The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia lies in the north-east ofAfrica.  The landlocked country is surrounded byEritreain the north,Kenyain the south, withDjiboutiandSomaliato the east andSudanto the west side. Ethiopia’s natural resources include gold, copper, platinum and natural gas. Income streams are mainly sourced from the agricultural sector.  But soil erosion, overgrazing, spells of drought are serious environmental challenges facing the country’s population where famine is not uncommon.

POPULATION: 82,544,840

CAPITAL CITY:  Addis Ababa


CLIMATE:   Ethiopia experiences three climatic zones dependent on elevation levels: Areas above 2600m with temperatures from freezing to 16 degrees is known as Dega (cool zone).  The temperate zone, or Woyina Dega, is where most of the population lives. The elevation level is between 1500m and 2600m with 16 to 30 degrees temperature range.  Qola/Kolla, or the hot zone, has temperatures from 27 to 50 degrees with elevation levels below 1500m.  The rainy summer season is from mid-June to mid-September. The dry winter season is from December, January and February.

BUSINESS HOTELS:  There are four- and five-star hotels located well within Addis Adaba business centre, tourist sites and the airport. The five-star Sheraton Addis in Addis Adaba offers classy accommodation along with conference, Internet and concierge services.  Hilton Addis Adaba is a great five-star hotel for the business traveller, with the benefits of room Internet access, conference facilities, on-site medical treatment and even a hair salon.  Also try the four-star options like Ghion Addis Adaba, Imperial Meridian or Wabe Shebelle Hotel.

BUSINESS RESTAURANTS:  Addis Adaba has a number of great restaurant venues. For good Greek food try the Acropolis Greek Restaurant.  The Ararat Club serves Armenian food, while the Blue Tops offers Italian.  Oriental cuisine can be sampled at theChina, Beijing Restaurant or Rainbow Seoul.  Hotels like Sheraton Addis and the Hilton provide upmarket dining and a variety of cuisines. Enjoy Indian flavours at the Sangam or Tandoori K.

AIRLINES:    Ethiopian Airlines is the national carrier.  Other airlines that visit the country are British Airways,Lufthansa,EgyptAir,Kenya Airways, Sudan Airways, Yemen Airways, Taag, BMI, KLM and Saudi Airlines.  South African Airways (SAA) operates daily flights to and from Addis Adaba.

AIRPORTS:   BoleInternationalAirport (formerly known as Haile Selassie I International Airport) is found in Addis Adaba. AbaTennaDejazmachYilmaInternationalAirport is in Dire Dawa. These and about 12 regional and domestic airports have been identified for the purpose of renovations as part of the country’s National Airports Development Plan 1999-2017.

GETTING AROUND:   Ethiopian Airlines operate domestic flights to most local towns.

A railway service runs between the capital city and neighbouring countryDjiboutivia Dire Dawa, but you can expect delays.  There is a fairly good road network in business and tourist areas.  Bus and minibus services cover all major towns but can be slow. Taxis are available in the capital city and main towns.  The more luxury taxi can be found at the airport and most hotels. Fares are negotiable.  Vehicle travel after dark outside Addis Adaba is not advised. 

LANGUAGE:    Amharic is the official language spoken.  A host of other indigenous languages include Oromigna, Tigrigna, Somaligna, Guaragigna and Hadiyigna.  Arabic and English are also used.


TRIBES:  The major ethnic group is Oromo followed by Amara and Tigraway.  Other groups like Somalie, Guragie, Sidama and Welaita also exist. Ethiopia’s population is mostly Christian and Muslim.

CONNECTIVITY:  Internet access is available in top hotels as well as Internet cafés in Addis Adaba.  Mobile networks like MTN have an existing international roaming agreement with the Ethiopian Telecoms Corporation.


HEALTH:   Medical/travel insurance is recommended. Vaccinations/ treatments against hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever, diphtheria, malaria, rabies and tetanus should be administered.  Water for drinking, brushing teeth or ice must be boiled or sterilised.  Milk should also be boiled.  Use powder or tin milk and avoid dairy products.  Meat, fish and vegetables should be well cooked and fruit peeled. Note that hepatitis E and hepatitis B are also prevalent. Also the high altitude and low oxygen level of the country take some getting used to. Those with heart ailments and high blood pressure must consult their doctor before travel. 

CONTACTS:  National Tourism Organisation, Addis Ababa, Tel: 00251 1 517470, Fax: 00251 1 513899, or website

Embassy ofEthiopia,Pretoria,South Africa: +27 (0)12 346 3542.

Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Addis Ababa: +251 (0)1 551 2310 or

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