DOs & DONTs

 

As I have stated before, these are just personal thoughts based on my experience; like the Spanish writer Cela used to say: “Everybody has the right to commit mistakes by themselves”, you too while in Ethiopia! I’m just saying that you should know the consequences 😉

DO

  • Check the type of visa that you need before coming.
  • Bring a credit card if you have one.
  • Get proper vaccination and an insurance before coming.
  • Have some emergency numbers always ready with you.
  • Try to learn some basic Amharic; they’ll love it and you too.
  • Try to visit the countryside and see the rural side of Ethiopia.
  • Unblock your phone at the airport upon arrival and get an Ethiopian SIM card at Ethio Telecom.
  • Bring comfortable shoes and clothes (check the weather of the season/place you are coming).
  • Use safe ways of transport, specially avoiding drivers who chew “khat” and night rides outside the city.
  • Wash your hands always, before and after meals.
  • Eat properly cooked food and drink bottled water.
  • Bargain in souvenir shops. They inflate the price double, triple or four times the real price.
  • Negotiate with taxi drivers that don’t have a meter system.
  • Ask always if the appointments’ time is in Ethiopian time or international time.
  • Offer food to people around while you are eating.
  • Try to come during one of the big holidays; they are very colourful.
  • Get some leather, coffee and cotton (Ethiopia mande, please).
  • Be careful with street dogs; they may transmit rabies.
  • Respect different cultural aspects when different than yours.
  • Be aware of your impact as a tourist and try not to leave a footprint than can damage them in the future.
  • Be nice and polite to people all the time.
  • Take it easy when things are going wrong. Try to act calm and serene. People will normally try to help you when you claim for help.

DON’T

  • Don’t bargain in local food and grocery stores; they have fixed prices.
  • Don’t give alms to kids. They are not going to school, pressed by family members or mafias. If you give them money or goods, you are perpetuating this exploitation.
  • Don’t take pictures of government buildings, embassies and similar; it is forbidden.
  • Don’t take portraits of people without asking first; it’s a robbery.
  • Don’t openly criticize the government. Be careful with politics.
  • Don’t drink tap water, uncooked food, salads, etc.
  • Don’t leave your things unattended.
  • Don’t accuse anybody of stealing without proof.
  • Don’t expose homosexual activity; it is punished by law.
  • Don’t swim in most of the lakes (except Langano)
  • Don’t hire unaccredited tourist guides.
  • Don’t go to religious service without covering your head, shoulders and knees (women).
  • Don’t contraband illegal items/drugs into the country.
  • Don’t work under any circumstance on a tourist visa.
  • Don’t volunteer under any circumstance on a tourist visa.
  • Don’t share non-fasting food with fasting people.
  • Don’t leave trash behind (even if you see locals do it)
  • Don’t feel the need to answer to every person talking/insulting you on the street.
  • Don’t try to get a “logical” explanation to everything that happens in Ethiopia. There may not be one 🙂
World Animal Protection in Ethiopia
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