Overland Journeys: Nile and Rift Valleys

LalibelaAxumSimien MountainsGonderBlue Nile Falls / Tississat FallsLake Tana MonasteriesHararAwash National Park

Ethiopia is one of the great destinations in world travel with a wealth of attractions but well off the tourist trail. Its image in the west may be blighted by drought and famine but this masks a fascinating country, the only African state never to be fully colonised and a country with a unique culture. Ethiopia has a historical heritage unparalleled in sub-Saharan Africa, most notably in the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, stunning scenery and great trekking in the Simien Mountains, one of the most diverse and colourful tribal cultures in Africa and some absorbing religious destinations such as the Muslim city of Harar and the Orthodox monasteries of Lake Tana. Some day this country will be overrun with tourists – get there before this happens. Explore in depth highlights of Ethiopia.

Travel Information for Ethiopia
Time zone:GMT +3 (Eastern Africa time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Amharic, Oromigna
Other languages:Guragigna, Hadiyigna, Sidaminga, Somaligna, Tigrinya
Currency: birr (ETB)

1 = Br25.01, $1 = Br22.42, £1 = Br29.81

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.etInternational Dialling Code:    251

For help planning your trip to Ethiopia including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Ethiopia trip planning page.

Further information on Ethiopia

Discover more about Ethiopia - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of ethiopia

Total area: 1,127,127 sq km (7,444 sq km under water)

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Neighbours (border lengths): Djibouti (349km), Eritrea (912km), Kenya (861km), Somalia (1,600km), Sudan (769km), South Sudan (837km)

Climate: Tropical monsoon climate with huge variation due to elevation - cool highlands and hot semi-desert lowlands. Rainy season usually between mid-June and mid-September, preceeded by intermittent showers from March. The months following the rainy season are the best time to visit.

Highest mountain: Ras Dejen (4,533m) - Climb this mountain!

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Ethiopia from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldNot Free -
Democracy IndexAuthoritarian regime 124/167
Economic FreedomMostly Unfree 149/179
Press FreedomDifficult situation 140/179
ILGA LGBT rightsNo rights -
Corruption PerceptionsMedium corruption 110/174
Overall Ranking:    167/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)     Status: Independent Country

Population: 96,633,458 (rank: 13/196)     Density: 85.7 people/sq km (rank: 93/196)

Ethnic groups: Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4% (1994 census)

Religions: Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8% (1994 census)

GDP (PPP): $118.2 billion       GDP per capita: $1,300 (rank: 179/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.