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Ethiopia 2007



  • Days: 26
  • Period: June
  • Weather:  Varies from mid 20 degrees to cool. During this month we had quite a lot of rain. The rain however was not a problem whilst travelling because it mainly rained late in the afternoon or during the night. The Omo valley, which we crossed during the 4th week of June was dry without mud when we were there.

General information:

  • Currency: Ethiopian Birr

  • Internet: Available in most cities, but connection is extremely slow

  • ATM's: Only in the big cities. When you enter through Sudan the first ATM is in Gonder. If you want to change money earlier, you need cash.

  • Creditcards: In the bigger cities you will find ATM's for Visa. Paying with Visa however is not common.

  • Safety: Ethiopia is a safe country. We did not experience any problem. Nevertheless people told us to be careful on the road between the Sudanese border and Shehedi. It is not advised to bush camp here.

Prices (per June 2007)

  • Value Money: €1 = 12 Birr

  • Fuel: diesel is 5,5 Birr (about € 0,46) per liter

  • Camping: between 30 and 60 Birr per night for 2 persons

  • Prices: Ethiopia is a very cheap country for everything. 

  • Bread: 1 bread costs 0,5 Birr (2 breads for 1 Birr), 1 kg banana is about 4 Birr


  • valid = 28 days from date of entry (single entry)

  • visa can be obained in Khartoum (20 US$ per person), issued the same day.

  • On the border we were told that in Addis at the immigration office visa can be extrended. This however is not true. When you go to the immigration for extension you just get a new visa for which you have to pay another 20 US$ again.


Border crossing

  • Coming from Sudan (Gedaref) we entered Ethiopia at Metama.

  • At Metama you will only find an immigration office, there is no custom office at this border

  • For getting a stamp in your Carnet you have to go to the customs in Shehedi (see GPS for coordinates)

  • For Ethiopia a stamp in your Carnet is not obliged. Therefore if you're planning to leave Ethiopia at Omorate you better not stamp your Carnet. It saves you time and effort to obain your Carnet exit stamp.

  • If you do need this stamp and your are not leaving Ethiopia at Moyale, you can have your Carnet stamped in Addis (see GPS info for custom coodinates)

  • We left Ethiopia through the Omo-valley, and got our immigration exit stamp in Omorate (see GPS info)

  • Both entry and exit was totally free (no tax, no custums, no insurance)


Highlights or not

  • Royal Enclosures Gonder: 50 Birr per person. We liked this place. Most of the buildings are in very good shape.

  • Simien Mountains NP: 50 Birr per person, 10 Birr for the car and 30 Birr for the scout (only a scout is needed you are not obliged to take a guide). The prices are for 24 hours. Although one day is very short we really liked it. The surroundings are beautiful and you will see a lot of Gelada baboons. If you want to spent more time in the park, hiking would be a nice way to do this.

  • Lalibela: 200 Birr per person. The entrance fee was very expensive and we thought it was not worth it. The road up to Lalibela is very bad. In the village everybody is out for you money and the churches itself were not that special. Except for one, the beauty is gone as they all have a metal roof now and inside it is no very special and you get eaten by flees there.

  • Nechisar NP: 250 Birr for 2 persons and a car for 24 hours including one night camping. The surroundings and the views of the park are beautiful. The road however is extremely bad. The worst road we had on the whole trip so far. If we would have know this in advance we would not have gone to the park. The wildlife is nice but not special and we thought is was not worth risking the car for. When you do enter please note, that in order to get to the plains you need to climb some very steep hills with a lot of loose stones. Especially the last hill is long and steep. If you do want to climb the hills it is better not to be fully loaded.

  • Omo valley: For us the Omo-valley was by far the nicest part of Ethiopia. While driving through the valley you see a lot of tribes people in their traditional clothing. To see some real village life you can visit the some markets. In Jinka there is a market on Saturday and in Turmi on Monday. From these two the market in Turmi was the best.




  • Although there are ATM's for Visa in Ethiopia we did not used them much (only in Addis). Our experience is, just when you need money there is no ATM around. We therefore mainly changed cash. With Euro's we got a better rate than with Dollars.

  • Whether you go through the Omo valley or not. Fill up your tanks in Ethiopia as fuel is much more expensive in Kenya

  • During our stay in Ethiopia we did not had an insurance. In Addis we tried to the Comesa (yellow card), but the insurance company only wanted to issue this for Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. Finally we got our Comesa in Nairobi (Kenya).

  • If you want to travel through to Omo valley make sure you carry enough diesel. When you fill up in Arba Minch you need fuel for about 1200 km. If you cannot carry this much you can also buy fuel in Jinka or in Omorate (only in drums). On the Kenyan side you fill up no sooner that in Maralal or Marsabit.

  • In Omorato you can change your Birr for Shilling (not the best rate however)

  • When you enter Kenya through the Omo valley, make sure you change some shilling in Omorate. Maralal or Marsabit is the first place where you can get money and coming from the north you need some shillings before.

  • In Omorate you are allowed to camp at the police station. This however is not a very great place. If you do not need to wait for the immigration, you can better head for the border and bush camp somewhere on the road. As long as you do this on the Ethiopian side this is safe.

  • In Addis we camped at the Baro hotel. Personally we did not like this place very much. From other travellers we heard, that the Sheraton also allows camping. As we did not tried this we do not know if it true or what the price is, but it will be definitely worth trying.

  • If you want to visit the churches of Lalibela, use flee powder as the churches are full with flees and take an extra pair of socks as you are not allowed to keep your shoes on.

  • When you want to take pictures from tribes people in the Omo Valley you have to pay. When you visit this area take a whole bundle of 1 Birr notes.



  • Metama (border) - Gonder: 220 km piste with here and there stones and corrugations

  • Gonder - Debark: Piste, about 5 hours driving

  • Gonder - Bahir Dar: brand new tarmac, 2-3 hours

  • Werota - Lalibela: Bad piste. This trip will take a whole day. After the turn off to Lalibela the piste gets a bit better and the last 18 kilometers is tarmac.

  • Lalibela - Weldiya: Untill you get on the road from Werota it is OK, but after the turn off the piste is bad. The last part is going down hill.

  • Weldiya - Kombocha: Bad piste, the are working on the road here.

  • Kombocha - Addis Ababa: Tarmac, but on most parts it is very bad with a lot of potholes. This will be a bumpy ride.

  • Addis Ababa - Awassa: Good tarmac

  • Awassa - Arba Minch: Tarmac

  • Arba Minch - Omorate (only 4x4): After Arba Minch the tarmac ends. All the roads leading to the Omo Valley and through the Omo valley itself are mud roads. Some in  reasonable condition but some bad. The worst part is from Key-Afar to Turmi. You will have to cross many rivers. In dry season all the roads will be ok, but when it rains they can be very muddy. To be safe, especially in wet season it is better not to travel this stretch with one car.


Important addresses


Nederlandse ambassade in Ethiopie
Old Airport Zone
Addis Abeba
P.O. Box 1241
Addis Abeba
Tel. 00-251-1-711100
Fax 00-251-1-711577
Open: maandag-vrijdag 08.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00



Trip to Danakil Depression -

Forum Danakil Depression -





Grid: Lat/Lon hddd°mm.mmm"

Lalibela N11.41.233 E038.55.333 Junction   Junction road to Lalibela
Addis Ababa N09.01.148 E038.42.994 Embassy   Dutch Embassy in Addis
Addis Ababa N09.00.348 E038.46.125 Camping Wanza Hotel Very small court yard where camping is allowed. Owner is very friendly. Neigbourhood is more convenient than Baro hotel
Shehedi N12.34.526 E036.51.921 Bush camp   Nice bush camp with a great view between Shehedi and Gonder
Gonder N12.36.634 E037.28.316 Camping Belegez hotel Camping on the court yard. Clean place, laundry, water and friendly staff.
Debark N13.09.167 E037.53.905 Camping Simien Park hotel Camping on the court yard. Place is basic, but one of the best options in town.
Bahar Dar N11.35.825 E037.23.146 Camping Ghion hotel Camping in garden of the hotel close to the lake. Shower in one of the rooms. Internet available.
Werota N11.55.329 E037.41.629 Camping Yadame Tesfa hotel Camping on the parking of the hotel. Shower and toilet in a room.
Lalibela N12.02.110 E039.02.811 Camping Seven Olives hotel Camping on the parking of the hotel. Shower and toilet in a room. Good restaurant, but place is very noisy.
Weldiya N11.50.026 E039.36.347 Camping Lal hotel Free camping on the parking. Public toilet in the lounge. No shower.
Debre Birhan N09.41.046 E039.32.468 Camping Helen Hotel Camping on the parking of the hotel. For shower and toilet you get the key of the public toilet. There are a lot of people going to the bar of the hotel.
Addis Ababa N09.01.843 E038.45.217 Camping Baro hotel Camping on the court yard. We stayed here but did not liked it. Unfriendly neighbourhood with prostitutes.
Awassa N07.04.627 E038.29.050 Camping Adenium Best place to camp in Ethiopia. Clean toilet and shower, veranda and kitchen. Dinner is possible, Jana is a great cook.
Arba Minch N06.00.321 E037.33.101 Camping Bekella Mola hotel Camping with a great view. Good restaurant.
Key Afar N05.31.198 E036.43.995 Camping Aman Hotel Place is actually not a hotel, but a bar. It has no facilities and the toilet is dirty hole next to the goats. Camping in front of the hotel is allowed
Jinka N05.46.289 E036.34.995 Camping Rocky campsite Nice campsite. Facilities are OK. 
Turmi N04.58.153 E036.29.761 Camping Evangadi Camp Camping and facilities are not special but OK. Camp site is close to a well where Hamer people come to get water.
Omorate N04.48.155 E036.02.964 Camping Police station Camping is allowed at the police station. No facilities but it is for free.
Shehedi N12.46.600 E036.24.457 Various Customs There is no customs at the border in Metama, but you can get your Carnet stamped here.
Bahar Dar N11.36.866 E037.24.984 Various Cheese makery Cheese makery with real Dutch cheese!
Addis Ababa N09.00.901 E038.45.241 Various Customs Customs in Addis. Get Carnet exit stamp here if you plan the leave Ethiopia through the Omo valley
Addis Ababa N09.01.135 E038.45.899 Hotel Hilton hotel Hilton hotel has an ATM for Visa
Omorate N04.48.333 E036.03.037 Various Immigration Immigration office in Omorate
Addis Ababa N09.01.325 E038.45.081 Various Immigration Immigration office in Addis Ababa
Debre Zeit N08.45.634 E038.57.562 Various Genesis Farm Farm where you can buy good vegetables, eggs and cheese.
Addis Ababa N08.58.877 E038.45.800 Landrover   Modern Landrover Dealer
Addis Ababa N09.00.535 E038.45.866 Laundry    
Bahar Dar N11.36.048 E037.24.098 SDA-church    
Addis Ababa N09.00.989 E038.45.313 SDA-church    
Debark N13.08.963 E037.53.692 Place of interest   Ticket office Simien Mountains NP
Simien N13.09.964 E037.57.766 Place of interest   Entrance Simien Mountains NP
  N04.27.215 E036.14.021 Various   Border stone on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya
N04.38.815 E036.11.465 Various   Public water pump