Ethiopia is a fascinating country. Very beautiful and half of the country is situated on a plateau making it close to heaven. The culture is very different from the rest of Africa. It ticks all the boxes for making it an interesting destination. It is not an easy country to travel in. Depend of course of your comfort level. And for a cheap skate like me it is very hard to keep your cash in your pocket. But there is a lot to see, and Ethiopia has a lot of mouths to feed and you should be ready to pay for the privilege for visiting this incredible country. Actually this is not a problem. The regrets are as always the things you do not do.
First the important stuff.
VISA: You probably need. Online; https://www.ethiopiaevisa.com/
In reality you do not need to apply. You can easily get one when you arrive. But check it out before arriving at the airport.
Ethiopia Airlines: https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/
This is important if you are planning to do a lot of flying. Ethiopia is a vast country. Getting from A to B takes a lot of valuable travel time. So flying is a nice option. If you arrive in Ethiopia with EA you will get a huge discount on internal flights. Sometimes like whopping 70 %
Ethiopia time. Don’t get me started. During my time there it made things a little difficult as I was on normal time and the Ethiopians were on local time. Ethiopians use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 from dawn to dusk, and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. It makes perfectly sense to adjust time to follow daylight and in that way follow a normal work cycle.
Ethiopian calendar. Well – Starts end of August and is 7-8 years back in comparison with our calendar. The Ethiopian year has 13 months.
Guidebooks are nice: LP or BRADT. Either is good. On the funny part getting a boat ride in Bahir Dar the tout insisted that he knew Bradt. The Bradt he knew was a man. This is funny – because Bradt is a woman (Hilary) and the guy who wrote the Ethiopia book name is Phillip.
Bring USD. ATM’s are available and sometimes working. There is a black market for USD, but I wouldn’t use it.
Haile Selassie (in office 1916–1974); Still today he is treated with respect all over Ethiopia. Asked older people will say that everything was better under his rule, even though he didn’t do much for the average Ethiopian. He ended his life under the DERG and his remains was found under the toilet at the imperial residence in Addis. So his life ended much different that he lived it.
What I find really interesting is why is Haile Selassie born as Ras Tafari, is considered a God 8000 km from where he ruled? All the way to Jamaica.
Rastafarians regard Haile Selassie I as God because Marcus Garvey‘s prophecy – “Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be the Redeemer” – was swiftly followed by the ascension of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia. (BBC).
Rastafarians regard ‘Ethiopia’ as their homeland and believe they will eventually return.
So it all comes down to timing, that Haile Selassie was regarded as “God for the black race”. He didn’t at all think of himself as a God.
ONE LOVE – Jaws