their break by the pool) and if your accommodation needs to be improved, they might be able to help out. You might also catch a glimpse of a rich or famous celebrity or high powered world politician, who is in Addis to do some charity work or to deal with some sort of African politics.
[[Guest Houses|Bed and breakfasts] are common in Ethiopia. These vary from large homes with a number of bedrooms to small hotels and essentially operate as a "Bed and Breakfast". Some have shared baths, other have private baths. The best ones have generators avaialble to deal with power outages as well as internet service and satellite TV. The good ones tend to be clean and they treat you like family. They are much cheaper than the brand name hotels and you will get more exposure to the local culture. If you tip well you will be treated like royalty.
Outside Addis 
In the north, in every city (Axum, Lalibella, Bahir Dar, Gondar) one can find hotels, from overpriced ones such as the government-run Ghion chain hotels to cheaper ones. Smaller places on the major roads offer cheap places if you do not mind the most basic rooms. A tourist town like Debark that serves for trekking the Simien Mountains also offers a range of rooms, with the most popular being the Simien Park Hotel (25/30 birr), where you could also pitch a tent for 20. It meets the normal standards for food, electricity, water, cleanliness and hygiene.
In the south, all the cities (Shashemane, Wondo Genet, Awasa, Arba Minch, Jinka...) have decent, cheap hotels. The most basic rooms start at 15 birr for a single and 20 birr for a double. Many of them don't have hot water and electricity all hours of the day, so you should schedule time for a shower in advance. There are also three fairly expensive resort hotels on the shore of Lake Langano. In the smaller villages in and around the Omo valley (Weyto, Turmi, Key Afar, Dimeka, Konso, etc.) there are usually few (very basic) or no hotels, but if you are travelling through the valley to see the tribes, there is always a campground or a restaurant that offers beds. If you camp out at one of these villages, you should hire a guard to watch over your stuff overnight.
These are some colleges and universities in Ethiopia.
- Adama University
- Axum University
- Addis Ababa University
- Alemaya University
- Alfa College of Distance Education (Harar)
- Ambo College of Agriculture
- Arba Minch Universit
- Awasa Adventist College (Awasa) (foreign, USA Adventist church affiliated)
- Bahir Dar University
- Commercial College of Addis Ababa
- Debub University
- Hawasa University
- Gondar University (one of the two medical colleges)
- Jijiga university
- Jimma University
- Kotoebe Teachers' Education College
- Mekelle University
- Mizan-Tepi University
- People to People College (Harar)
- Theological College of the Holy Trinity
- Unity College (private)
- Graduate School of Telecommunications and Information Technology (GSTIT)
Ethiopia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Africa. The unemployment rate is 5% (2005).  Notice that the average income is about 120 US-dollar/month per inhabitant.
The country's economy is based on agriculture. 69% of the people lead an agrarian lifestyle (CCO). However, in the big cities, especially in Addis-Ababa,
- There is a high demand of IT professionals.
- Many start-up companies search for individuals with computer networking and consulting backgrounds.
- Addis-Ababa has the highest number of NGOs in Africa, and possibly among all third world countries. They are reputed for providing generous salaries to their employees.
- Many expatriates work in NGOs and small start-up IT companies.
- Compared with other African cities, Addis-Ababa has a high number of big, medium and small sized computer training schools, and governmental and private learning institutions. Many students who attend hope to obtain an IT or consulting job, in the very scarce job market of the city.
There are many opportunities to volunteer in and around Addis Ababa. Organizations such as Love Volunteers  and Projects Abroad  offer a range of volunteer projects including teaching English, caring for children and healthcare.
Stay safe 
Risks in Ethiopia
- Avoid travelling to the eastern part of the country beyond the city of Harar. Somali separatist groups occasionally launch guerilla attacks. Most expats who go there are US military personnel actively training the Ethiopian army's anti-terrorism unit. Many others are Chinese, Indian or Malaysian representatives of oil companies, who have been targeted in major guerilla attacks resulting in dozens of casualties. Harar is safe for extended stays, and Jijiga is generally also safe for short trips.
- Armed insurgent groups operate in the Afar region. In 2011 an Afari group attacked tourists in the Danakil Depression, killing five European tourists, and kidnapping two others. The Ethiopian government alleges that this was sponsored by its rival, Eritrea.
- In 2008, a hotel in the town of Jijiga and two hotels in the town of Negele Borena were bombed.
- Organized crime and gang violence are very unusual in most parts of the country. However, in the border areas of Sudan (Gambella Region) and Kenya, there are reports indicating occurrences of banditry. Avoid these areas.
- Though Ethiopia has a secular government, the people are very religious. The two dominant religions (the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islam) strongly influence day-to-day life. Due to their influence the government implements certain rules and laws that could appear unsettling to westerners. In particular, homosexuality is illegal and is not tolerated.
- Compared to other African countries, robbery is not a major problem in the cities and towns. However, travellers are advised to look after their belongings. Travellers should be cautious at all times when travelling on roads in Ethiopia. There have been reports of highway robbery, including car-jacking, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travellers are cautioned to limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.
- Travellers with vehicles and cyclists may often be the target of stoning by local youths when driving in rural areas.
- Traffic accidents, both for pedestrians and vehicle passengers/drivers are common -- Ethiopia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to drive. These accidents are often fatal. Pedestrians frequently walk into the middle of the road without looking, vehicles do not use mirrors and traffic lanes are more of a guideline than a rule. It is highly advisable to hire a driver and to travel in the largest vehicle reasonably possible, to maximize safety. Always keep doors locked and do not lower windows enough for beggars to put their hands in (distracting a driver while robbing through the passenger side window is a common tactic).
- Most federal police and some private security guards carry Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles. This is common, and should not be cause for alarm -- it is simply cheaper for them to purchase and repair these weapons than more "traditional" police tools like pistols and pepper spray. The federal police are generally well trained and very effective in their jobs, and can be distinguished by their blue camouflage uniforms. City police wear a solid blue shirt, and are less reliable. Traffic police wear a blue uniform with white hat and sleeves, and are generally the least reliable of the city police.
Stay healthy 
Be careful of the food you eat, and don't stay in the sun too long. If you get sick, go to one of the big private hospitals, e.g., Korean, Hayat, St Gabriels.
Do not drink tap water. Bottled water for drinking is available almost everywhere in small, medium and big bottles -- popular brands are Yes (flat water) and Ambo (sparkling water). Ethiopia's tap water is full of parasites and hotels generally recommend guests not to drink it, nor to eat salads and uncooked foodstuffs that are commonly washed in tap water. This applies to ice as well -- unless it is distilled, or you are at a reputable western hotel like the Sheraton, Radisson Blue, or Hilton, ice is a prime vector for parasites. Make sure you drink enough water, especially when the weather is hot.
Consult a doctor before going to Ethiopia and stock up on prescription drugs you require. The risk of malaria is low in the capital and the highlands, but high in the lake regions and lowlands. Doxycycline for malaria prevention is cheap in Addis.
Keep in mind that a large portion of Ethiopia is at a high elevation and as a result, those unaccustomed to breathing in thinner air may have a hard time moving around at first. It is advised to allow oneself a few days to acclimatize to the air.
The festival of Eid ul-Fitr is held after the end of Ramadan and may last several days. Exact dates depend on astronomical observations and may vary from country to country.
- Ethiopians are very proud of their culture, identity, and country. Avoid criticizing their cultural lifestyle, especially their brand of Christianity (Oriental Orthodox). Avoid all contentious religious discussion, or you may risk all good will and hospitality you could have been afforded. Rather than argue about the merits of Orthodoxy or Islam, it's best to ask friends to explain their customs, festivals and beliefs and to listen with respect.
- The Ethiopians' relationship with the westerners is generally free of racial animosity. However, there is considerable suspicion and even xenophobia toward foreigners in the country side. Ethiopians can be short-fused if they feel they are not treated as equals.
- If a woman is with a man, ask the man's permission to talk to her beforehand. For a man to avoid eye contact with a woman is considered a sign of respect. If you're a foreign woman and are in public with a man, don't be upset if Ethiopian men address all questions to him. They will do this not to slight you but to show respect. This will be the case on public transport and in restaurants. Likewise, if you are a foreign man, maintaining a formal distance from women will be seen as good manners.
- It is very important that you remove your shoes when entering a home.
The country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The Ethiopian dialing plan changed on September 17, 2005, such that the two-digit city code changed to three digits (or, from outside the country, one to two digits) and six-digit telephone numbers changed to seven digits. The city code for Addis Ababa, as of 17 Sep 2005, is 011 (or 11 from outside Ethiopia). An on-line telephone number converter, which will convert an old number to the new number, is available here: .
Ethiopia's connectivity is among the worst in the world. The mobile telecom network uses GSM (as in Europe/Africa), operated by Ethio Telecom (ETC) and has limited 3G (1x EV-DO service) and 2G (CDMA) service. Currently there is decent coverage around big cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Adama, Bahir Dar, Awasa, Harar, Dese, Gonder, Mekele, and Nekemete. It is expanding into small cities. For all travelers, having a mobile phone is a must. It is cheap and easily available. Satellite phones and VSAT devices are heavily restricted or illegal without hefty fees and licenses.
There are only a few stores renting SIM cards. However, purchasing a SIM is inexpensive, and can be done anywhere that sells phones. You will have to give the seller a copy of your passport ID page, 2 passport style pictures, and between 45 and 100 birr, depending on what kind of card/service you are getting. You'll have to sign an agreement that you will not commit any crimes with your phone. All local stores will have calling cards you can purchase to call internationally. For domestic calls, phones are topped up with a prepaid card, available in denominations of 2000, 500, 100, 50 and 25 birr and smaller.
Roaming charges are very steep. While roaming arrangements are said to be in place in practice you may find it impossible to get a connection that works reliably, or at all.
Less than 1 million people in the country have access to internet, and internet service is extremely limited. There are numerous internet cafes in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gonder, Awasa and other cities; however their speeds are often dial-up at best, and some operate illegally. In Addis Ababa, connection speeds are more than adequate for performing tasks such as checking e-mail most of the time. A typical internet cafe will have a dozen computers using one "broadband" (actually 3G mobile internet speeds from 128kbit/s) connection. ADSL is available, but expensive, and reserved for enterprise customers most of the time. At the Addis Sheraton, the internet connection rivals that of most Western hotels, but costs USD $30 for a 24 hour connection. Ethiopia's international connection is unstable: On bad days, even a broadband connection will only deliver dial-up speed, because the whole country's traffic is running via an undersized backup satellite connection. The government has announced plans to rollout 4G LTE service.
To use the internet costs between 25-35 Ethiopian cents/per min in the bigger cities but outside the cities it usually costs more than 1 birr/per minute. Take care of computer viruses! Most computers or flash disks in use are infected.
Outside of bigger towns, it is harder to find a working Internet connection and the charge per minute is often much higher than in bigger towns.
Ethiopia is currently in the process of deploying an internet filter, to access blocked sites, use a VPN or use the free, open-source TOR Project. Personal use of VoIP services such as Skype has been legalized as of July 2012.
Ethiopia has one of the most efficient postal services in Africa. Many attribute this success to the extensive network of Ethiopian Airlines. However, mail does not get delivered to your address. You are required to buy a post office box. Once you get a post office box, the flow of your mail will be consistent.