- Time & Calendar
Ethiopia uses the Julian Calendar so it is 7 years behind the Gregorian. There are 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month of 5 or 6 days in a Leap Year. East African time (EAT) is 3 hours ahead of GMT and Ethiopian time is 6 hours different from EAT.
- Health & Medical
The standard of the healthcare system in Ethiopia is generally below standards set in Western countries. There are lots of Hospitals in Addis Ababa (mostly private) and there are regional hospitals in larger towns (like Bahir Dar) and clinics in the countryside. We recommend to all our clients that they have full travel insurance including full repatriation cover as well as taking sensible precautions such as anti malarial medication and carrying a first aid kit.
Make sure you have a passport valid for at least 6 months. All visitors require a Visa to Ethiopia. EU, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, China, Japan, Korea, Israel, Russia citizens can get a Visa for up to 3 months on arrival at Bole Airport (Addis Ababa) for USD20. Other passport holders need to apply in advance to an Ethiopian Embassy.
Major Towns and cities have branches of Dashen or Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. There are currently a limited number of ATMs in Addis Ababa only.
There are internet cafes in Towns and Cities. Even when it is described as broadband it will still be relatively slow. There are telecommunication centres in most towns. Whereas the officially forbidden VOIP services provide the cheapest service. The cell phone network is often overloaded. Your countries SIM may work here (at much higher rates). It is possible to get a local SIM card but it can be difficult. The Postal service is very good. Ethiopian Airlines flies to all the major centres.
- Hotels & Food
In general tourist class hotels are only in the major centres. As a general rule hotels in Addis are up everything from very basic to 5 star, out of Addis everything from very basic up to 2 or 3 star.
Much of Ethiopia can be chilly at night so bring something for the evenings. Otherwise clothes suitable for equatorial travel.