Before you go to Ethiopia

PASSPORT / VISA
To avoid risk of a sticky border crossing, it is required that your US passport have more than six months remaining before it expires and a minimum of two visa pages (numbered pages) for entry and exit stamps when you enter the final country in your itinerary. Amendment pages (letters pages) are not accepted as substitutes.
 
Be prepared to have appropriate funds available in USD cash at border crossings to purchase any visas required for your trip. Exact change is very helpful as well.
 
United States citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter Ethiopia. You will need to send away to the US based embassy prior to your trip. Please send your valid passport, one recent color passport size picture, the completed application form and the visa fee of US $70 made into a money order payable to the Embassy of Ethiopia. This visa allows for multiple entries and is valid for two years. US citizens can also get a 3 month tourist visa on arrival for US $70 at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.
 
As an alternative US Citizens may purchase your visa on arrival. Current cost is US$20.00. One passport size photo is required.
 
If you will be traveling with a non-US passport, please contact the appropriate embassy to obtain accurate visa information.
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Dr. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 364-1200    www.ethiopianembassy.org
 
FLIGHT INFORMATION
It is important that you reconfirm your international flights 72 hours before departure.
 
To reach some of the remote camps and lodges in the bush, Mango books their flights with reputable air charter companies and regional airlines. They have good safety records and their pilots are familiar with the bush airstrips.
 
There are three types of air transfers we book for our clients: private charters, shared air transfers, and regional scheduled flights.
 
Private charters are booked for clients wishing to have sole use of an aircraft and not share with any other passengers. These are often great for group or family trips. These flights are direct stopping only for refueling and border crossings. Shared air transfers are like private charters except, passengers share the light aircraft with other travelers. These flights can make a number of stops to pick up or drop off passengers en-route. Regional scheduled flights are daily routes that can make numerous stops as they complete their circuit.
 
The type of transfer you have will affect the luggage and weight restrictions you have. Please ask us for details. Shared air transfers are scheduled the week of departure for efficiency on the part of the charter company.
 
Departure Taxes - International airport departure taxes are typically US $20 payable in cash. Plan to pay two departure taxes during your trip. Whenever possible, we include departure taxes when we book your regional and international airfare. However depending on local regulations, we may not be able to add these departure taxes ahead of time, so you may need to pay for these as you travel.
 
LUGGAGE & WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
We suggest you carry two bags. One day bag (small backpack or messenger bag) and one soft sided larger bag to check (with wheels is best).
 
We highly recommend using luggage locks and ID tags. We highly recommend the TSA approved luggage locks. These can be opened by security officials in the US where necessary and then secured after inspection.
 
Use Ziploc plastic bags for all potions & lotions, as well as all electronics & film. You can use a Ziploc plastic for your sunscreen & mosquito spray to keep in your day bag. Use a larger grocery plastic bag for wet/dirty clothes and shoes to keep them separate from clean items.
 
Pack all valuable items in your carry-on bag including money/passport/health card and camera equipment/electronics (mp3 player). We also want to stress that you should carry any necessary/life sustaining medications in your carry-on should your checked bag be delayed or lost. It is also smart to keep your toothbrush & prescription glasses with you for long flights and do a small amount of cross packing with your traveling companion should your checked bag be delayed.
 
Maximum weight restrictions for private charters, shared charter flights & regional scheduled flights: 33 lbs for trips visiting Ethiopia.
 
These maximum weight parameters include checked bags, carry-on bags and camera gear. Before you board the plane, your bag will be put into a measuring box to check the size of baggage per guest. If a bag is too large or if the suitcase is hard-framed, guests will have to repack into smaller bags. This may mean that a guest could incur extra costs or be forced to leave luggage behind.
 
The maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 10 inches wide x 12 inches high x 24 long.
 
Please keep in mind that the baggage compartments on the light aircraft are only 10 inches high, so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment. For specifics about your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
Passengers weighing more than 220 lbs or more, must please advise us in advance as an extra seat will then have to be costed in to the package for safety purposes.
 
MEDICAL
The only person who can answer that question is your doctor. It is possible that you will need NO shots before you leave for your safari if your normal course of routine immunizations is up to date. Make sure to start getting your shots 6 months to 3 weeks prior to departure.
Routine Immunizations are:
  • tetanus-diphtheria
  • poliomyelitis
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella
  • influenza
  • pneumococcal
Many of these are groups together and some are oral. Additional immunizations to discuss with your doctor are:
  • yellow fever
  • hepatitis A & B
  • typhoid
  • cholera
  • polio
  • meningitis
For those traveling to or from Tanzania, Rwanda & Uganda, yellow fever immunization is required. Health surveillance desks have been set up at points of entry and at international airports to check tourists’ documentation on arrival. Please consult your travel clinic to receive the appropriate immunization and documentation for yellow fever which you must bring with you. NOTE: Ethiopia has a standing policy that tourists must have also have valid vaccination certificates for yellow fever. This policy at times is not enforced, but we recommend arriving prepared in case you are asked from this detail on arrival.
 
For your safety, we request all passengers take a course of malaria prophylactics. There are several different possibilities on the market. Please discuss with your doctor which one is best for you.
 
It is important that you alert us to any allergies, dietary restrictions and existing medical conditions.
 
BANKING
The US Dollar is the best foreign currency to bring with you to Ethiopia and it can be exchanged at banks and foreign exchange bureaus. US Dollars can be carried in cash or travelers checks.
 
Visa & MasterCard (no other cards are accepted) can be used to pay for flights with Ethiopian Airlines and maybe 2 of the big hotels in Addis Ababa (Sheraton & Hilton)- and more places throughout the country. That being said, it's best to bring cash and good old-fashioned traveler checks because acceptance of credit cards can be very spotty.
 
ATM machines in Ethiopia do not recognize foreign debit or credit cards.
 
The local currency is Birr, which is made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1,5,10, 50 and 100 Birr and each denomination is a different color and size. Coins are 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. Money can be exchanged upon arrival at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. Please note: if you retain your exchange receipts you can convert Birr back to USD upon departure.
 
African Currencies (exchange rate as of JAN 2014)
Ethiopia US$ 1.00 =19.17 Birr

WEATHER

Below please see the average temperature and rainfall charts.

Temperature (ºF) – These are the average lows and highs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

ADD

55/77

57/79

57/81

59/81

59/81

57/79

57/75

57/73

57/75

57/79

55/79

55/79

Rainfall (inches). This varies according to the year and where you are.

 

 

 

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

ADD

0.3

1.3

3.0

4.7

5.0

3.5

5.1

6.3

3.7

1.4

0.6

0.4