The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to:
- 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 Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region
- 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)
- within 10 km of the border with South Sudan
- within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region
- within 10 km of the border with Sudan and the other parts of the Kenyan border, with the exception or principal roads/towns
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- all other areas of the Ethiopian Somali Region, including Siti zone, Fafan zone (with the exception of the main road and railway line to Djibouti), and the areas of Liben and Afder zones more than 100km from the Somalia and Kenya borders
- the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder zone
- the two woredas (districts) of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region that border on South Sudan (Dima and, Goge), Etang Special Woreda, and the Gambella wildlife reserve
Around 20,000 British nationals visit Ethiopia every year. Most visits are trouble free but there are a number of issues you should be aware of.
There are protests in various areas around Addis Ababa, with large crowds gathering. The situation is currently calm but tense and may continue for some time – possibly throughout the week. There is also likely to be severe congestion, and roads could become blocked at little or no notice as groups of people move around the city. If you’re travelling in Ethiopia you’re advised to check British Embassy Addis Ababa social media (facebook, twitter), as well as local media for the most current information about the situation.
There are frequent incidences of civil unrest in Ethiopia, including protests and strikes. Some of these can cause temporary closure of roads or disruption to local business and transport, and in the past some have escalated into serious violence. These incidents are often limited in duration and localised. Where they occur, the British Embassy will advise staff to reconsider any travel plans they have to the specified area and not to travel until the situation has calmed. Similarly, you are advised to reconsider travel to areas where disturbances are reported. This travel advice will flag incidents of concern, where British Embassy staff have received advice, but as unrest can occur with little or no notice you are also advised to monitor local news and, if you’re unsure, contact local authorities or reputable tour operators in the areas you’re travelling to.
Tensions are raised in the Somali Regional State and on the border between the Somali and Oromia Regions following clashes in a number of locations, including in the East and West Harerge zones and in the areas surrounding the town of Moyale on the border with Kenya. These clashes have led to a number of deaths. Although there are no reports of foreign nationals being targeted, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities. You should also be aware that road travel – including on the route between Dire Dawa airport and Harar City – may be disrupted.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Ethiopia. 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
Ethiopia is primarily a cash based society and banking facilities, including card payments and ATMs are very limited outside major cities. See Money
Since 2017 it’s no longer possible to use Ethio Telecom SIM cards in mobile devices that haven’t been purchased in Ethiopia or registered with the authorities. If you wish to use Ethiotel SIM cards you must register devices. This can be done at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (after passport control) or at some Ethiotel shops. This may be subject to tax. This change doesn’t affect UK or other international SIM cards.
In May and August 2018, there were reports of Ebola outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo. You may see some additional checks taking place at arrival on all flights into Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. See Health
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.