Tour Info / About Ethiopia

human ancestor ever found

Ardi dates to 4.4. million years and may be the oldest The world's oldest and most complete skeleton of a potential human ancestor -- named "Ardi," short for Ardipithecus ramidus -- has been unveiled by an international team of 47 researchers.
Their unprecedented, 17-year investigation of Ardi is detailed in a special issue of the journal Science.
The 4.4 million-year-old hominid opens up a new chapter on human evolution because "it is as close as we have ever come to finding the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans," project co-director Tim White told Discovery News.
"This is not an ordinary fossil," added White, a paleontologist in the University of California at Berkeley's Human Evolution Research Center. "It's not a chimp. It's not a human."
Instead, he said, "It shows us what we used to be."



One of the few African countries never to lose its independence, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined and has one of the richest histories on the African continent.

Addis Ababa
Blue Nile falls

The capital was settled in 1886 and christened by Queen Taytu, consort of Menelik II. The population according to the last official census was 6.5 million; recent estimates have it at closer to 7 million


The second - largest town in Ethiopia is Dire Dawa. Gondar is the third-largest town, with a population of 80,675 in 1984.


The population of Ethiopia today is estimated to be approximately 61 million. Approximately 26 percent are under the age of 14 and almost half are under 34.

Debre Damo

The major religions are Christianity Ethiopian Orthodox Church,Ethiopian Evangelical church,Ethiopian Catholic church and Islam.


Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, although English, Italian, French, and Arabic are widely spoken. In areas outside the larger cities and towns, indigenous languages are likely to be spoken – of which there are eighty – three with some 200 dialects. The most common of these are Oromigna and Tigrinya.

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Despite its proximity to the Equator, Ethiopia’s high altitude ensures a temperate, moderate, even chilly climate – certainly not tropical. There are two rainy seasons: the irregular short rains from late January to early March and the long rains from June until mid – September.

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Ethiopia is an independent republic operating under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The president is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government.

Entry points by air
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Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa; upgraded airports include those at Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Godnar, Lalibela Axum and Arba Minch.

Entry points by rail
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Dewele on the Djibouti border, arrivals undergo full customs and immigration checks. The railway, with day and night trains, runs from Addis Ababa to Djibouti via Nazareth, Awash Station, and Dire Dawa.

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Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days in a leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.

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Telephone, telex, fax, and airmail services connect Addis Ababa to all parts of the world. Services are available at the General Post Office and its many branches, as well as in the main hotels. International direct dialing is available from all major centers in the country.

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The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are five different coins: 1, 5 10, 25 and 50 cents.

Currency regulations
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There is no limit to amount of foreign currency imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the airport before departure, but you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.

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Being relatively close to the Equator, there is an almost constant twelve hours of daylight. In Addis Ababa, the sunrise and sunset start at around 06.30 and 18.45 respectively.

Departure tax
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The airport departure tax is US $20, Traveller’s cheque are not acceptable. On local fights, there is a ‘boarding charge’ often birr for residents and non-reside alike.

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Drivers require a valid International Driving License, which can be obtained by exchanging your local license at the Transport and Communications office on Haile Avenue in Addis Ababa. Visitors can recover their original licenses a day or so prior to departure. Those with their own vehicles will require a permit from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Driving is not the right.

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Ethiopia uses 220 volts and 50 HZ. It is best to bring your own round, two-prong adapter and transformer if necessary.

Health requirements
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All visitors (including infants) are required to possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who had visited or been in transit through a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia. Malaria is endemic throughout the country. Visitors should begin taking a recommended chloroquine - based prophylactic two weeks after their departure. In addition, medication for chloroquine - resistant malaria is a wise precaution.

Medical services
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Medical facilities are limited and of generally poor standard. Existing facilities are sorely overtaxed. Tourists and non-citizen residents should go to private hospitals and clinics. Contact your embassy for referral to a recommended doctor. Air rescue services are available, and you might want to make arrangements with one before your trip.

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Ethiopia is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Time remains constant throughout the year. The Ethiopian day is calculated in manner similar to many equatorial countries, where day and night are always the same length: counting starts at Western 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Western 7.00 a.m. is therefore one o’clock, noon is six, 6.00 p.m. is twelve o’clock midnight, and so on.

Visa and immigration requirements
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Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions in Abidjan, Accra, Beijing, Bonn, Brussels, Cairo, Dakar, Djibouti, Geneva, Harare, Jeddah, Khartoum, Lagos, London, Moscow, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York City. Ottawa, Paris, Pyongyang, Riyadh, Tokyo, Tripoli, Vienna, and Washington DC. Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia, with the exception of nationals of Djibouti and Kenya.