Ethiopia is situated in the Horn of Africa equidistant between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. Its area is 1,112,000 Square Kilometers. Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, and Eritrea bound it. The Ethiopian landscape is dominated by a volcanic plateau with an average altitude of 2000 meters, which decreases towards the country’s boarders on three sides.
Ethiopia is old beyond all imaginings. It’s history goes back to the legendary history of the Queen of Sheba who went to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon from whom she born a child named Menelik the first king of Ethiopia and the founder of the Solomonic Dynasty, 1000 B.C. Ethiopia which received Christianity during the apostles was also one of the first foreign countries to offer sanctuary to the Muslims. For sure Ethiopia is anchored in ancient society. It is the heir of an eminent, marvelous history.
Its societies comprise a mosaic of over 80 Ethnic groups all with their own distinctive cultures and life styles. Ethiopia is truly the cradle of mankind.
It has yielded the oldest evidence of human origins, yet discovered the fossil skeleton of female hominid. Nick named “Lucy” “Dinkinesh” as the Ethiopians prefer to call her (Amharic wonderful) predates all other hominid remains for she was alive more than 3.5 million years ago.
Travel facts, Culture and Custom
Ethiopia has four seasons: Winter, Spring, Autumn, and Summer. Different temperature can be experienced throughout the country. Temperature depends on altitude. Rainy seasons for the north of the country is between June and September while it is during March and April for the south.
Ethiopians have different kinds of national dresses. In the highlands of the country men wear white cotton trousers which are light fitting from knee to ankle with white long “Shemma” thrown over the shoulders. Women wear dresses with full skirts made of white cotton with colored edges.
The three world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam have had their followers from the time they were introduced, among these: Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions.
Amharic is the official language and spoken throughout Ethiopia. English and French are also widely spoken.
The national dish of most Ethiopians is “Injera” flat, soft thin bread made from special grain called “Teff”. It is always served with saucer, which can be made either from meat or vegetable. The local beverages are “Tella” traditional bear brewed from corn or barley, and “Tej” brewed from water and honey, malt yeast.
Physical Features and Wild life
Ethiopia has unique geographical features and fascinating fauna and flora, consisting some of the rarest wild life in the world. It has also been described as the water tower of Africa because of its ever-flowing rivers. Its majestic mountains have been labeled as the roof of Africa.
The usual style of greeting in Ethiopia is hand shaking, while friends and family who have not seen each other for some times will kiss on each cheek.
Travel to and in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines generally provides excellent service and has excellent safety records. Travelers coming to Ethiopia should know one reason for flying Ethiopian Airlines. On the domestic circuit priority is given to those who use Ethiopian Airlines for their international flight.
The best way to experience the variety of scenery that Ethiopia has to offer is travel by road, of course road conditions in Ethiopia are poor. Yet the scenery by road is incomparable.
Travel by rail is possible along the eastern route to Dire Dawa and Djibouti.
Thirty three countries nationalities are allowed to get an entry visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Otherwise, the visa can be obtained from the Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate in the visitor’s country of residence or from the nearest country where there is an Ethiopian Embassy. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
Banks are available throughout the country in major cities and towns. The usual working hours is from 8 am to 4 PM, Monday to Friday and 8 am to 11 am on Saturday.
Telephone, Fax, Internet, e-mail and postal facilities are available in the country. The international dialing code for Ethiopia is 00251.
There is USD 20 departure tax for international flights and 10 Birr embarkation fee at each airport for domestic flight sector.