The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. The Ethiopian Highlands cover most of the country and have 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 m (6,562–8,202 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum.
The modern capital Addis Ababa is situated on the foothills of Mount Entoto at an elevation of around 2,400 m (7,874 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 October–February, a light rainy season from March–May, and a heavy rainy season from June–September. The average annual rainfall is around 1,200 mm (47.2 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 (60.8°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).
Most major cities and tourist sites in Ethiopia lie at a similar elevation to Addis Ababa and have a comparable climate. In less elevated regions, particularly the lower lying Ethiopian xeric grasslands andshrublands in the east of the country, the climate can be significantly hotter and drier. Dallol, in the Danakil Depression in this eastern zone, has the world's highest average annual temperature of 34°C (93.2°F).
Pack light clothes for the daytime and jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking-path ways around historic sites is usually uneven and stony.
In hotels you should unse your own light-sleeping-bag, because from time to time the used bedclothes are not changed. If you travel to the mountains use a 3-seasons-sleeping-bag (+/- 0°C).
Tourist visa, can be issued for three months on arrival at Bole International Airport for nationals and residents of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Democratic people's Republic of Korea (northern Korea), Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (south Korea), the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.
NOTE: Eritreans and foreign nationals of Eritrean Origin shall not be issued a visa on Arrival. They must obtain an entry visa prior to their departure to Ethiopia.
Arrival by plane
Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most successful and reputable airlines in Africa. 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 Africa, opened in 2003.
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 be exchanged at the airport.
Changing cash, travellers cheques and ATM
Any commercial bank in Ethiopia can change cash and travellers cheques. The rates are the same everywhere. There are dozens of commercial banks 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. U.S. dollars, euros, or British pounds are the best currencies to carry.
In every bigger town you'll find ATM. If you need cash, ask us on our trip and we'll find the next ATM for you.
- We recommend the using of VISA-Cards. It's the most saved variation, to take your money with you.
- 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.
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, eg, Korean, Hayat, St Gabriels.
Do not drink tap water. Bottled water for drinking is available almost everywhere in small, medium and big bottles. Addis tap water is better than in many other cities, but even there hotels generally recommend guests not to drink it, nor to eat salads and uncooked foodstuffs that are commonly washed in tap water. 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.