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Welcome to Ethiopia, one of the oldest nations in the world, the land of very unique culture and heritage that goes going back thousands of years. 

This has resulted in a unique culture that is interesting and rare. Ethiopia is also sometimes referred as “the roof of Africa” as more than 70% of Africa’s mountains are found here with a very dramatic and scenic way. On the other hand Ethiopia is located in a landscape that goes from one of the lowest points on earth sinking below sea level.

Several archaeological findings combined with fossil and genetic evidence in Ethiopia suggesting that Ethiopia is the origin of mankind where we all started out from and great sources of scientific information, national pride and heritage for humanity.

Ethiopia is also a home of more than 80 ethnic groups live together with their beauty and difference. Moreover, the country has been at peace for more than a decade and its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. There is so much to see and experience in this wonderful place! So come and visit astounding diversity of landscapes, mosaic of cultures, ancient history and the land of origin.

Topography

With an area of 114 million square kilometres, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined and is five times the size of the UK. From the north and running down the centre are the Abyssinian highlands. To the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east to the deserts of the Afar. South of Addis Ababa, the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes.

Ethiopia is strategically located in the Horn of Africa. Its proximity to the Middle East and Europe, together with its easy access to the major ports of the region, enhances its international trade. It is bordered by the Sudan in the west, Somalia and Djibouti in the east, Eritrea in the north and Kenya in the south.

Ethiopia's central plateau varies in height between 2,000 and 3,000 metres. In the north and centre of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4,000 metres (13,200ft), the highest being Ras Dashen at 4,543 metres (14,538ft).

Rivers

The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile (or Abbay), which runs a distance of 1,540 kilometres from its source in Lake Tana, to join the White Nile at Khartoum. Other main rivers include the Tekezze (which joins the Nile in the Sudan), the Awash, the Wabe Shabele, the Omo, the Baro and Birbir.

Religion

Ethiopian culture and tradition have been much influenced by both Christian and Muslim religions. The Amharas and Tigreans are predominantly Christian and adhere to the Orthodox church. The Oromos, the largest ethnic group are more mixed, with Christian and Muslim communities, as well as communities who adhere to local traditions.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the largest religious group (45%), followed by Sunni Muslims (35%) and those with traditional beliefs (11%). An additional 9% are listed as 'others'. Catholicism and Ethiopian evangelism (Mekane Yesus) are also considered to be important religions in Ethiopia.

Religion has always been a major influence in Ethiopia and no other sub-Saharan country in Africa can trace its origins as far back. Ethiopia is mentioned many times in the Bible and in the Qur'an.

Population

With a population of about 100 million, Ethiopia represents a melting pot of ancient cultures with Middle Eastern and African cultures evident in the religious, ethnic and language composition of its Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic peoples. The Ethiopian peoples comprise about eighty nationalities of which the Amhara and the Oromo constitute the majority, with about 60 percent of the total population.

Approximately 85 percent of the population live in the rural areas. The annual population growth rate is about 3.09 percent, and the economically active segment, between ages 14 and 60, is about 50 percent of the total population.

Ethiopia is a Federal Democratic Republic composed of 9 National Regional States (NRS) - Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Gambella and Harari - and two administrative councils - Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The NRS and the Administrative councils are further divided into 62 zones and 523 woredas.

Language

Ethiopia is a land of enormous diversity and as a result Ethiopia has more than 80 languages and over 200 dialects. Amharic or Amharigna is the official language of Ethiopia although the government encourages local languages to be taught in schools. The working languages of the national/regional governments may differ according to regions. Other main languages include Oromigna and Tigrigna. English, French, Italian and Arabic are also widely spoken.

For some useful phrases in Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromigna

Regional States

Ethiopia constitutes nine regional governments which are vested with authority for self-administration and they are as follows: Afar, Amhara, Benishangul/Gumuz, Gambella, Harari, Oromiya, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples', Somali and Tigray; and two chartered cities: Addis Ababa and Dire-Dawa.

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia and is also the capital city. It is the seat of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and lies on the central plateau at an altitude of 2,400 metres, 9 degrees north of the equator. Its average temperature is 16° C. Addis Ababa can be dated back to 1887 when Menelik decided to abandon his hill top site and chose the foothills to site his new settlement which his empress had already named Addis Ababa, the 'New Flower'.

Modern Addis Ababa consists of three main areas. The eastern side has many government offices and educational centres and some of the most important buildings, such as the old Menelik Palace. The newer National or Jubilee Palace built in Emperor Haileselassie's early days stands lower down Menelik II Avenue opposite Africa Hall, the headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for Africa and where summit meetings of heads of the member states of the Organisation of African Unity are held.

Also in the eastern side of the city visitors can find Maskal Square, which was used to hold demonstrations, as well as the University which houses the National Museum and the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. One of Addis Ababa's outstanding landmarks, the Trinity Cathedral, can also be found in eastern Addis Ababa.

The central area of the city consists of the main commercial area, more government departments and City Hall. Other offices include the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines, the main post and telegraph office, the general hospital and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. St. George's Orthodox church, the National Theatre, the sports stadium and Ethiopia, Ras and Harambee hotels can also be found in this area of the city.

The western sector of the city is home to Mercato market, which takes place seven days a week and is one of the largest and most colourful open-air markets in the world. The two mosques, bus station, nearly all the Embassies and lots of traditional handicraft shops are situated in this area.

Hotels

Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious five star Sheraton and Hilton hotels to the tourist-class hotels such as the Ghion, the Ethiopia and the Wabi Shebelle as well as other modern hotels.

Restaurants

For those who find Ethiopian food too spicy, in Addis Ababa there are now Greek, Chinese, Armenian, Indian, Arabic, French, Thai, Turkish and Italian restaurants. Restaurant prices depend on where you eat, but non-Ethiopian food in the private restaurants and the Hilton and Sheraton hotels is considerably more expensive.

Calendar

The Ethiopian year consists of thirteen months; twelve of 30 days each and an additional month of five or six days, depending on whether it is a leap year. The first month of the Ethiopian year is September (or Meskerem) and New Year's Day takes place on what is the 11th September in the Western calendar.

Ethiopian Month

Gregorian Month

Gregorian Equivalent Dates

Meskerem (month 1)

September (month 9)

September 11 - October 10 (begins September 12, during leap years)

Tikimt (month 2)

October (month 10)

October 11 - November 9

Hidar (month 3)

November (month 11)

November 10 - December 9

Tahsas (month 4)

December (month 12)

December 10 - January 8

Tir (month 5)

January (month 1)

January 9 - February 7

Yakatit (month 6)

Febuary (month 2)

February 8 - March 9

Magabit (month 7)

March (month 3)

March 10 - April 8

Miyazya (month 8)

April (month 4)

April 9 - May 8

Ginbot (month 9)

May (month 5)

May 9 - June 7

Sene (month 10)

June (month 6)

June 8 - July 7

Hamle (month 11)

July (month 7)

July 8 - August 6

Nehasa (month 12)

August (month 8)

August 7 - September 5

Pagumiene (month 13)

September 6 - September 10 (ends September 11, during leap years)

The difference with the West dates back to 1582 when the Christian world adopted the revised Gregorian calendar and Ethiopia stayed with the Julian calendar.

As a result, Ethiopia is either seven or eight years behind the Gregorian calendar, depending on whether the date is before or after 1st January. So, the 1st January 2006 in the UK will be 23rd Tahisas 1998 in Ethiopia. Furthermore, Ethiopia is approaching its year 2000 with various exciting millennium celebrations planned to mark this significant date.

Time

Ethiopia is in the +3 hrs GMT time zone. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that in addition to this Ethiopia also has its own time. This is based on the conception that the Ethiopian day is constituted of roughly 12 hours of daylight, starting at 6.00am and roughly 12 hours of darkness, starting at 6.00pm. So, 7.00am is 1.00am Ethiopian time.

Urban Ethiopians often use both systems as appropriate. Nevertheless, in general, when asking about dates and times, it is always worth checking which system is being used!


Climate

There are two seasons in Ethiopia: in most of the country the dry season prevails from October until May with short rains in March; the wet season runs from June until the end of September. In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.

Although Ethiopia lies within 15 degrees north of the equator, owing to the moderating influence of high altitude, the central highlands, where most Ethiopian people live, generally enjoy a temperate and pleasant climate. In the highlands above 2,000 metres the temperature rarely exceeds 25°C in most of the country. In the lower lying areas (Awash, Omo and Mago parks), which experience sub-tropical and tropical climates, it can get considerably hotter. The temperature generally drops quite rapidly towards sunset.

 Economy

Salient Features: Socialist oriented after the 1974 revolution, with strong state controls. Thereafter, a large part of the economy was transferred to the public sector, including most modern industry and large-scale commercial agriculture, all agricultural land and urban rental property, and all financial institutions: some private enterprise and capital and capital participation permitted in certain sectors. Since mid-1991, a decentralized, market-oriented economy emphasizing individual initiative, designed to reverse a decade of decline. In 1993 gradual privatization of business, industry, banking, agriculture, trade and commerce underway.

Structure of the economy

The Gross Domestic Product in 1994 was broken down to:

  • Services - 31%
  • Manufacturing - 3%
  • Industry - 10%
  • Agriculture - 56%

Major industrial products: food and beverages, textiles, leather, cement, metal products, paper, plastic products, automotive and tractor assembly, tires, and certain chemicals.

Major agricultural products: coffee, tea, oilseeds, cotton, tobacco, fruits, pepper, sugar cane, fish and livestock.

Major exports: coffee, oilseeds, hides, livestock.

Major imports: machinery and equipment, industrial inputs, pharmaceuticals, chemicals.

Ethiopia is endowed with vast agricultural, mineral, and energy resources, which remain virtually untapped as a result of the civil war and economically stagnant period, which ended when the Transitional Government set Ethiopia on the path toward democracy and economic freedom.

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has introduced an economic reform plan that emphasises the use of free market mechanisms and liberalized trade laws to encourage foreign investment and trade, as well as domestic entrepreneurs.

The new economic plan will speed up the economic and social development in the country through the increase in supply of goods and services and the growth and liberalization of the private sector. It will encourage foreign investors to participate in the reconstruction efforts of the country, and it will develop and promote domestic private capital to enhance sustainability.

The economic and social development initiatives of the Federal Government involve both local governments and local non-governmental organizations in all stages of the development process in order to encourage accountability among the public and to better address the needs of the Ethiopian people.

Agriculture

Ethiopia is a predominantly agricultural country with over 80 percent of its population farming on about 15 - 20 percent of the arable land. The agriculture sector accounts for over half of the GDP and 85 percent of export earnings, the most important of which is coffee. Some of the finest and rarest coffees in the world are grown in the highlands of Ethiopia, and Ethiopia is Africa's third largest producer of coffee, after Uganda and the Ivory Coast. In addition, Ethiopia has one of the largest livestock resources in the world. Given the key role that agriculture plays in the economic development of the country, the Government has placed special focus on agriculture in its development agenda. Agriculture can be a stimulus to improve land utilization and productivity, generate income and be used as a springboard for growth in the industrial and service sectors.

Industry

The industry and manufacturing sector plays an important role in the economy by supplying consumer goods, generating employment opportunities, absorbing agricultural raw materials and earning foreign exchange through exports. This sector comprises light manufacturing products such as construction materials, metal and chemical products as well as basic consumer goods such as food, beverages, leather, clothing and textiles. Production is concentrated in and around Addis Ababa and mostly caters to the domestic market, although the number of exported goods is steadily growing.

To help the industrial sector to grow, the Government is making concerted efforts to dismantle barriers to investment and private sector participation caused by excessive regulation from past regimes.

Mining

The mining sector of the economy has immense potential for development. A limited scale of gold tantalum and platinum mining is currently being undertaken. Several North American countries have signed contracts with Ethiopia to conduct gold exploration in certain parts of the country.

The development of Ethiopia's mineral wealth is one of the Government's leading economic objectives. Mining operations are expected to be an important economic catalyst for the Government's export-oriented development strategy. The goal is to get the minerals sector up to 10 percent of GDP within 10 years.

 Food and Drinks

The national dish for most Ethiopians is injera, a flat, sour dough pancake made from a special grain called teff, which is served with either meat or vegetable sauces. Ethiopians eat these injera by tearing off a bit of injera and uses it to pick up pieces of meat or mop up the sauce. Berbere, the blend of spices which gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste can be hot for the uninitiated, although vindaloo or hot curry fans will not have any problem.

When eating national food Ethiopians eat together, of one large circular plate. Visitors and guests will have choice morsels and pieces of meat placed in front of them, and when eating "doro wot", chicken stew, the pieces of meat are eaten last, after filling up on injera and sauce. You eat with your right hand, and should always wash your hands before eating.

Vegetarians should try "fasting food", what Orthodox Christians eat during Lent and other fasting periods, and which is free of meat and animal products.

Ethiopia produces its own wines - Dukam and Goudar are two good, dry reds. Crystal is a dry white wine and Axumite is a sweet red - and spirits, like gin, ouzo and brandy. There are also traditional alcoholic beverages such as tela (a local beer made from grain), tej (honey wine or mead) and kati kala (distilled liquor).

Coffee

Ethiopia is the home of coffee. An intricate traditional coffee ceremony is performed in many households. This may also be seen in most of the larger hotels in Addis Ababa. The time devoted to the ceremony indicates how important the drink is to Ethiopians.

At the start of the ceremony a table is scattered with freshly-cut grass to give the fresh and fragrant scent of outdoors. A female attendant or the lady of the household sits on a low stool beside a charcoal brazier. She first lights a stick of incense to provide the right atmosphere. Guests are given a snack such as popcorn whilst the ceremony is proceeding. The green coffee beans are roasted in a pan and then ground with a pestle and mortar. Then the pot for boiling the coffee is produced, a round clay pot with a plump base and a long narrow neck and spout. After the water has been heated the coffee is added and brought to the boil. The coffee is poured into small, traditional cups and sugar is added. The coffee has a full-bodied flavour but it is not itself bitter.

Currency

The local currency is the Ethiopia Birr, made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, provided that declaration of such currency is made to Customs on arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorised banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency in the airport before departure.

About us

Allseason Tour operator is a tour company currently operating in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The company is legally registered as a tour company with the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade as per the local law, licensed by Ministry of Culture and Tourism and a member of Ethiopian Tour Operator Association as well. It is part of Leadstar Family businesses operating in Ethiopia on different sectors.

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Travel Tips

Rest assured that Ethiopia is one of the safest countries in the world. A glance at reviews posted in the most prominent tour websites ( Lonely planet, Trip Advisor etc... ) will confirm this.

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Contact us

Near to BAMBIS in front of Deleopol Hotel on LTV Building,Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Call us  +251-960-441-944  /  +251-960-441-945
Emiail us  info@allseasonethiopia-tour.com