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Ethiopia Tour: Journey into the Medieval Past

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Do I need a visa for the Ethiopia tour?

A: All US, Canadian and European visitors must obtain a visa upon arrival. No photo is required. The current fee is US$20, subject to change.


Q: Is there a risk of malaria?

A: There is a malaria risk in Bahir Dar and the Afar region. All other destination cities on the Ethiopia tour are reported malaria free.          


Q: Will we travel to high altitudes?

A: We’ll reach an altitude of 3,300 meters (10,800 feet) in the Simien Mountains, where overexertion and dehydration could increase the risk and worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness. Please take every precaution to mitigate the risk. If you are susceptible to altitude sickness, you might consider taking Acetazolamide (Diamox). However, you should do so only on medical advice, with knowledge of the proper dosing regimen and side effects.


Q: How can I reduce the risk of foodborne illness?

A. Drink & brush your teeth only with purified water, avoid ice in drinks, and close your mouth in the shower. Some health care providers and many frequent travelers recommend acidophilus, Pepto Bismol or Dukoral for prevention.


Q: How much carry-on luggage can I take?

A: Ethiopian Airlines strictly enforces a weight limit of 20 kg (40 lbs.) per person on domestic flights.


Q: Are there any dress codes that I must observe?

A: It is mandatory to wear conservative clothing in churches. You are required to remove your shoes, but socks are permitted. Women must cover their heads with a scarf or chapel veil (not a hat). Men must remove hats.


Q: What should I know about money?

A: The Ethiopian currency is the birr (ETB) and the prevailing exchange rate as of this writing is $1 = 18 ETB or GBP£1= 29 ETB. Except for large hotels, almost no place accepts credit cards or travelers cheques. You may obtain birr at an airport ATM or Currency Exchange Bureau, and at hotels and banks. US$ are easiest to exchange, but CA$ and GBP£ are also accepted. Be sure to save your exchange or ATM receipt. It is required to exchange excess birr back to your currency.


Q: May I photograph the people?

A: Ethiopians are very photogenic, and most don’t mind being photographed. Nevertheless, always ask permission, and be sensitive to the fact that some might not want to be photographed.  Photographing people against their will is disrespectful and an invasion of their privacy.

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