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Before traveling, please ensure that you have a current passport, with an accurate photo, that is valid for at least six months after your scheduled return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport. 

Visa Requirement
Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia (with the exception of nationals of Djibouti and Kenya) and are readily available from Ethiopian diplomatic missions abroad. Except in the case of a few nationals, passengers in transit in Ethiopia, holding confirmed onward bookings within 72 hours, can obtain transit visas on arrival. However, in this case, passports are held at the airport until departure and a pink colored receipt card will be issued. Nationals from the following countries can obtain visas on arrival; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Quiet, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, S. Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.  Note that Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities. Please ensure that you check with the embassy or relevant consular authority or get your agent to confirm requirements before travel.

How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.

What to wear
While clothing will depend on the time of the year, it is best to remember that Ethiopians are fairly conservative in their dress, suits and ties being standard in offices. Tourists should take light, summer clothes for the daytime and something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or Jacket. The temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset.  Simien or Bale mountain trekkers should bring warm clothes and waterproofs for un seasonal rains. (For the Simiens, 3-4 season sleeping bags are necessary).  As notes above, although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.  For the same reason, people sensitive to the sun should take sunglasses, a hat, or prepare to buy one here.  For walking around the historic sites or in the countryside, light but strong walking shoes are recommended.  Sandals will not provide protection against stones or thorns - most Ethiopians living in the countryside wear sandals or go barefoot but then they have hardened and tougher feet. There are small rains in March and April and the main rains are from June to September - unless you are coming during the main rains, or are trekking in the Simien or Bale Mountains, it is not necessary to bring rain wear.

Health precautions

Ethiopia requires all visitors to have an up to date Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Generally, for their own protection, visitors should be immunized or "topped up" against hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio.  Malaria-visitors to the Historic Route (Axum, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lalibela) need not worry about malaria, but should bring insect repellent cream, gel or spray for mosquitoes.  For other, lower altitude areas, chloroquine resistant strains of malaria have been identified so visitors should take both chloroquine and paludrine-ask your doctor for a prescription. For visitors sensitive to insect bites, it is advisable to bring antihistamine cream or tablets.  Some old buildings on the Historic Route and some old churches are prone to flea infestation.  It is worth carrying some antiseptic cream, for minor cuts.  Anti-diarrhea tablets (Imodium or Lomatil) should be carried as a precautionary measure-if you do have a stomach upset, it might be some distance to the nearest toilet and either of these tablets is guaranteed to cement you up. (These only address the symptoms rather than what caused them, so for anything more serious there are government hospitals in most areas of tourist interest).
The temperatures in the highlands (on the Historic Route) are moderate, rarely exceeding 30 degrees C even at the hottest times of the year.  However, the sun is strong and visitors coming from cooler climates should get a high protection grade (15) UV barrier cream, particularly for the face.  For the arms and legs, a lower protection grade would be sufficient. With the dry weather, lip salves are recommended.  For visitors who make the boat trip on Lake Tana, or even some of the longer mule trips around Axum or Lalibela, hats should be worn. Generally daypack, warm jacket, good walking boots, sunhat, sunglasses, suncream and torch are essential. In the last 10 years, there has been a rapid growth in the number of reported cases of AIDS, so visitors should take the necessary precautions in the event of planned or unplanned sexual adventures. All visitors are advised to take out standard holiday insurance covering health emergencies in their country of origin.

Despite years of wars and brutal massacres carried out by the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa.  Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception.  Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places.  Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.  In Addis Ababa, such incidents as do occur tend to happen in the city center, in a circle linking the Ghion, Ethiopia and Ras Hotels.

Traditional courtesies

Recognition of traditional courtesies is important when visiting another country. While Ethiopians are well aware of the form in other countries, they tend to be conservative at home.

Clothing: Whether Christian or Muslim, most Ethiopians tend to dress modestly so short shorts and skimpy tops should be eschewed, for either sex, unless of course one is at the beach, on the lakes or at a swimming resort.  Shorts and tank tops would strike most Ethiopians as underwear, and while it is unlikely that any one would say anything (what ever he or she might be thinking to them), attempting to go into any religious site "underdressed" would cause offense.  Before entering a church or mosque, visitors should remove their shoes.

Greetings: Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek.  (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.

Photos: Visitors should be sensitive about intrusive photography, people should be asked for permission before their photographs are taken.  Generally, there will not be any objection but in some areas, particularly among nomads, among Afar and in the Omo Valley, people will often ask for money. Photography in churches is allowed, but in many areas of tourist interest, particularly in the north, there is a charge for video photography.  (This also applies to the Blue Nile Falls.) As elsewhere, there are laws and regulations about taking photographs in sensitive areas like airports and around military camps.

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