Ethiopia travel advice

Latest updates: Entry and exit requirements – updated information on entry requirements when arriving by land

Last updated: ET

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Risk level


Avoid non-essential travel to Ethiopia due to civil unrest, violence, armed conflict and crime. The security situation can deteriorate without warning.

This advisory excludes Addis Ababa where you should exercise a high degree of caution.

Additional regional advice and advisories are in effect. Our ability to provide consular assistance is limited in some regions.

Addis Ababa - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Addis Ababa due to the high crime rate and the risk of spontaneous demonstrations becoming violent. Ongoing armed conflict and civil unrest in other parts of the country could spread to major cities without warning.

Northern regions - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the following areas in the northern regions due to armed conflict, civil unrest and the unpredictable security situation:

  • Amhara
  • Benishangul-Gumuz
  • Tigray, except the city of Mekele and the connecting corridors to the following towns where you should avoid non-essential travel:
    • northward to Adigrat along road A2
    • west and northwest to Abiy Addi, Adwa and Shire along B30 and C23
    • soutward to Maychew along road A2


Central regions - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the following areas in the central regions due to civil unrest, violent crime, kidnapping, armed conflict and airstrikes:

  • Gambella
  • Sidama
  • the following zones in the Oromia region:
    • North Shewa
    • West Shewa, except the A4 highway, from Addis to and including Ambo where you should avoid non-essential travel
    • West Wollega
    • East Wollega
    • Kellem Wollega
    • Horo Gudru Wollega


Border areas - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the following border areas due to ongoing instability, military activity, banditry, the high risk of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, violence and landmines:

  • 10 km of the border with Eritrea
  • 100 km of the Somali region border with Somalia and Kenya
  • 30 km of the border with Somalia in Fafan zone, except for road C104, the town of Wajale and its border crossing where you should avoid non-essential travel
  • 10 km of the border with Somalia in the Sitti zone
  • 20 km of the border with Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan


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Safety and security

The situation is volatile and unpredictable in several areas throughout the country due to ethnic conflicts. Violent clashes occur, especially near regional borders. 

Frequent incidents of civil unrest can lead to violence. Sporadic roadblocks, curfews and disruptions to telecommunications services are possible throughout the country.

If you travel to Ethiopia:

  • expect a heightened security presence
  • ensure that your travel documents are up to date
  • carry identification documents at all times
  • make sure to stop at all checkpoints and roadblocks, even if they appear unattended
  • if you are stopped by security forces, stay calm and follow instructions

Amhara region

The state of emergency, declared by the Ethiopian authorities on August 14, 2023, remains in effect in the Amhara region due to continued clashes between armed groups and security forces.

While a state of emergency is in effect, police and military have the power to:

  • restrict freedom of movement and assembly
  • enter private properties to conduct searches
  • detain persons of interest

There is increasing and spreading violence in the Amhara region. The majority of the instability is taking place in towns and villages along the A2 and B22 highways, as well as along the southern part of the A3 highway. The cities of Lalibela, Bahir Dar and Gondar have also been affected. The safety and security situation is changing rapidly and includes violent clashes between armed groups in and around cities, towns and airports. Road blocks and curfews are also being used to restrict movements.

Due to the potential for violence to increase and spread in this region, you are at high risk of encountering movement restrictions and having no access to communications.

If you are in the Amhara region affected by the armed conflict:

  • monitor local media to stay informed on the evolving situation
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • shelter-in-place until the situation stabilizes and until it is safe to leave the region (flights and land transportation may be disrupted)
  • register with ROCA ( to receive important safety updates from the Government of Canada
  • contact the Embassy of Canada in Addis Ababa by email if you require consular assistance:

Violent clashes between armed groups occur. Inter-ethnic disputes in Amhara have resulted in casualties, including civilians. Although foreigners are generally not targeted, there is a risk that you could be caught up in violence.

Tigray region

A cessation of hostilities agreement was signed on November 2, 2022 between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), after two years of armed conflict. The agreement has yet to be fully implemented and there remains uncertainty regarding its implications for security in the region.

Travel in and out of the Tigray region can be restricted without notice and food insecurity remains a major concern. Heightened security measures are in place.

Danakil Depression (Afar region)

Foreign tourists were targeted by armed groups in the past.

If you decide to travel to the Danakil Depression:

  • always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company escorted by official security forces
  • be aware of excessive heat and difficult terrain
  • maintain a full tank of gas
  • keep a supply of water and non-perishable snacks
Cross border tensions with Eritrea are a concern. Although the demining operation is completed in the area, residual landmines still pose a threat to your safety. 

Border areas

Border areas, including regional borders, often see higher criminal activity and violence, including in rural areas. Confrontations between organized criminal groups, ethnic groups, and Ethiopian authorities pose a risk.


The border with Eritrea is still a heavily militarized security corridor despite the peace agreement signed in 2018. Armed conflict could erupt without notice. Due to the conflict in Tigray, border roads and border crossings with Eritrea are closed. Conditions at the border may change without notice. Landmines pose a risk.


Inter-ethnic conflicts and banditry are frequent near the border with Kenya. Security forces regularly carry out military operations, which periodically raises tensions.

Cross-border violence also occurs. Armed groups hostile to the Government of Ethiopia operate in several areas near the border.

Terrorists maintain a presence in this area, and ethnic conflict has been reported. This includes but is not limited to the Konso Zone and surrounding areas. Kidnapping also poses a risk in this area.


Sporadic armed clashes over disputed land occur. The risk of terrorism and kidnapping is high in this area.  Landmines pose a threat to safety.

South Sudan

Ethnic tensions and sporadic violence are common. Ethnic militias from South Sudan have crossed into Ethiopia to attack rival communities. The security situation is extremely unstable. The threat of violent crime, civil unrest and tribal clashes is high. Kidnapping and landmines pose a threat to safety.

Gambella region

Ethnic conflict, violent crime and sporadic violence are of concern in the city of Gambella and its surrounding areas. Armed clashes have caused casualties and damage to foreign companies’ installations in the area.

Somali region

Terrorist groups maintain a presence in Somali towns near the Ethiopian border, presenting a risk for cross-border attacks and kidnappings. Violent crime, including armed robbery, occurs. Violent clashes between armed groups and security forces, as well as ethnic violent, are common. Landmines pose a threat to safety.

Oromia region

Demonstrations, civil unrest, violent crime, armed conflicts, and clashes between security forces and armed groups occur in Oromia, including in areas bordering Amhara. There is a threat of kidnapping. Roadside attacks have also taken place.  These incidents are particularly prevalent in the following zones:

  • West Wellega and the main Addis Ababa to Gambella road (A4 highway)
  • East Wellega
  • Kellem Wellega
  • Horro-Guduru Wellega
  • Shewa

The security situation could deteriorate without warning. A heightened security presence remains throughout these areas. Local authorities may impose curfews without notice. Internet and cellular data outages could occur.

  • avoid military, police and security installations
  • exercise extreme caution
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Benishangul Gumuz region

Civil unrest, including armed conflicts, has resulted in deaths. Violent clashes can occur without warning due to local ethnic tensions.

Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples region

Armed conflicts and civil unrest have occurred sporadically across the region.  These have led to casualties and mass arrests. Residents have also randomly attacked cars and disrupted road travel. Militia attacks have also occurred. 

The security situation could deteriorate without warning. A heightened security presence remains throughout these areas. Local authorities may impose curfews without notice. Internet and cellular data outages could occur. 


Kidnapping occurs, especially in the Somali, Gambella and Oromia regions, as well as in the border areas with Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea (Danakil Depression).

If you are travelling in a region prone to kidnapping:

  • get professional security advice
  • arrange for personal security
  • change your travel patterns regularly
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • avoid displaying signs of affluence
  • don’t travel alone


Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging, occurs, especially in Addis Ababa. Incidents are mostly opportunistic. However, they have been increasingly reported in the following areas:

  • the Bole Medhanealem
  • the Bole Atlas
  • the Meskel Square
  • the Merkato
  • the Entoto
  • Yeka Hills

Theft from parked cars and burglaries in vacant residences also occur, especially in rural areas, where the police response is limited.

Crime significantly increases after dark.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas
  • Avoid displaying any signs of affluence in public
  • Avoid walking alone after sundown
  • Choose living accommodations that have good security measures
  • Keep car doors locked while you’re in your vehicle
  • Park your car in a well-lit and guarded area
  • Be vigilant if approached by strangers seeking assistance
  • If threatened, hand over valuables without resistance
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times

Violent crime

Violent crime is rare in Addis Ababa, but happens. Westerners have been victims of armed assaults and muggings.

If threatened:

  • stay calm and don’t resist
  • comply with the robbers’ requests

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Demonstrations take place regularly, especially across the Oromia region and Addis Ababa. They can occur without warning. Ethnic tensions and territorial disputes in this area have led to demonstrations and civil unrest near the regional state borders.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)


There is a threat of terrorism. Regional terror groups continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in Ethiopia, including in Addis Ababa.  Domestic terror groups also pose an increased threat in some regions, like the Somali region.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.


Ethiopia is primarily a cash-based economy but credit card and ATM fraud may sometimes occur, especially in large cities. There have been reports of unauthorized charges. Connectivity issues may also be a problem.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Outages and shortages


Power outages are frequent nationwide, particularly during the dry season from November to June. Local authorities may impose power rationing.

Not all buildings have generators. Outages can result in lack of street lighting, restaurants and supermarkets without adequate refrigeration, and gas stations unable to supply fuel.


Although there are some plans to improve the network, cellular coverage is unreliable and connectivity remains an issue in several parts of the country.

Local authorities also control telecommunications and may shut down both cell phone and internet systems during periods of civil unrest or ahead of a large planned protest.

You should not rely on your cell phone in case of emergency, especially outside major cities.

  • Avoid travelling alone
  • Inform relatives of your itinerary

Fuel and food

Periodic fuel and food shortages occur. This may create social tensions and increase food prices.

  • Carry flashlights
  • Plan to have adequate water, food and fuel supplies

Road safety

Driving standards, vehicle maintenance and road conditions are often poor throughout the country. Traffic accidents are a regular occurrence, especially in Addis Ababa and on the Addis Ababa–Djibouti road.

Apart from major arteries, roads are generally unpaved. They often lack markings and signage, reflectors and shoulders, even in urban areas. They are poorly lit and maintained.

Drivers often drive at excessive speed and don’t respect traffic laws. They may be reckless. Poorly maintained vehicles, roaming animals and pedestrians pose further hazards. Armed robbery, carjacking and landmines also pose a threat, especially in border areas

There is no road assistance and emergency services are limited to nonexistent in several areas. Although improving, the cellular coverage remains unstable outside main cities.

  • Avoid driving after dark
  • Always keep your gas tank full when in remote areas
  • Always carry a first-aid kit, as medical facilities are often undersupplied
  • Advise a relative of your anticipated itinerary and route
  • If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and don’t attempt to pass it
  • Don’t rely on your phone for navigation or emergency contacts


Traffic accidents occur regularly throughout Ethiopia. Traffic often moves unpredictably.

Under Ethiopian law, it is illegal to move your vehicle before a police officer arrives if an accident occurs. Large crowd may gather and could become hostile and aggressive.

If involved in an accident:

  • avoid confrontation
  • call the local police and remain at the scene of the accident until they arrive
  • should you feel unsafe, leave immediately and report the incident to the nearest police station

Public transportation

Most public transport is unregulated and unsafe. Hire private transport from a reliable source or use transportation provided by your hotel.


Minibuses and large buses are often old, poorly maintained and overcrowded.

Some buses have been attacked on their way from one region to another.

Only use buses from the airport that have been organised by your hotel or your tour operator.


Rail services are limited and trains are poorly maintained. Avoid travelling by train.


Taxis are generally unsafe.

If travelling by taxi:

  • only use metered taxis
  • choose yellow taxis rather than white or blue ones
  • make sure you are the only passenger in the vehicle

Hiking in the Danakil Depression

Weather conditions in the Danakil depression area can be fairly arid. Facilities are basic. There is no running water and medical options are very limited.

You should prepare for excessive heat and difficult terrain, namely around the Erta Ale Volcano.

If you intend on hiking in this area despite the advisory in place:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to harassment and verbal abuse.

Advice for women travellers

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from Ethiopian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Ethiopia.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links


Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Transit visa: required

Canadians must have a valid visa to enter the country. You may obtain a visa online. If you overstay your visa, you may face daily fines and imprisonment.

You need the proper visa if you want to conduct a business or volunteering activity. If you fail to do so, you may be fined or detained.

  • Obtain a visa online before arrival
  • Verify carefully that your visa is valid
  • Ensure that your activities in the country adhere to the type of visa you have obtained

Ethiopian e-Visa – Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Other entry and exit requirements

Authorities may request additional documents if you enter Ethiopia by vehicle at certain border crossings.

Contact the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, to determine specific entry requirements at land borders.

When arriving by land, ensure to cross at an official border point and to obtain an entry stamp from Ethiopian Immigration. If you fail to do so, you’ll be fined upon departure.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.


  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are arriving from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, or Venezuela or have transited through an airport in one of these countries.


About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.


Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.


Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 


In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 


The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified this country as no longer poliovirus-infected but at high risk of an outbreak. Polio can be prevented by vaccination.


  • Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.


 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Meningococcal disease

This destination is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area which has the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the world. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. 

Travellers who are at higher risk should discuss vaccination with a health care provider. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 



Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  


There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and rural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.


There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Cutaneous and mucosal Leishmaniasis

Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

Visceral Leishmaniasis

Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly.  Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.

  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.

Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Cutaneous anthrax

Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria. People can get sick with anthrax if they come into contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals.
Travellers to areas where anthrax is common or where an outbreak is occurring in animals can get sick with anthrax if:

  • they have contact with infected animal carcasses or eat meat from animals that were sick when slaughtered
  • they handle animal parts, such as hides, wool or hair, or products made from those animal parts, such as animal hide drums.

If you are visiting these areas, do not eat raw or undercooked meat and avoid contact with livestock, wildlife, animal products, and animal carcasses.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Health care is inadequate, except in private hospitals of Addis Ababa where you can expect reasonable standard of basic care for minor health problems. Otherwise, health facilities are not up to Canadian standards. They lack of personnel, equipment, supplies and medications.

Ambulance services are extremely limited and unreliable.

Ensure that you always carry a comprehensive medical pack when travelling.

You will likely need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Altitude sickness

Addis Ababa is located about 2500 metres above sea level. Acute mountain sickness may occur at high altitudes.

Be well informed about the potential health hazards at high altitudes.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Death penalty

Ethiopian authorities may apply the death penalty for serious offences.


All illicit drugs are illegal except khat, a local stimulant. Khat is illegal in several countries. Don’t attempt to export it.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

Ethiopia is used as a drug trafficking hub between Western markets and southern Asia for heroin.

  • Carry only your personal belongings, and don’t leave them unattended
  • Don’t agree to carry packages that are not your own

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Ethiopian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to 15 years in prison.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Ethiopia.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Ethiopia.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Ethiopia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Ethiopia.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Ethiopia by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Ethiopia to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links


You must carry photo ID with you at all times, as local authorities can ask you to prove your identity.

Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated.


It’s illegal to carry a firearm in Ethiopia.


It’s illegal to own any quantity of ivory, including in jewellery.

Antiques or religious paraphernalia

You may not export real antiques or religious items.

Tourist souvenirs are often copies of Ethiopian antiques or religious paraphernalia.

If buying such items, ensure that you have a receipt, clearly indicating that it’s a souvenir and not authentic. However, be aware that authorities may confiscate items purchased for export or for personal use, especially ceremonial knives, even if you present a receipt.


It’s strictly prohibited to photograph:

  • military installations
  • police and military personnel
  • industrial facilities
  • government buildings and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, dams and airfields

Never stop near a restricted area, no matter the reason, on foot or in a vehicle.

Street vendors

It is illegal to give money to, or purchase something from, people who approach vehicles stopped in traffic, including children.

If caught, both the beggar/vendor and the vehicle operator face fines.

Social media

Writing on blogs or social media about political subjects could lead to detention and arrest.

Cell phones

You can use one cell phone or tablet on the network of the sole, state-owned telecommunications provider, Ethio Telecom.

Additional devices are subject to a customs fee of 10% of the total cost of the device, as well as the activation fee.

Other electronic devices

You must declare all laptop computers and video equipment other than those for personal use upon arrival and departure. Some recording devices may require special customs permits.

If you will be using these items for work, obtain permission to bring them into the country from the Embassy of Ethiopia in Ottawa or the Consulate of Ethiopia in Toronto.

Foreign representatives in Canada


In 2025, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around February 28.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when:

  • drinking
  • eating
  • smoking

Orthodox Christian

The Ethiopian highlands population is predominantly Orthodox Christian. There is fasting in this region every Wednesday and Friday, and during Lent.

  • Always obtain permission from religious authorities before visiting churches
  • Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities

Time of day

Many people in Ethiopia use the Ethiopian clock.

According to the Ethiopian clock, unlike the convention in most countries, the start of the day is dawn rather than midnight. As a result, daytime hours are counted beginning from what would be 6 a.m. For instance, the time at one hour after dawn – 7 a.m. –  would be 1 a.m. on the Ethiopian clock.

Most hotels and larger organisations, including all airlines, use the global clock. However, many individuals or smaller organisations continue to use the Ethiopian clock.

Check with your host if you are unsure which clock is being used for a meeting or an event.


You must have a local driver’s licence to drive in Ethiopia. You must present your valid Canadian driver’s licence or an International Driving Permit to obtain one.

If you're involved in an accident, don’t move your vehicle before a police officer arrives. It's illegal to do so.

International Driving Permit


The currency of Ethiopia is the birr (ETB).

Credit cards are not widely accepted except by large hotels, travel agencies and a few shops and restaurants in Addis Ababa. ATMs are very limited outside urban areas and may run out of cash without notice.

Make sure you have access to hard-currency cash in case of emergency.

It is illegal to enter or exit Ethiopia with more than 1,000 birr.

You may enter or exit Ethiopia with up to US$3,000 or its equivalent in any convertible foreign currency. This doesn’t include birr. However:

  • if you enter with more, you must declare the funds upon arrival
  • if you exit with more, you must have at least one of the following:
    • a bank document certifying the purchase of the foreign currency and approving travel with the funds or
    • a customs declaration form made upon entry

Be aware that even the provision of such documents may not safeguard you against confiscation of the extra funds, imprisonment or fines. Policies may change at any time without notice.

Exchanging money on the black market is illegal. Exchange foreign currency at banks or official foreign exchange offices only as you may face heavy fines or detention.

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Natural disasters and climate


Due to below-average rainfall for several years in a row, Ethiopia is experiencing severe drought.

Local services and the availability of water and basic food may be affected.

You may encounter difficulties travelling overland.

Rainy season

The rainy season normally extends from June to September. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides. 

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Follow instructions from local authorities, including evacuation orders


Ethiopia is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes may occur.

Earthquakes - What to Do? 

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 991.

Consular assistance

Addis Ababa - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressSarbet, Lideta Kifle Ketema, Wereda 08, House no. 122, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaPostal AddressP.O. Box 1130, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaTelephone251 (0) 11 317 0000Fax251 (0) 11 317 0040Emailconsul.addis@international.gc.caInternet Embassy of Canada to EthiopiaTwitterCanada in EthiopiaConsular district


Appointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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