Last updated: 21 Dec 2021



Ethiopia can claim some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent, such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, and some of the lowest, such as the Danakil Depression, with its sulphur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape. It is also one of Africa's greatest cultural destinations with no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites including the mystical rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Ethiopia has 14 major wildlife reserves. Safaris are usually in 4-wheel drive vehicles, but walking safaris (with a guide only) or travelling by mule are also possible. Great areas to explore include: the Simien Mountains National Park with its spectacular views and large variety of wildlife; the moorlands of the Bale Plateau; and the countryside around Lalibela.

Lake Langano has a resort offering windsurfing and waterskiing. Natural springs in the Awash National Park and at Sodere Filwoha create pools highly valued for their therapeutic purposes, though they are not fully utilised.

Sailing and organised boat trips are available on Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake, which contains 37 islands complete with numerous monasteries that can be visited. White-water rafting is possible on parts of the Omo River and the Blue Nile.
Capital:  Addis Ababa (ADD)
Currency:  Ethiopian Birr (ETB)
Language:  Amharic. English and Arabic are widely spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 251
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2022: 

Jan 7, 19; Mar 2; Apr 22, 24; May 1, 3, 5, 28; Jul 10; Sep 11, 27; Oct 8

Side of the Road: Right (Foreign visitors are allowed to drive in Ethiopia using an international driving licence for three months. After that an Ethiopian licence is required.)
Best Time to go: October to January 
Best For: Religious Sites, Archaeological Sites, Natural Attractions
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Milk is unpasteurised.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in the capital, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Outside of the capital, medical facilities are very limited. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage.  If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Respect to traditional and religious customs should be shown. Only the right hand is used for eating or passing things. Some monasteries and churches are only open to male visitors. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques.
Local Offences / Laws: Photography of airports and military installations is prohibited. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Credit cards have limited use. Locals may expect a small payment for being photographed. Photography of tourist attractions may carry a small charge. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which con­sists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of five days (six days on leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Ethiopia without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 1L of wine or spirits.
• 500ml of perfume or eau de toilette.
Prohibited Imports: Narcotics, all weapons (firearms, ammunition and explosives), ivory, and pornographic materials. The import of precious metals and semi-precious gems is limited to 100g and precious gems to 30g.
Prohibited Exports: Prohibited exports include ivory (even if already processed into jewellery), precious metals and semi-precious gems over 100g and precious gems over 30g. You can only export religious artifacts, antiques and animal hides with the correct export certificates. Those wishing to take animal skins and hides out of the country must apply for a permit from the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. For the export of antiques and religious artifacts, you can obtain export certificates at the customs office at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 08/09/2021

Ethiopia is open for travel from all countries, provided holding a negative Covid-19 test certificate.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged 10 years and older must hold a negative RT-PCR digital test certificate obtained within 120 hours or 5 days prior to arrival. Digital test certificates must be based on the African Union's Trusted Travel Guidelines and the United Nations Development Programme sponsored Global Haven Program. Passengers entering or transiting through Ethiopia from countries not yet part of the Trusted Travel initiative should use Global Haven for Covid-19 test results.
  • The testing requirement does not apply to:
    • Holders of diplomatic or service passports or their immediate families, however they must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
    • Passengers in transit, however they must quarantine in designated hotels until their next flight.

Quarantine requirements

  • Passengers aged 10 years and over must quarantine for 7 days on arrival.
  • The quarantine requirement does not apply to:
    • Passengers holding a Covid-19 certificate of recovery obtained within 90 days;
    • Passengers holding proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19;
    • Passengers holding a diplomatic or service passport, provided an on-arrival RT-PCR or antigen-based RDT test is negative. Passengers who refuse to be tested on arrival must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. This applies to immediate family members of a passenger holding a diplomatic or service passport; or
    • Passengers travelling for tourism purposes or to attend a conference for an emergency, provided an on-arrival RT-PCR or antigen-based RDT test is negative.
  • Passengers who test positive for Covid-19 will not be permitted to enter Ethiopia.

Exit restrictions

  • Passengers departing Ethiopia must obtain a negative RT-PCR test certificate from an authorised laboratory and be issued with a Trusted Travel (TT) code that can be verified prior to departure. Passengers will receive a text message (SMS) from PanaBios in addition to an email from the testing laboratory and/or from PanaBios with a link to activate their account on Trusted Travel PanaBios.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Ethiopia
763 Justice Mohammed Street, Bailey’s Muckleneuk, Brooklyn, Pretoria
P O Box 11469 Hatfield, Pretoria 0028
Tel:+27 (0)12 361 8990 or 346 3542/4067
Mon - Fri: 09h00-12h30 and 13h30 - 15h30 Submission and collection
Telephonic bookings: 09h00-12h00 

Online Visa Applications: 

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by South African, British and all other passport holders.

Ethiopia will issue online visas to all tourists. See where applicants can apply and pay for their entry visa. Once applied, the applicant will receive an email authorization for entry as a tourist and will then get their passport stamped on arrival in Ethiopia.

If travelling for business, a visa is required and is to be obtained prior to arrival in Ethiopia.


*Business Application form, obtainable from the Embassy. Application must be completed and signed by the applicant .
* Valid passport which is to be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the  date of entry. passport must have at least 2 blank pages.
* 1 Recent passport photo (scanned or camera captured image)
* Proof of finances - last 3 months bank statements
* Employment letter from South African company

Tourist visa
*A copy of air ticket
* Proof of funds (3 months bank statements)
* Confirmation of accommodation

Connecting within 24 hours:
* A visa is not required, passenger must have confirmed onward booking and copies of Passport as well as original passport

.Business Visa:
* A self-explanatory/detailed letter from the company confirming Employment and an invitation letter from company in Ethiopia.  Host company in Ethiopia needs to provide the Immigration Office in Ethiopia with details of the  applicant and their SA company.  The Immigrations office will then liase with the Embassy in Pretoria.
* Copy of your air ticket or itinerary
* Accommodation booking should be submitted
* Copies of Passport
* Proof of payment of visa fee
*Authentication for legal documents:  Documents should be approved by the Department/Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the concerned countries prior to authentication

Visa Processing Time

3 Working days

Visa Validity

All visas will be valid starting from the date of issue.

Visa Cost

The method of payment is strictly cash, deposited into the Embassy’s bank account at the Nedbank HILLCREST Branch.
A/C No. 2602173924.
Branch code: 160245
Visa costs differ for different passport holders and therefore should be checked with the Consular section of the Embassy.
NB. Visa fees are subject to exchange rates.
Electronic payment is not allowed.

Business visa : R392.00 for up to 30 days
Tourist visa : R520.00 single entry up to 30 days 

SA Representative

SA Embassy
Nifasilk Lafto, Subcity
Kebele 03, South Africa Avenue
(Old Airport Area)
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 371 1002/1017/7186/0272
Fax: +251 11 371 3035

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever 
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Meningitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk