Ethiopia - useful tips

Useful tips

Fly with Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines have good domestic flight offer. When you buy a ticket for an international flight, you will be granted 50% discount for all domestic flights. It is very good deal. We paid about 360 USD for 7 internal flights. Internal and international tickets can be bought online:
Don't wait for last minute to buy domestic flight. All seats can be sold out. It is better to buy a ticket 2 or 3 days in advance. General rules obey at the Ethiopian airports. You should be 2 hours before departure. I had 7 domestic flights and none of them was late.

In my opinion it is better to take domestic flight than longway bus. You save a lot of time. Travelling by bus is not comfortable in Ethiopia but it is adventure.


Visa cost 50 USD in January 2018. The fee is paid in USD or Euro.  Visa on Arrival is available. It took us 2 hours of queuing for visa. 

Money exchange

The exchange rate is the same at the airport and banks. If you are visiting Omo Valley ask for small bills (5,10 birr) to pay for taking photos. 

Exchange rates in January 2018 r. 
1 USD - 27 birr
1 Euro - 32 birr
1 PLN - 7,5 birr


Hotels name, standard and prices can be found in previously published posts of Ethiopia.  
Two or more men are not allowed to rent one room, even with two beds. Sometimes female/male couple are asked about the relationship status. If they are married they can sleep in one room, if not they must rent two rooms. This regulations are not common but sometimes you can be asked to follow it. 
Single and double room prices are almost the same. 


Ethiopian food is not my favourite. The most famous is injera. This is Ethiopian bread. I don't like it. 

You can choose local food and tourist food. Local food is cheap, injera with vegetables cost 20-40 birr. Tourist food, eg fried chicken, cost 100 birr and more. 

Famous and delicious Ethiopian coffee cost 5-10 birr. Tea price is the same. Don't miss coffee ceremony. 

Ethiopian beer is good. It cost 15-20 birr in a restaurant. Fresh juice is delicious: 20-50 birr. 

Ethiopian breakfast is very monotonous. Every day we had eggs. 

Ethiopian calendar and time

Ethiopia uses the Julian calendar, the rest of the world follows the Gregorian one which is seven and a half years ahead. In Ethiopia, a year has thirteen months; twelve of them have 30 days and the 13th month has 5 or 6 days depending on leap year. According to Gregorian calendar it is 2018, in Ethiopia it is 2010. You can check current time on website:

Ethiopian time is different too. Days and nights are of equal. Each day is 12 hours long and each night has 12 hours as well. An Ethiopian day starts at 7 am (counted as 1:00) and ends at 7pm (12:00 Ethiopian time). The night time is calculated the same way. While you are in Ethiopia, in order to tell what the local time is, just add 6 hours onto your watch reading.


Generally Ethiopia is safety country. Nobody try to kill you or even physically assault you. 
Be aware of pickpockets in cities eg Addis Ababa. They are very clever and it is very easy to lose the wallet, camera, mobiles. You take pictures and you wallet is gone.  
Many Ethiopians treat travelers as ATM. Stalkers can follow you for hours. They don't touch you but ask for money all the time. We were victims of stalking in Gonder and Omo Valley.  

Food is good but avoid fresh vegetables and fruit in restaurants. Drink only bottled water. 


The internet speed is very poor in Ethiopia. Sometimes it is so slow that it takes ages to send email.  

Omo Valley - barter and gifts for children

You can take copybooks, sweets, pens to give them away to children in remote parts of Ethiopia. Don't take mint sweets. Children don't like them. The favourite one is toffee. It doesn't matter how much sweets, pens etc you take with you. It won't be enough. Horde of children will follow you asking for more.

Take old clothes and exchange them for souvenirs. Some vendor prefer clothes to money.