Foreign travel advice

Ethiopia

Summary

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of the main road through Axum and Adigrat, and tourist sites close to the road (e.g. Debre Damo and Yeha)

  • areas off the principal roads/towns within 10 km of the borders with Sudan and Kenya

  • within 10 km of the border with South Sudan

  • the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Somali region.

  • within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region

  • the Danakil desert area: north of the Mille-Djibouti and Mille-Chifra roads, and east of the towns of Bere-Ale, Shehet, Didigsala and Chifra

  • the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of the Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder

  • Jijiga town in the Somali region

  • three woredas (districts) of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region that border on South Sudan (Dima, Goge and Etang) and the Gambella wildlife reserve

Demonstrations and violent clashes took place in the Oromia and Amhara regions in 2016. The situation has calmed considerably, but protests may occur with little warning and could turn violent. You should monitor local media, avoid large crowds, remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.

There is tension in the Gondar and Bahir Dar areas of Amhara after two separate explosions in January 2017, both at hotels that aren’t popular with foreign tourists. Police have warned that further attacks may take place during or around the upcoming Timkat Festival (19 January).

On 9 October 2016 the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency. This is expected to last at least 6 months. This announcement followed months of unrest in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

The Ethiopian government has issued a public statement (unofficial translation) outlining the measures in place under the state of emergency. Failure to comply with these measures could lead to detention and/or arrest.

Restrictions on the movement of diplomats beyond Addis Ababa were lifted on 8 November 2016. However, it’s possible that restrictions could be introduced again at short notice. If you’re in Ethiopia and you urgently need help (eg if you’ve been attacked, arrested or there’s been a death), call the British Embassy on +251 (0)11 617 0100.

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and places of worship and during major gatherings like religious or sporting events. There is a threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Somali region, particularly in the eastern areas to which the FCO advise against all travel. See Terrorism

The Ethiopia-Eritrea border remains closed. Several security incidents have taken place along the border. The risk of cross-border tensions remains. There is a threat of kidnapping along the border. See Local travel

Owning ivory is strictly prohibited in Ethiopia. Anyone caught in possession of ivory can expect to be detained by police. See Local laws and customs

Around 20,000 British nationals visit Ethiopia every year. Most visits are trouble free.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.