While Ethiopia is generally a safe country, and few travellers report problems, the border regions have long been turbulent.
The FCO does not recommend travel within 10km of the borders, as well as in parts of eastern and northern Ethiopia near Somalia and Eritrea – though these regions are well away from the main tourist sites. Check the safety situation
before visiting the Danakil Depression.
Take care in busy areas, such as markets and festivals, and be wary of young children who approach you in the cities.
Selling you something may be a distraction while they pickpocket you. Never have valuables on show.
Health and safety standards are poor in Ethiopia.
Boats are unlikely to have lifejackets, roads are unpaved and unlit and accessing sites such as the Lalibela churches, for example, will include walking up and down rough steps and paths – with no handrails.
Driving at night is not recommended;
there may be wild animals, livestock and donkey carts on the road, and local driving standards are low.
You may not take more than 200 birr out of the country.
You may be arrested or fined if taking more than this, so be careful how much you withdraw – and leave any excess as a tip for hotel staff or your guide.
It is possible to camp in the Omo Valley but check with your tour company on the latest security situation
, and be sure that local tribes are happy with you camping nearby. Confrontations have occurred in the past.
Ethiopia’s highlands are surprisingly cold and wet
– temperatures can drop below freezing at night in winter – and many travellers are poorly prepared.
Conversely, other regions, are scorchingly hot and dry – the Danakil Desert is one of the hottest places on earth, with no shade. Pack, and dress, appropriately.
Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness
– which may occur from 2,500m upwards. If you feel ill, descending even a few hundred metres will help greatly. Keep well hydrated and also remember your sun screen; although it’s cold, you’re still very close to the equator and altitude magnifies the sun’s power.
Consult the FCO website for more information on health and safety in Ethiopia.