Ethiopia Travel Tips: Visa Application, Sightseeing & Travel Advice

Flag of Ethiopia

Ethiopia – a country filled with cultural diversity and incredible landscapes.

Here you will discover delightful landscapes, tasty food, interesting history and the world’s most sensational coffee.

With 80 ethnic groups who speak more than 80 languages and practice different religions, Ethiopia’s cultural diversity is huge.

The capital city Addis Ababa is particularly popular with tourists and is located in central Ethiopia.

If you’re planning on travelling to Ethiopia whether it’s for a couple of weeks or a long excursion, you may be unsure of a number of things like the visa application process or things to do when you get there.

In this guide, we will detail everything you need to know about your Ethiopian visa application.

We will also give you some important travel advice and tips as well as some ideas for places to go sightseeing.

Ethiopia Visa Application

The Ethiopian eVisa

Unless you are a national of Djibouti or Kenya, you must obtain a visa to visit Ethiopia.

You can visit Ethiopia for a holiday or business trip with the Ethiopian eVisa.

This is a single entry visa and can be valid for either 30 or 90 days (this is for Tourist Visa).

The Business eVisa will be valid for 30 days. The validity of this visa begins the date that you arrive in Ethiopia and not the date the visa is issued.

Citizens of all countries are eligible for the eVisa, provided that they meet the requirements and can provide the documents that are required.

It is important to note that due to Covid-19, it is currently recommended to avoid any non-essential travel to Ethiopia.

How to apply for the Ethiopian eVisa

If you’re planning a trip to Ethiopia for tourist purposes, you should apply for your Ethiopian Tourist eVisa.

In order to apply for this eVisa, you can apply online or you may be able to apply when you arrive at the immigration checkpoint in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Visa on arrival is only permitted for nationals of:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti (Exempted – Allowed to enter without visa.)
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong, China
  • India
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kenya (Exempted – Allowed to enter without visa.)
  • Macau, China
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


If you opt to obtain your visa on arrival, you should note that it will only be valid for up to 3 months.

Not to mention that due to Covid 19, most of the on-arrival services worldwide are suspended.

The Business eVisa can only be applied for online.

Nevertheless, don’t spend your time confusing yourself with the finer details, simply apply today with Visa First!

For more information about the Ethiopian eVisa, visit our website or contact our team who will be more than happy to help you!

What do I need to apply for my Ethiopian eVisa?

If you’re applying with Visa First, we will need you to provide us with a number of documents depending on your travel purpose. The documents you need may include a:

  • Completed questionnaire
  • Passport (with blank pages) for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Ethiopia
  • Recent digital photograph
  • Invitation letter from the Ethiopian company to be visited (applicable for Business eVisa only)
  • Application letter from the Ethiopian company to be visited (applicable for Business eVisa only)
  • Business license (renewed for the fiscal year) of the inviting company  (applicable for Business eVisa only)
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) certificate (renewed for the fiscal year) of the inviting company  (applicable for Business eVisa only)


Mistakes to avoid when applying for an Ethiopian eVisa

  1. Not following the instructions for the visa application form correctly. – Read the instructions it makes life a lot easier!
  2. Excluding necessary documents from your visa application
  3. Providing incorrectly sized passport photos. – If possible, get your passport photos taken professionally it will save you a lot of time!
  4. Not completing your application on time. – Apply for your visa as soon as you know you need to travel!
  5. Becoming overwhelmed and confused with the endless paperwork and reading. – This will make the visa application process a nightmare! Why not let Visa First do it for you and save yourself the time and hassle!


For more tips on what mistakes to avoid when applying for visas, check out our detailed guide.

Sightseeing in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a truly unique and special place. Although it’s not the typical vacation destination for tourists, it offers a very special cultural experience.

When it comes to sightseeing, Ethiopia has some stunning attractions to explore.

There are many natural and historical wonders to be seen.

Below are just five of the many wonderful attractions worth visiting in Ethiopia.

Blue Nile Falls (Tis Abay)

Most incredible during Ethiopia’s rainy season, the Blue Nile Falls are true evidence of the country’s natural beauty.

The waterfall is located 28km from Bahir Dar, it falls from a height of 42 metres and bursts into clouds of mist.

While here, you can enjoy beautiful scenic views, spectacular wildlife and some quaint villages where you can soak in the Ethiopian culture.

waterfall in Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park

One of Ethiopia’s most popular walking destinations, The Simien Mountains National Park is located in Northern Ethiopia.

The park is home to some exotic animals and Ethiopia’s highest mountain Ras Dashen is located within the park.

There is some spectacular scenery of the cliffs and landscape especially from certain observation points in the park.

Lake Tana

Ethiopia’s largest lake,  Lake Tana features some centuries-old monasteries.

For those intrigued by Ethiopia’s ancient culture, you will find some stunning murals in the 20 monastic churches.

A boat trip on this spectacular lake will leave you in awe of the beautiful landscapes.

Babile Elephant Sanctuary

This sanctuary is home to many elephants and other wildlife with 31 different mammals being protected here.

Located 25km from Harar city, the sanctuary has some beautiful rocky scenery.

Watching the giant elephants walk side by side is a truly wonderful experience.

Danakil Depression

One of the most popular attractions in Northern Ethiopia, the Danakil Depression is extremely unusual yet fascinating.

The Danakil Depression is a depression caused by the divergence of three tectonic plates. It is also one of the hottest places on earth!

As you stroll around you may feel like you’re on another planet with the bubbling volcanoes and lava lakes.

Donakil Depression in Ethiopia

Travel tips for travelling to Ethiopia

The best time to visit Ethiopia

This is a tough one and really does depend on what attractions in Ethiopia you want to visit.

Some say October up until February is a good time to visit as this is the dry season.

However, if you’re interested in experiencing true Ethiopian culture, some of Ethiopia’s cultural festivals take place throughout the rainy season.

The best advice we can give you is to do your research on what you want to see and what kind of experience you want to have while you’re in Ethiopia.

Accommodation in Ethiopia

Where you can stay in Ethiopia depends on the region that you visit.

You can choose from a range of accommodation, such as lodges, backpacker hotels and guesthouses across the country.

Food & Drink in Ethiopia

The food in Ethiopia is extremely diverse and is not likely to be similar to anything you have tasted before. 

The staple food is “Injera” which is a sourdough flatbread with a somewhat spongy texture.

Also, Ethiopia is home to the world’s greatest coffee where the beans are cultivated in excellent climate conditions.

Ethiopia is the fifth-largest coffee producer in the world.

If you are looking for a coffee tasting experience like no other, Ethiopia is the place to be.

Who can help me get my Ethiopian eVisa?

Visa First! We are one of the world’s leading providers of visa and immigration services.

Our global visa specialists will take care of the tricky application forms and documents.

We also offer a range of other services to help you to be fully prepared for your trip including passport cover, insurance, language courses etc.

Why choose Visa First?

  • Your dedicated account manager will offer comprehensive solutions to your queries
  • You won’t have to wait in line at an airport or embassy
  • Over 17 years experience in the industry
  • Our qualified visa specialists will ensure your visa application is prepared accurately

Apply for your Ethiopian Visa today with Visa First!



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