Fire and rescue services
Call 991 or go to the hospital.
Call 991 or go to the local police station.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Ethiopia overall.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Ethiopia overall, due to possible civil unrest, threat of terrorist attack and violence. Be vigilant at all times.
Do not travel to border areas with Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia or the Gambela and Somali region.
Do not travel to border areas with Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia or the Gambela and Somali region due to the high risk of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violence and landmines.
Reconsider your need to travel to the Danakil desert in Afar, and the Guji and Borena districts of Oromia.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
Protests and events that draw large crowds can turn violent. Expect heightened security measures and disruption to services.
Terrorists have reportedly been planning attacks in Ethiopia. Possible targets include hotels, markets, places of worship, government buildings, transport hubs and aircraft. Be alert when near possible targets and on days of national significance. Take official warnings seriously.
The risk of kidnapping is high in the Somali region and near the borders with South Sudan and Kenya. Despite our advice, if you're travelling to an area where there's a threat of kidnapping, get professional security advice.
Violent assaults can accur and foreigners are often targets. Be aware in areas around the Hilton and Sheraton hotels, Entoto and the Bole Road. Don't walk alone or at night.
Highway robberies and armed carjackings have occurred outside the main urban centres. Keep your doors and windows locked, even when moving. Keep valuables out of sight.
Ethiopia can experience extreme weather. Parts of the country are in severe drought, leading to food and water shortages. In the rainy season (July to September), flooding can cut off roads. Monitor local media and follow official advice.
Full travel advice: Safety
Yellow fever is widespread in Ethiopia. Get vaccinated before you travel. Malaria is present everywhere in Ethiopia except Addis Ababa and areas above 2000m. Consider taking anti-malarial medication.
HIV/AIDS is widespread. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
Ethiopia's polio outbreak has ended. However, the disease may still come in from nearby countries. Check your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
Parts of Ethiopia are at high altitudes. Altitude sickness can affect anyone, even healthy people. If you get severe altitude sickness, get to lower ground as soon as possible.
Health facilities are limited in Addis Ababa. In rural areas, facilities are inadequate. If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation out of the country. Ensure your health insurance covers this.
Full travel advice: Health
Ethiopian family and business law can be quite different from Australia. Get professional advice if you're involved in business or family law matters.
If you're in a road accident, don't move your vehicle before a police officer arrives. It's illegal to do so.
Understand and follow local laws. It's illegal to buy or remove cultural artefacts without a permit, or export certain amounts of precious stones. It's also illegal to own ivory or to interact with beggars or vendors in traffic.
Be careful when taking photos. It's illegal to photograph the Presidential Palace, and military sites and personnel.
Same-sex sexual acts are illegal. Ethiopia also has conservative dress and behaviour standards.
Parts of Ethiopia use different calendars and time measurements. To avoid confusion, always check bookings and appointments.
Full travel advice: Local laws
If you enter the country at Bole International Airport, you can get a visitor visa on arrival. If you're arriving elsewhere or you're not a tourist, get a visa before you travel. USD or Euros are required. Contact the Embassy of Ethiopia for details.
All travellers are screened for Ebola virus on entry. If you have a high temperature, you may be quarantined.
Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may need to show it to enter and leave the country.
The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB). You can exchange US dollars at the international airport, major banks and hotels. Major banks will change traveller's cheques. ATMs issue small amounts of local currency, not many places accept credit cards. Have multiple ways to access money.
Landmines are a hazard in the border areas with Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia. If you travel near these borders despite our advice, stick to well-travelled roads.
Full travel advice: Travel
Due to ongoing civil unrest in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia, including Hawassa/Awasa, expect:
Heightened security measures and restriction on movements
Disruptions to internet and phone services.
Monitor the media for updates.
Follow the advice of local and federal authorities.
Security conditions can change fast and without warning.
International events and political changes can trigger demonstrations. Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Ethiopian security forces aren't widespread in the country. They may not be able to respond to incidents.
Travelling to the Danakil desert in north-east Ethiopia is hazardous.
In December 2017, a tourist was shot and killed, and an Ethiopian guide was shot and wounded, at Erta Ale in the Afar region. There's now an increased police and military presence there.
Only travel to this area with a well-known tour company. Tour companies often get support from armed police or the military.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Large crowds are common on key national and religious dates. These include:
7 January (Ethiopian Christmas)
19 January (Epiphany, also called 'Timket')
2 March (Victory of Adawa)
5 May (Ethiopian Patriots' Victory Day)
28 May (Downfall of the Derg)
11-12 September (Ethiopian New Year)
27 September (The Finding of the True Cross, also called 'Meskel')
Large crowds also gather on:
Eid (end of Ramadan)
Eid al Adha
the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed
Monitor local media for news of planned and possible unrest.
During periods of unrest:
avoid protests, demonstrations and other large crowds
if you come across violence, find a secure place to stay until it's safe to leave
follow advice of local authorities
Don't travel to areas bordering Kenya.
There are armed groups. Cross-border violence happens along the border. Violent crime includes:
Don't travel to the Somali region. This includes the border with Somalia and Oromia.
Violent clashes between government forces and insurgents are common in this border region. Ethiopian troops are in Somalia. Tensions are high.
Firearm, grenade and landmine attacks on security forces are common. Civilians have been killed and injured.
The threat of terrorist attack, including kidnapping, is particularly high.
Serious armed clashes have occurred in the past year along the border between the Somali and Oromia regions, including Jijiga in Ethiopia.
Don't travel to the areas bordering Sudan and South Sudan. This includes the Gambela region.
The security situation in these areas is extremely unstable. There's a high threat of violent crime and civil unrest from armed groups and tribal clashes. The risk of bandit attacks and kidnapping is high.
The area also has landmines.
In April 2016, members of South Sudan's Murle community attacked the Gambela region, killing 200 people.
Don't travel to the disputed border area between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Ethiopian forces withdrew from the border area in June 2018. However, the situation is still unstable. The area is heavy with landmines.
Cross-border conflict or other violence could start again at any time.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide. Reports say terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets in Ethiopia. These include commercial and public places that foreigners visit.
Terrorists may use events such as international meetings or days of national or religious significance to mount attacks. An attack could happen at any time.
Possible targets for terror attacks include:
clubs, hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars
schools, places of worship, embassies and government buildings
landmarks, tourist areas, markets and marketplaces, shopping centres and malls
political and sporting events
outdoor recreation events and public gatherings, including large religious festivals and concerts
Terrorists also target transport including:
aircraft and airports
buses and bus terminals
railways and other transport infrastructure
Some local hotels, have received bomb threats in the past.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
consider the kinds of public places known to be terrorist targets
have an exit plan if there's a security incident
be alert in the lead up to, and on days of, national or religious significance
monitor the news for any emerging threats
take official warnings seriously
follow instructions from local authorities
If there's an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it's safe to.
The threat of kidnapping is particularly high in the Somali region. Kidnapping is also a risk near the Kenyan and South Sudanese borders.
Despite our advice, if you're travelling to an area where there's a threat of kidnapping:
get professional security advice
arrange for personal security
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Unprovoked violent assault occurs, including in popular tourist areas in Addis Ababa. Avoid walking alone at night.
If you're a victim of violent crime, especially rape, visit a doctor as soon as possible as HIV/AIDS is widespread.
Keep an eye on local information sources about crime.
Petty crime is common and includes:
Petty crimes often take place in crowded areas such as:
the Mercato open air market
tourist spots icluding Piazza and Meskel square
These crimes are often carried out by groups of children. Some robbery victims have been assaulted.
Always pay close attention to your belongings.
Highway robberies and armed carjackings have been reported outside the main urban centres.
Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
Don’t leave valuables on show in your car.
If a natural disaster occurs:
keep your passport in a safe, waterproof place
monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
follow the advice of local authorities
keep in contact with friends and family
Some areas of Ethiopia are experiencing severe drought. Local services may be affected. Drinking water and basic food may be hard to find. An increase in disease has been reported.
Flooding may occur in the rainy season from July to September. Some roads can't be used.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Ethiopia. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor saying:
what the medications are
how much you take
that it's for personal use
Yellow fever is widespread in Ethiopia. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel.
Malaria is found in Ethiopia except for the capital Addis Ababa and areas above 2000m. Chloroquine-resistant strains are reported in some areas.
Other insect-borne diseases include:
To protect yourself from disease:
ensure your accommodation is insect-proof
use insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Consider taking medication to prevent chloroquine-resistant malaria.
Get medical advice if you develop a fever, muscle pain, rash or bad headache.
HIV/AIDS is widespread. Take precautions if taking part in activities that put you at risk of infection.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are also common. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and other waterborne diseases are spread through freshwater lakes and rivers.
To protect yourself from illness:
drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes
avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
don't swim in fresh water
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Ethiopia is still vulnerable to international spread of the wild poliovirus.
Stay up to date with recommended polio vaccinations, including a booster dose, through the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
The altitude in the mountain regions of Ethiopia can cause problems. People with lung, heart or chest problems should take extra care. Even if you're healthy, you can still be affected.
Symptoms of altitude sickness include:
In severe cases, fluid can build up in your lungs, brain or both, which can be fatal.
To protect yourself from altitude sickness:
ascend slowly, especially above an altitude of 2500m
rest when needed and don't push your body
avoid alcohol and cigarettes
If you're affected by severe altitude sickness, get to lower ground as soon as possible.
Health facilities are limited in Addis Ababa and inadequate in rural areas.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be moved to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. They include long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Family law in Ethiopia can differ a lot from Australian law. This includes divorce, child custody and child support. Laws affecting business activities can also be very different.
Get professional advice on your rights and responsibilities if you're engaging in business or family-related matters.
Ethiopia applies the death penalty for serious offences, including aggravated murder.
If you're in an accident, it's illegal to move your vehicle before a police officer arrives.
In Ethiopia, it's illegal to:
take part in same-sex sexual acts
buy or remove Ethiopian antiquities, animal skins or other cultural artefacts, including some Ethiopian crosses, without a permit
export precious stones and minerals beyond prescribed limits for personal use — check with local authorities before you buy
give money to or buy something from a beggar or vendor in traffic
It's also illegal to take photos:
near military zones or of military personnel
near the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa
where signs clearly prohibit photography
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Standards of behaviour and dress are conservative in Ethiopia. Take care not to offend.
If in doubt, seek local advice.
The Julian calendar is used in Orthodox Christian areas in the highlands. Some Ethiopians set their clocks differently from standard practice elsewhere. This leads to significant time differences.
Ethiopian Airlines and other large international airlines use standard international time.
To avoid confusion, always check bookings and appointments.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You can only get a visitor visa on arrival if you enter Ethiopia via Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. All other travellers must get a visa in advance.
For a business visa, you may need approval from the Ethiopian Department of Immigration and Nationality Affairs before applying to an embassy.
Check your visa's expiry date. If you overstay your visa, there is a daily fine.
Entry and exit requirements can change at short notice. Contact the Ethiopian embassy for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
To prevent the spread of the Ebola virus into Ethiopia, authorities screen travellers at all entry points. If you have a high temperature during screening, you may be quarantined.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate (PDF) to enter Ethiopia. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
In March 2017, the US government announced new restrictions on carrying electronic devices. These apply to people travelling from or through Ethiopia to the US.
There are no guidelines covering The use of drones in Ethiopia, they may be confiscated at the ineterantional or domestic airpport or border seekpermission before using drones.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB).
Currency controls are strict in Ethiopia. If you have more than USD3000, or the same amount in another foreign currency, you must declare it when you arrive and depart. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
You can't exchange Australian dollars in Ethiopia. However, most banks exchange US dollars.
Major banks can cash traveller's cheques.
There are limited ATMs in major Ethiopian cities, mostly in large hotels. ATMs can't always be used for cash advances and can run out of cash unexpectedly. Always travel with ETB.
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and a few other outlets in Ethiopia.
Check with your bank to make sure your card will work in Ethiopia.
Landmines are a hazard in the border areas with Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia. If you travel near these borders despite our advice, stick to well-travelled roads. See Safety
If you want to drive in Ethiopia, you can apply to convert a valid Australian licence to a local one. Your Australian license must be authenticated in Australia for it to be recongised. More information: Ethiopian Embassy
International driving permits aren't recognised in Ethiopia.
Driving in Ethiopia can be dangerous because of:
poor road conditions
poorly maintained vehicles
local driving practices
people and animals, particularly camels, wandering on roads
In 2016, a US national died when protesters threw rocks at his car on the road from Holeta to Addis Ababa.
Security forces sometimes close roads, including highways. In August 2017, security forces closed the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga between Baile and Harar because of intense fighting.
Drivers involved in car accidents can face severe punishments, including prison and fines.
If you're in a car accident, it's illegal to move your vehicle before a police officer arrives. However, if you feel unsafe, leave the area immediately and report to the nearest police station.
If you plan to drive in Ethiopia:
become familiar with local traffic laws and practices before driving
don't drink and drive
keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving
avoid driving at night, where possible
If you're stopped by police, follow their instructions.
If rocks are thrown at your car, leave the area as quickly and safely as possible.
To protect yourself when travelling outside Addis Ababa:
get local advice on road and security conditions along your planned route before you travel
leave details of your travel itinerary with a reliable person
travel in a group where possible
carry a well-stocked medical pack
consider carrying a satellite phone — regular telephones, including the mobile network, are unreliable
Check with your insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorbike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover accidents that occur while using these vehicles.
Always wear a helmet. Make sure your passenger does too.
Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines. Arrange these through your hotel. Avoid flagging down taxis in the street.
Consider sitting in the back seat rather than the front.
Not all taxis are metered. Ensure the meter is on or agree the fare before you leave.
Ethiopia has bus and limited rail services. However, safety standards aren't the same as in Australia. Buses have been attacked outside Addis Ababa.
Petty crimes occur on public transport. Take care of your belongings when travelling on buses and trains.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Ethiopia's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Call 991 or go to the hospital.
Call 991 or go to the local police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Turkish compound (off Cape Verde street)
Bole Subcity, Woreda 3
PO Box 3715
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: (+251 11) 667 2678 or (+251 96) 794 1377
Fax: (+251 11) 667 2868
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.