Official Travel Advice for Ethiopia
Summary - removal of information on the Irrecha Festival celebration on the weekend of 5th October 2019
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Advice current as at 4:00 am 15 Oct 2019.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to:
- the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone in Gambella region
- the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region
- within 10 km of the border with South Sudan
- within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region
- within 10 km of the border with Sudan and the other parts of the Kenyan border, with the exception of principal roads/towns
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of: the main road through Axum and Adigrat; tourist sites close to the main roads (eg Debre Damo and Yeha); and open border crossings with Eritrea and the main roads to these border crossings. You should take local advice and not walk away from roads or towns unaccompanied
- all other areas of the Ethiopian Somali Region, including Siti zone, Fafan zone (with the exception of the main road and railway line to Djibouti), and the areas of Liben and Afder zones more than 100km from the Somalia and Kenya borders
- the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder zone
- the West Wollega and Qellem Wollega zones in the Oromia region, with the exception of the main Addis Ababa-Gambella road
- the rest of Gambella region, except the main Addis Ababa-Gambella road
For more information, see Local travel
Around 20,000 British nationals visit Ethiopia every year. Most visits are trouble free but there are a number of issues you should be aware of.
Internet connections in Ethiopia, including mobile data, have been intermittent throughout June and July 2019, and may remain so. Mobile internet networks have been restored.
There are frequent incidences of civil unrest in Ethiopia, including protests and strikes. Some of these can cause temporary closure of roads or disruption to local business and transport, and in the past some have escalated into serious violence. These incidents are often limited in duration and localised. Where they occur, the British Embassy will advise staff to reconsider any travel plans they have to the specified area and not to travel until the situation has calmed. This travel advice will flag incidents of concern, where British Embassy staff have received specific advice, but as unrest can occur with little or no notice you are also advised to monitor local news and reconsider travel plans to areas where disturbances are reported. If you’re unsure, contact local authorities or reputable tour operators in the areas you’re travelling to.
Tensions are raised in the Somali Regional State and on the border between the Somali and Oromia Regions following clashes in a number of locations, including in the East and West Harerge zones and in the areas surrounding the town of Moyale on the border with Kenya. These clashes have led to a number of deaths. Although there are no reports of foreign nationals being targeted, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities. Road travel in the area – including on the route between Dire Dawa airport and Harar City – may be disrupted. See Local travel - Ethiopian Somali Regional State and Local travel - Oromia Region
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Ethiopia. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and places of worship and during major gatherings like religious or sporting events. There is a threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Somali region, and on the southern border with Kenya, particularly in the eastern areas to which the FCO advise against all travel. See Terrorism
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is severely limited in parts of Ethiopia where the FCO advise against all travel and limited where the FCO advise against all but essential travel.
Ethiopia is primarily a cash based society and banking facilities, including card payments and ATMs are very limited outside major cities. See Money
There is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You may see some additional checks taking place at arrival on all flights into Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. See Health
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Quick Facts Tourist Information for:Ethiopia
Drive on the: right
Visitors/Tourists: 523,000 in 2011
Amharic (official language) 33%
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