Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. It is a Semitic language that is similar to Arabic and Hebrew. English is the principal foreign language that is taught in schools so most of the younger population (under 40) can understand and speak some English.


The official currency is the Ethiopian birr (ETB). Banknotes come in values of 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 birr. Big cities have ATMs and remittance offices for easy cash transfer. Traveler’s checks are also accepted almost everywhere. Credit cards are not very widely used, except in large establishments like hotels and the airport. Currency exchange facilities are available in major towns.


GMT + 3:00


Ethiopia uses 220V AC, 50Hz as a standard voltage rate so bring necessary adapters and converters for incompatible gadgets or appliances.


The country code for Ethiopia is +251, followed by a one- or two-digit city code and the phone number you wish to dial. Mobile phones have decent network coverage in big cities like Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Harar, Mekele, Dire Dawa, etc., and services are expanding to smaller and more remote regions. It is a must to have a cell phone with you while traveling in case of emergencies. Unlocked SIM cards and phone rental is possible, but relatively more expensive than just buying a local SIM card. To obtain one, you will have to present a copy of your passport and a photo ID to the seller, and will be asked to sign a waiver stating you won’t commit any crimes using the phone. Calling cards are available for purchase at many local stores, but It is better to rent or buy a SIM card for short visits instead of relying on your roaming network , as charges are very steep. Internet cafés abound in the main cities, but connections are significantly more reliable in Addis Ababa.


There is a duty free shop in Bole International Airport selling typical items like clothing, spirits and fragrances. You are allowed to bring 100 cigarettes, 227 g of tobacco or 50 cigars tax-free Customs also permits up to one liter of alcoholic beverages, Br 500 worth of gifts, and two bottles or 500 mL of perfume to be brought in the country.

Tourist Office

Ethiopian Tourist Board:

Consulates in Ethiopia

US Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-550-666
Canadian Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-371-3022
Spanish Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-550-222
Swiss Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-711-107
Swedish Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-518-0000
Russian Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-612-060
Portuguese Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-552-6899
Italian Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-235-717
French Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-140-000
Djibouti Consulate, Addis Ababa: +251-1-613-200


Police: 997 or 991 on Addis Ababa