Ethiopia Travel Overview

Ethiopia Travel Overview

At a glance

Capital: Addis Ababa

Official language: Amharic

Currency: Birr

Continent: East Africa

The home of coffee, the origin of the Nile

The history of Ethiopia dates back over 2000 years to ancient times. A military coup in the 1970s brought repression and great famine to the state. In the last few years this old country has experienced a new upswing. In terms of tourism, it not only impresses with its long history and culture, but also with scenic attractions such as the highlands which are the home of coffee.

History of Ethiopia

According to Countryaah, Ethiopia is described as an independent kingdom in ancient scriptures such as Greek mythology and the Bible. It borders Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti and has no access to the sea. International shipping runs through the port of Djibouti. Until the military coup in the 1970s, it was considered the longest continuously existing state. In the list of the oldest nations in the world, it ranks in the top 10 next to China, Egypt, Greece and the Lebanon.

Historically, it should also be mentioned that it is the only country in Africa that has never been under colonial rule, with the exception of the occupation of Italy which was fascist during World War II. In addition to this special political position, it is also the only Christian country in the region.

Climatic and landscape contrasts

Climatically, the country is mainly shaped by its altitude differences. The capital Addis Ababa lies at 2,400 meters above sea level and is relatively cool in winter, while the lower-lying areas in the south-east are more dominated by the tropical climate. Ethiopia lies in the great African rift valley that stretches south-east to Somalia. Ethiopia’s geology is shaped by its contrasts, which is why it is especially interesting for nature-loving travelers. 50% of the country is over 1,200 meters, 5% even over 3,500 meters, which makes it the highest country on the continent next to Lesotho.

Definitely worth seeing

Famous sights are the rock church Bet Gyiorgis in Lalibela, the Simien Mountains National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is suitable for hiking tours.

Did you know that the Nile has its source in Ethiopia? Ancient texts tell of the origin of the Nile, actually from the Blue Nile in Abyssinia, more precisely 17 kilometers from the city of Gonder, it flows from the highlands into Lake Tana and from there on to Sudan.


Traveling has a long tradition in Ethiopia, which is why there are hotels everywhere in Ethiopia. Larger cities are all served by the Ethiopia Airlines. Ethiopia has got a bit of getting used to for Europeans. New Year is celebrated in the country on September 11th and the calendar does not start at midnight at 00:00 but at 06:00 our calendar.

Important facts

Capital: Addis Ababa

Official language: Amharic


Currency (sub-unit)

Birr (100 cents)

ISO 4217 code

ETB / 230


Continent: Africa

Region: east

Geo coordinates: N 9 ° 8 ’42 ” E 40 ° 29′ 22.8″

Highest mountain: Ras Dashen Terera (4,620 m)

Total area: 1,127,127 km²

Mainland: 1,119,683 km²

National border: 5,311 km


Dependency: independent since foundation

Formerly dependent states: Eritrea until 1993

UN member since: 1945

Other political affiliation: African Union

Form of government: Socialist republic


Ethiopia GDP - gross domestic product

Export goods: Coffee, skins, vegetables

BSP: $ 12,686,000,000

GDP: $ 13,474,100,000

GDP purchasing power parity: $ 67.810 billion

Economic growth: 9.2%

GDP share of agriculture: 46.4%

GDP share of industry: 10.2%

GDP share of services: 43.4%

Inflation rate: 10.2%

State budget revenue: $ 26.9 billion

State budget expenditure: $ 3.24 billion

Export: $ 647,000,000

Import: $ 3,010,000,000

Foreign debt: $ 5,723,000,000

Gold and currency reserves: $ 1,534,000,000

Electricity consumption: 2,142 million KWh

Gas reserves: 24,920 million m³

Oil consumption: 36,000 million m³

Cultivation area: 10.51%

Bovine: 37,500,000 pieces

Sheep: 10,760,000 pieces

Fishing: 16,300 t

Demographic data

Residents: 74,778,000

Residents in cities: 11,760,000

Average age: 17.8 years

0-14 years: 43.7%

15-64 years: 53.6%

> 65 years: 2.7%

Population growth: 2.31%

Birth rate: 38.61 / 1,000 residents

Death rate: 14.86 / 1,000 residents

Ratio men / women: 1

Fertility: 5.22 children / woman

Infant mortality: 93.62 ‰

Life expectancy men: 47.86 years

Life expectancy women: 50.24 years

Country codes and abbreviations

ISO 3166 Alpha 2: ET

ISO 3166 Alpha 3: ETH

ISO 3166 numeric: 231

Top Level Domain: et

IOC country code: ETH


Source: Abbreviationfinder


Telephone connections: 575,000

Cell Phones: 276,000

Radios: 16,700,000

TV: 560,000

Computer: 460,000

Internet users: 330,000


Railway lines: 681 km

Paved roads: 4,963 km

Cars: 69,000

Merchant fleet (ships over 1,000 GRT): 8th


Number of doctors: 2,050

Daily food intake: 1,880 kcal / resident

HIV- infected people: 1,720,000


Illiteracy: 53%


Foundation: 2000 BC Chr.

Last sovereign since: 2000 BC Chr.


Main religious group: Muslims


Prison inmates: 67,600


Armed forces (troop strength): 150,000

Main battle tank: 290

Warplanes: 50

Helicopter: 5

Defense Spending: $ 267.8 million


Arriving by plane

The national airline is Ethiopian Airlines (ET) (Internet:, which operates daily non-stop from Frankfurt, from Vienna and Zurich partly in cooperation with Lufthansa (LH), Austrian Airlines (OS) and Swiss (LX) flies to Addis Ababa.

Departure fee

US $ 20 excluding transit passengers who do not leave the airport.

Arrival by car

The main route goes through Kenya. There is an all-weather road from Moyale on the border via Yabelo, Dila and Yirga to Addis Ababa.

The following border crossings are open:
Moyale (Kenya),
Dewale / Galafi (from Djibouti) and
Humera / Metema (from Sudan).
The border area to Eritrea is currently a restricted military area and not passable. Travelers should inquire about the passability of the other border crossings at the embassy in advance (see addresses).

The route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi is part of the Trans-East African Highway.

Arriving by train

The 785 km long railway line between Addis Ababa and Djibouti is operated by the governments of both countries. The trains are slow, crowded and usually delayed.

Arrival by ship

Since the independence of Eritrea, Ethiopia has been a landlocked country. However, there are regular connections between European ports and Massawa and Assab in Eritrea.