Land :- Ethiopia, as large as France and Spain combined, has an area of 1,112,000 square kilometres. About 65 percent of the land is arable, with 15 percent presently cultivated. From the north and running down the centre are the Abyssinian highlands, to the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east to the deserts of the Afar. South of Addis Ababa the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes. The main rivers are the Blue Nile, the Tekezze, the Awash, the Wabe Shabele, the Omo, and the Baro.
Population :- The current population is about 70 million, making it the third most populated country in Africa.
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September. Temperatures are determined by altitude, with highlands (including Addis Ababa) rarely exceeding 25º C. In the lowlands it can get considerably hotter exceeding 40ºC, while in the Danakil Depression it can approach 60ºC.
Ethiopia is generally a safe country, and Addis Ababa a safe capital city, but one should still take the normal precautions, avoiding unfamiliar areas at night and not carrying large sums of money in accessible pockets. It is advisable to beware of pickpockets operating in certain areas, skilled atidentifying new arrivals, other than that violent robbery and muggings are rare and generally visitors can tour the city day and night in safety.
Roads : There are some 4,100 kilometres of asphalt roads with a further 19,000 kilometers of gravel and dry-weather roads.
Air : Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic network flying to 43 airfields and an additional 21 landing strips.
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. The main three languages are Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromigna. English is also widely spoken.
Excursions within Ethiopia, whether for a day or for a month, may be organized for you by any of the travel agencies or by the National Tour Operation.
Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious Sheraton and Hilton hotels to the tourist-class hotels such as the Ghion, The Ethiopia and the Wabi Shebelle. All tourist resorts offer a choice of Modern hotels.
Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia and can be obtained from Ethiopian diplomatic missions abroad. Except nationals of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. Passengers transiting Ethiopia within 72 hours only for connection purpose, holding confirmed onward booking and entry visa on arrival.
The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, providing declaration of such currency is made to Customs on arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors, however, will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have Ethiopian Birr cash in at the airport, you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions. Credit card acceptance is now growing throughout the country but not yet in all main cities.
All visitors should declare electronic goods, and mobile apparatus. They will be required to show the declaration paper upon departure, in order for them to take back their equipment’s.
Duty-free import is permitted up to:
a) 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or ½ lb of tobacco
b) 1 litre of alcoholic beverages
c) ½litre, or two bottles, of perfumes.
Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding E. Birr 500, although some
Articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia.
Malaria: lower lying areas of Addis Ababa (around 2000 meters) are now said to be potentially malarial, but essentially the city is malaria free, although non-malarial mosquitoes can be nuisance in some areas at night. For traveling outside Addis Ababa it is advisable to consult travel agencies on malarial protection for specific areas. Also it is always good to take a simple first aid pack. In most of the larger towns there are now private clinics, but these and local pharmacies may be short of drugs and medical supplies. In Addis Ababa there is range of private hospitals and clinics.
Altitude sickness: Addis Ababa lying between 2200-2500 meters above sea level is the third highest capital in the world, and new visitors may experience discomfort until they adjust to the altitude – symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue and insomnia.