There are no vaccination requirement for Ethiopia, but we recommend you consult your doctor before travelling. Most health institutions recommend vaccinating against yellow fever and taking malaria prophylaxis especially in case of long stays (over 15 days).
Citizens of most European countries and the USA can be issued with a tourist entry visa at the airport in Addis Ababa, costing $50 or €40. Ethiopian Government has also started to issue electronic visa (e-visa) and more information can be found https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home. If you have any queries about visas, please consult the RIA Ethiopia Sports team.
Currency and exchange rates
The currency in Ethiopia is the Birr, which cannot be purchased outside Ethiopia. The exchange rate is approximately US$ 1= Birr 27 or 1€ = 33 Birr (please consult RIA Ethiopia team in Addis Ababa for up-to-date exchange rate).
There are many banks and hotels in Addis Ababa where you can change your currency into Birr. There are also cash machines/ ATMs in Addis Ababa and other cities, where you can withdraw with Visa debit and credit cards.
Depending on your arrival time you can change money at the airport or at any local bank. Our team will help you find the bank or any other information you might need.
How much cash to bring?
Our travel packages include all services, but we advise you to bring enough money for souvenirs, alcoholic drinks, tips and other personal expenses (approximately € 25 per day per person).
Ethiopia is primarily a cash economy: credit cards are not widely accepted for payment. Outside Addis Ababa, ATMs are few and unreliable.
The widely spoken languages in the area are Amharic and Oromiffa. English is generally not spoken among the general public, although educated and younger people are more likely to speak passable English. Our local guides speak excellent English (and even some Spanish) and will be your interpreters at all times.
Food and drink
- The Ethiopian national dish is called “wat”: a spicy stew eaten with injera, a flat spongy bread. Meals are enjoyed by tearing off a piece of injera and use it to pick up a big bite of wat . Wat is prepared with chicken (doro wat) , beef (sega wat) , lamb, vegetables and seasoned with berbere and kibbeh, a clarified butter. It can also include boiled eggs.
- Although drinking tap water is purified and consumed by a portion of the population , foreign visitors are advised to drink only bottled water . This is widely available in hotels, restaurants and shops in all cities and places visited on tours and in the race.
- During tours Western-style meals will be served alongside some optional Ethiopian dishes. Breakfast will include eggs, locally baked breads , fruit, porridge ( oatmeal) and yogurt. Ethiopia is known for high quality coffee and tea drinks, available with all meals.
- Bottled water, energy drink and recovery snackswill be provided during and after the race. Energy recovery drinks are not available for purchase in Ethiopia. If you want sports drinks on the tour, feel free to bring your own supply in powder form, which can be mixed with bottled water. Similarly, energy bars and gels are not available for purchase in the country.