Visa & Arrival

BY PLANE

This is the most common way that tourists prefer: through Bole international Airport, as it is the only entry point to get a visa on arrival. It is currently undergoing expansion due to its growing demand (more than 150 flights a day), serving not only people coming in/out of the country, but also for connecting flights throughout Africa.

Bole Int. Airport has currently 2 terminals, a small one for domestic flights and neighboring countries and a big one for international flights.

The main international airlines flying here are: Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Egyptair, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, and others. Check their fares and choose the one the best suits you. I do like the flight search engine that site Skyscanner offers.

Important! If you plan to flight within the country after your arrival, Ethiopian Airlines offers discounts on domestic flights to passengers getting into the country through their airline. Keep it mind and make your numbers!

Djibouti and Kenya are the 2 only countries of the world with visa exemption to enter Ethiopia. Many countries apply for a tourist visa on arrival (sadly, most of African can’t). Before coming, check on this link to see if yours apply or if you need special requirements: https://www.passportindex.org. I am attaching a reference map here as well:

For most tourists, they will allowed to apply for a 1 month or a 3 months visa with prices going from 50 USD to 75 USD (Euros, Dollars are Ethiopian Birr are accepted). They have recently launched a new e-visa service to apply for you visa: www.evisa.gov.et but as anything related to internet in this country I am suspicious of its reliability. I’d appreciate more comments on this service if anybody has already used it.

Be aware that when you arrive you need to inform where are you staying and fill it the form at inmigration, so it is advisable to ask your hotel for a complete contact details (name, address and phone).

After going through immigration and collecting your baggage (which won’t hopefully be lost) you can get out of the airport, grab a taxi and go to your camp base. If you have booked a hotel it is possible that they provide airport shuttles included in the price, so check with them; otherwise, as soon as you exit the airport (don’t negotiate prices within the airport) you’ll find on the right side many yellow taxis on queue waiting for passengers. They have a list (which you can have a look at) with stablished prices depending on the neighborhood you are going to, so it is always good to know in which neighborhood is your hotel or your destination point. This is a new fair way not to cheat tourists, which years back used to be charged 3 or 4 times the normal price. Glad they made it!

BY LAND

I have this dream of traveling Africa by 4×4. Till I do it, I’m not quite sure of how this works. Consider who are Ethiopia’s neighboring countries: Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland. Does it look like a realistic plan to want to come in? Actually it is in some parts, but be aware that you need your visa already stamped in your passport somehow as they won’t give visa on arrival by land. If you have your papers ready, there should not be a reason why you would not be able to cross through the border (forget about Eritrea, or course, a very conflicted border).

BY TRAIN

The only long distance railway that Ethiopia has is the Djibouti – Addis. It is an old railroad that the French long time ago and that has recently been renovated by the Chinese. I have not done this trip yet (I should, right?). The stops include: Addis Lebu – Adama – Dire Dawa – Ali Sabieh – Djibouti Negad. There is no online booking so far but you can check prices, times and where to get your ticket through this link: https://www.seat61.com/Ethiopia.htm

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