AREA 1,098,000 square kilometres
POPULATION 75 million
CAPITAL Addis Ababa
LANGUAGE Amharic is the official language, although there are over 80 languages
TIME (+/- GMT) 3 hours ahead of GMT
PhotoHOSPITALS/PHARMACIES There are hospitals and pharmacies situated in the largest towns, but try to anticipate your needs and take medicines with you, as facilities are poor, and some items are unavailable.
bank opening hours Monday to Thursday 08.00–11.00am and 13.00–16.00 Fridays from 08.00 – 11.30 and 13.30 – 16.00
post office hours Monday to Friday 08.00–12.00 and 13.00 – 16.00 Saturday from 08.00 - 12.00
ELECTRICITY 220v 50Hz, bring your own two-pin adaptor. Power surges and power cuts are common. A small head torch is useful.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 7st January – Genna (X-Mas), 19th January – Timqet (Epiphany), 2nd March – Adwa Victory Day, 1st May – Labour Day, 28th May – Downfall of Dergue, 21 August – Buhe (Bread), 11 September – New Year, 27th September – Maskal. Ethiopia has a different calendar. Variable holidays include Good Friday, Easter, Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) andEid al-Adaha (Arafa).
TELEPHONE The international dialling code for Ethiopia is 00 251. Telephones are available in most towns and hotels. Please check with your mobile phone provider if your network & contract enable you to have coverage in Ethiopia.
fax/email Most companies and tourist hotels have fax machines, and E-mail is common in Addis Ababa, but connections are poor, and patience is required. postal The postal service is good.
CURRENCY Ethiopian Birr (ETB) divided into 100 cents. As of May 2007, GBP£1 = 16.8 Birr currency regulation The Ethiopian Birr is a soft currency and you cannot obtain Birr from your country. All exchange transactions should be undertaken with banks, including branches, which may be found at major tourist hotels and at the airport in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Birr cannot be exported, therefore should be reconverted.
EXCHANGE There are limited opportunities to exchange foreign currency outside the major cities. On arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa, there is a foreign exchange bureau where you can change cash or travellers’ cheques at the prevailing free market exchange rate.
TRAVELERS CHEQUE We recommend travellers cheques in US dollar as this is most widely accepted. You will also need some cash as US$20 is required to pay departure tax at the airport.
TIPPING A good supply of Birr 1 notes helps with tipping, whilst it is common to give small coins to beggars.

PASSPORT/VISA You will need a passport and a single entry tourist visa.
GIFTS AND SOUVENIERS Jewellery, carvings, handicrafts and colourful cloths are plentiful in Ethiopia.
Photo CLIMATE Ethiopia’s widely varying geography accounts for its variety of climatic conditions, but the trek is in the northwest highlands. The climate in the highland plateau is temperate. There are minimal temperature changes throughout the year. Daytime temperatures are around 20c-25c. At night, temperatures drop considerably, and may even reach below zero. The long rains are from June to mid-September with the irregular small rains in the spring.
GEOGRAPHY A land of mountains and lakes, valleys, canyons, rivers and savannahs, dissected by the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia is about twice the size of France. The Highland Plateau extends over most of the north and central areas of the country. The Simien Mountains rise to more than 4000m (13120ft) above sea level. The Lowlands cover the southern areas, and also the east and northeast, including areas of the Danakil Depression below sea level.
CULTURE/CUSTOMS The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is perhaps the dominant cultural influence in the highlands.The Muslim population is also strong, but more so in the eastern regions. As a result, it is advisable to dress in a conservative fashion, and to remove shoes before entering churches and mosques.
DO'S AND DONOT'S · Do try not to waste water. Remember that the Simien Mountains National Park is primarily a wildlife sanctuary, but also supports a number of villages.
· Don’t export any endangered species or associated products such as ivory or leopard skins, it is illegal.
· Don’t export antiques without an official certificate.

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