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The following information should answer many of the immediate questions often asked by tourists travelling to Ethiopia for the first time. For more detailed information on the country and matters such as currency, visas and immunizations, please Contact Us. 


What is the landscape of Ethiopia like?


Ethiopia has a remarkable range of geographical forms. Much of the area covered by the 'historic circuit' is in the Ethiopian Highlands.  This is a large region which is in stark contrast to the desert areas of the Danakil and Ogaden by which Western understanding of Ethiopia is often characterised. The Highlands are a mix of high plateaus and deep ravines.  As a consequence, travelling by road affords breathtaking, if not heart-stopping, views. The Ethiopian Highlands typically have a vigorous rainy season which produces the main source of water for the Nile.  The result is a green period in the Autumn months.  Whilst water is not in abundance at other times of the year, Lake Tana, the Blue Nile and other main rivers are most attractive.


Is Ethiopia densely populated? 


Ethiopia has a population of 70million people, but creates an inspiring sense of wilderness. Much of the Ethiopian Highlands is farmed, but sparsely populated.  For those wishing to experience remote areas, the Highlands have a dramatic sense of space.  In particular, the Simien Mountains represent an area of outstanding natural beauty which can only be explored on foot.  The current lack of visitors outside of the main towns adds to the area’s feeling of remoteness.


What sort of wildlife can be seen in Ethiopia?

 The Ethiopian Highlands form their own eco system.  Many species of flora and fauna are unique to the area.  There are many opportunities for tourists wishing to explore the wide variety of plant and animal life.  For less informed visitors, there is the opportunity to learn something new.


How much history and archaeology is there to see?

 Ethiopia has many outstanding and diverse historical sites. Ethiopia has retained a wealth of history that for many countries was lost through successive invasions and colonisations.  The quality of preservation of many of the buildings is quite remarkable whilst the written texts are outstanding.  The sheer length of time over which the historic buildings were constructed brings an enviable diversity to them.  Ethiopia has a rich and interesting history. 




Are tourists welcome in the country?


Ethiopians are remarkably welcoming and friendly people and their character is a great asset to the country. They are usually very helpful and they exhibit a level of care that is not seen in many Western countries. 


What's the best way to get around such a big country?


Ethiopia is well known for the excellence of its internal air service, with flights to all of the main towns on the 'historic circuit'.  The availability of good internal air transport links allows tourists to travel easily, quickly and confidently between the main centres

What is the best time of year to go there?


Ethiopia currently has a short tourist season from November through to January. Some tourists visit during the summer months from July to September. However, this is the rainy season and so is less popular, particularly in the Highland region.


Is Ethiopia a safe and stable country to travel in?


Ethiopia is currently experiencing some internal tensions in the wake of recent elections, but this does not generally affect the ability of tourists to visit the main sites and areas of interest. Alligan Travel has offices in Addis Ababa and so is able to monitor and advise travellers on security issues at all times. Border hostilities with Eritrea ceased in June 2000, and Some 4,000 UN troops still monitor the Temporary Security Zone between the two opposing armies while the precise delineation of the border is negotiated.  For the latest travel advice from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office click here.


Is Ethiopia still suffering food shortages?


Ethiopia has suffered droughts leading to food crises in 1974, 1984 and 2003. But large parts of the country are now recovering well and the assistance generated by Live Aid and other campaigns is helping to improve the situation. 


Do I need to be concerned about my own personal safety?


Ethiopia appears is as safe as any other country in terms of personal assault and theft.  This is an excellent achievement bearing in mind the low levels of income of many people.  There are occasions when tourists may be approached by a number of people trying to obtain money from tourists. This is normally relatively innocent pestering by groups of children, but your tour guides will normally deal with these situations quickly and with sensitivity.