Ethiopia has a cultural, historical and linguistic identity quite distinct from the rest of Africa, mainly due to the long history periods spent in isolation. Ethiopia is where the Ancient World and Africa meet. Ethiopia is also a land of dramatic natural contrasts.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Area: 1,127,127 sq.km
Capital: Addis Ababa
Largest towns: Dire Daoua, Gonder, Dessie, Harar
Population: 60-70 million
Official language: Amharic.
70 languages are spoken in Ethiopia, English is the most widely spoken European language
Head of state: President Girma Wolde-Giorgis
Life expectancy: 49 years
Literacy: 42,7 %
Bale National Park, Simien Mountain National Park, Rock-hewn churches of Tigray in Lalibela Bahir Dar
Oromo, Amhara, Tigre, Sidamo
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
The Ethiopian landscape is dominated by a volcano formed and dramatically mountainous central plateau, which is isolated on three sides by low-lying desert. The Ethiopian highlands have an average altitude of above 2,000m. The Ethiopian highlands are bisected by the Rift Valley.
The part of the Rift Valley south of Addis Ababa is known for 8 lakes.
Simiens, 4,620m, is the fourth highest peak in Africa. Ethiopia has a huge variation in climate – it receives periodic snowfall and then regular daytime temperatures of 50 degrees in the desert. In the northern section of the country, rain falls between June and October. In the south most of the rainfall occurs between March and May.
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, with the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during World War II.
In 1974 the military junta deposed Emperor Haile Selassie who ruled since 1930.
A socialist state was formed.
After many uprisings, coups, many refugee problems and serious droughts, the EPRDF party brought an end to the socialist state in 1991.
A constitution was formed in 1994 and Ethiopia had its first multiparty election in 1995.
CRIME AND SAFETY
Is generally a very safe country although theft and pick pocketing are fairly common.
One of the strongest currencies in Africa. Can also change money at any government hotel.
Only USD traveller’s cheques are accepted but only changeable in big towns.
Banking – 09:00 to 16:00 weekdays, lunch break is from 12h00-14H00.
POST AND TELEPHONE
It has a good but quite slow internal and international post service. Their phone system is pretty good and international calls pretty cheap.