Ethiopia is the birthplace of the Blue Nile. It is in the Horn of Africa. It shares a border with Eritrea to both the north and northeast. Kenya is south. Both Djibouti and Somalia are east, and Sudan and South Sudan are west. It is the world’s most populous landlocked country, with nearly 100 million inhabitants.

Ethiopia is a multilingual country. There are around ninety native languages here. Also, among foreign languages, English, Arabic, and Italian are very popular. The predominant religion is Christianity, closely followed by Islam.

The official currency is Ethiopian Birr. The approximate exchange rate is Br22.65 for US$1. US Dollar is the most convenient currency to exchange. MasterCard and Diners Club credit cards are acceptable, but not widely.

Taxis are available in Addis Ababa and other major towns. They don’t have meters, so you need to negotiate the price beforehand. Shared taxis are common, they usually drive on fixed routes and are inexpensive. If you want to hire a self-driving car, you can only do it in Addis Ababa. Cars with a driver are easier to find. Prices are rather high, but they include insurance, fuel, unlimited mileage and driver’s wage. However, if you plan to drive yourself, keep in mind that many roads still have potholes. Cars drive on the right side of the road here. 

In Ethiopia, they use electric sockets of types C and F, as in Europe. The standard voltage is 220V. 

The predominant climate of Ethiopia is the tropical monsoon, although it depends highly on the region of the country. For example, most of the country are the Ethiopian Highlands, where the climate is cooler than in the other regions.

The tourist industry is not a major sector of country’s economy so far. Its development started in the 1960s, but then it slowed down greatly in the 1980s under the Derg. The recovery began in the 1990s, but the lack of hotels and other tourist infrastructure made the process quite difficult. The regular droughts and political instability also affected the development of tourism in the country. There was a boom, however, in the construction of small and medium-sized hotels and restaurants.  Also, the most fast-growing part of Ethiopian industry is ecotourism, which includes adventure travel, trekking and walking safari.

The country’s vast highlands boast historical treasures for travelers. The line between past and present blurs with thousand-year-old Christian ceremonies, ancient tombs, obelisks of Aksum and 17th-century castles. Adventurous travelers can brave the abyss of its high plateaus with a mountain ranges split between the Great Rift Valley. It has both arid lowlands and lush river-fed valleys. The Danakil Depression is also here. It has one of the lowest and hottest points on the earth.

The major tourist destinations are a collection of national parks, for example, the Semien Mountains National Park. Also, the historic sites, such as the cities of Axum, Lalibela, Gonder, egash Mosque, Sof Umer Washa and Harar Jugol, attract numerous visitors annually.

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August 1, 2016 12:00 am Published by 1 Comment

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