Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Use High Level of Caution
Avoid Travel to the following states: Somali, Afar, and Gambela Peoples

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and borders Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan and Djibouti. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and was never colonized, except for a time when occupied by Mussolini’s Italy, from 1936 to 1941.

The population of this country is about 93 million. The government is a federal republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government. There are ninety languages spoken, and all languages are equally recognized by the state. English is the main foreign language taught in schools.

The country has been plagued by famine, drought, war and refugee problems.

Famines and drought led to a border war with Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. However, due to lack of adequate border demarcation, a full-scale and devastating war occurred in the late 1990s. Ethiopia still does not accept the borders and troops still occupy this area. The country is beginning to recover and has had rapid economic growth in recent years, although it remains one of Africa’s poorest states.

Due to uncertain personal security situations, some countries recommend avoiding travel to border areas with Kenya, Somalia (including the Ogaden area), Sudan and South Sudan (including the Gambella Region), and Eritrea (including the Danakil Desert.

Currency ETB: Birr
Language Amharic is the official working language of the federal government
Capital Addis Ababa
Recent Alerts 6
Latest Alert December 10, 2019 - Police Deployed to Ethiopian Universities

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Ethiopia. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Ethiopia through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Ethiopia.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Ethiopia, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Chikungunya Fever

Outbreaks of chikungunya fever may occur.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur.

Malaria

All areas of Ethiopia below 2,000 metres are at moderate risk for malaria, except Addis Ababa where there is no risk.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks may occur in Ethiopia. The risk to travellers is low unless living or working in poor sanitary conditions, drinking untreated water or eating poorly cooked or raw seafood in this country.

Sleeping Sickness (Type 2)

African Trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness") may occur in Ethiopia. Recently, the absence of any reports of this disease suggest that the risk to travellers is very low. Urban areas are not at risk.

Meningitis

Meningitis outbreaks may occur in Ethiopia. Travellers who visit during the dry season (December to June) or expect to have prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Ethiopia. Travellers to Ethiopia are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Yellow Fever

There is a low risk of yellow fever transmission in some areas of the country. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months or over, except for travellers whose itineraries are limited to the Afar and Somali provinces.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

African Tick Bite Fever

This disease may occur in the country.

Zika Fever

There is a risk of Zika virus in Ethiopia. The mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus are unlikely to be found above 2,000 meters altitude.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Ethiopia.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Meningitis Vaccine

Because this country is located in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, vaccination against meningitis is recommended if travelling during the dry season (December to June).

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months or over, except for travellers whose itineraries are limited to the Afar and Somali provinces.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Ethiopia.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malarial medication is recommended for all travellers going to any area of Ethiopia, except for the city of Addis Ababa. Recommended medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Ethiopia

Emergency Numbers

991
907
939
011-111-0111 Addis Ababa police
011-551-8000 Ethiopian Federal police

Personal Safety

The crime level is moderate overall, although violent attacks against foreigners have been reported, including areas near hotels and Bole Road. Petty crime is common in crowded areas, particularly by groups of children. Displaying expensive jewelry, clothing, etc., will make you a target for theft.

Pay careful attention to personal security on days leading up to special events, special national or religious days, or international meetings.

If driving, keep doors locked and windows up, and keep valuables out of sight as there have been reports of carjacking and banditry on roads and highways. Traffic can be unpredictable and drivers often do not follow the rules of the road. Traffic accidents are frequent. It is not advisable to travel to Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan over land due to landmines and the risk of armed robbery and carjacking. Avoid taking public transportation as it is often overcrowded and unsafe.

Possession of illicit drugs is illegal, except for khat. It is also illegal to own ivory (including ivory jewelry).

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Ethiopia.

Travellers should take note of whether they will be travelling during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During this time, respect the religious practices of the country and avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. Always dress conservatively to respect local customs.

It is illegal to photograph government buildings, military or police installations, or any industrial area or infrastructure, such as roads or bridges, etc.

Frequent power outages, fuel shortages, and poor cellular coverage may present risks to the traveller.

Time conventions in Ethiopia differ from most countries in the world. The start of the day is at dawn, not midnight.

Like many regions in Eastern Africa, Ethiopia faces severe drought which may impact local food and water supplies. The rainy season (June-September) may cause severe flooding and may make land travel impossible. Ethiopia is in an active seismic zone.

Areas To Avoid

Do not travel to the Somali region due to high risk of insurgency-related violent attacks and kidnapping.

Do not travel to the border with Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea or Kenya, and the Gambela People's region due to high risk of intertribal violence, military disputes and armed conflict. The borders may close unexpectedly.

Do not travel to the Danakil Desert and Erta Ale volcano due to the high risk of kidnapping and the presence of landmines in untravelled areas.

Extreme Violence

The government of Ethiopia has had recent evidence that extremist groups plan attacks or kidnappings in Ethiopia, including in Addis Ababa.

There continue to be reports of threats against public places where people may gather, tourist areas, shopping areas, transportation, markets, or government buildings or embassies.

Exercise extreme caution in the Somali, Afar, Gambela People's and Oromo regions.

Political Unrest

Avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations as they can quickly turn violent.

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