Ethiopia : Safety by City
The second most populous nation in the entire African continent, Ethiopia, is located in the Horn of Africa and it’s sharing its borders with bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan and South Sudan to the west.
The most interesting fact about Ethiopia is that it has an enormous religious value, being the second-oldest official Christian nation in the world after Armenia and the place for the first Hijra (615 AD) in Islamic history.
It is also the oldest independent country in Africa.
Apart from this religious heritage, Ethiopia has a long history and has persisted through many difficult times, which left this country with a bunch of historic sites, among which are the towns of Axum, Gondar, Harar, and the rock churches of Lalibela and Gheralta.
Apart from this, you can count on many attractions and a plethora of activities you can enjoy like rafting and exploring the country’s mountains, lakes, waterfalls, deserts, etc.
Warnings & Dangers in Ethiopia
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Generally speaking, although security in Ethiopia is sometimes questionable, crime in Ethiopia isn’t as bad as you would expect. Act as you would anywhere else in Africa: apply all possible precaution measures and remain alert to any crime.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
Transport in Ethiopia is risky and tourists should be cautious at all times, especially when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There have been many incidents of highway robberies and carjacking by armed bandits outside urban areas, often resulting in violence. Be wary of other motorists warning you of a mechanical problem or loose tire, as it may just be a ploy to get you to stop the vehicle.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Like in the rest on Africa, pickpockets are widespread in Ethiopia and made this activity into an art. It is the usual crime that tourists will experience, and if they face any inconvenience in African countries, it will most likely be related to petty crime. Also common are the "snatch and run" thefts, both from tourists on the streets and from occupied vehicles in the capital, Addis Ababa.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
The most devastating natural disaster in Ethiopia is drought. By the end of May 2008, millions faced hunger in eastern Ethiopia due to a severe drought that led to crops failing and food prices soaring. Ethiopia was hit by two successive years with extremely small amounts of rain, causing tremendous droughts.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to violent crime, Ethiopia is more or less okay. All African nations hold some degree of risk for tourists, but after you spend some time in it, you quickly learn how to act and where. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas and wandering around major cities after dark.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Ethiopia. The main threat comes from the terrorist group Al-Shabaab which, although based in Somalia, poses a threat across the entire East African region. The group continues to link attacks in the region to Ethiopia’s military presence in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission. Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Bear in mind that taxi drivers may try to overcharge you, so always agree on the price before getting in, and avoid getting into unlicensed cabs. Always check your change twice, and agree on everything beforehand. There is a common scam performed by motorists, warning drivers of a mechanical problem or a flat tire, trying to get them to stop their vehicle.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
If you are a female solo traveler, you are advised to reject rides from strangers, or taxi drivers who appear unlicensed. Be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.
So... How Safe Is Ethiopia Really?
Though like anywhere in Africa, it is still very important to remain vigilant at all times, as far as crime goes, Ethiopia is not that dangerous of a country.
Compared to Kenya, South Africa and some other countries in Africa, Ethiopia actually has relatively low crime rates.
However, it is still highly advised not to venture to the eastern parts of the country beyond the city of Harar, as Somali separatist groups occasionally launch guerilla attacks there.
When it comes to robberies and other forms of violent crimes, they do not represent a major problem in the cities and towns of this country.
However, the places where you should be cautious are roads in Ethiopia, as there have been many reports of highway robberies, carjackings, armed robberies, and similar occurrences.
If you must travel outside major towns, do it during daylight and if at all possible, travel in convoys.
An issue to be aware of is the fact that outside of Addis, you will probably run into children asking for money, usually greeting you with a: “Hello money”.
A common scam is them asking you to buy them a dictionary for school and conveniently, they cost up to $50 each in the overpriced bookshops.
You should know that this is a scam.
As awful as you may feel ignoring them, know that these are all lies to try and make you give them money that they might spend on buying something that isn’t a life necessity.
Ethiopia is a socialized state and all of the life necessities are provided for them, and while these children are poor, they do have free education, housing, clothing, and meals and are probably just trying to make some extra money.
The one thing you can give them and have no negative repercussions is food.
How Does Ethiopia Compare?
- Visas - You do need a visa in order to enter Ethiopia. Visas can be acquired upon arrival but only for tourists at Addis Ababa International airport, at a price of around $US50 for 1 month and $US75 for 3 months. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Ethiopia. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Ethiopian birr is the official currency in Ethiopia. ATMs exist in major towns and credit cards are accepted in some top-end hotels and establishments, especially in the capital. Bring US dollars in cash.
- Weather - Generally speaking, Ethiopia’s climate varies from tropical in the north-eastern and south-eastern lowland areas to temperate and cool in the highlands. Average temperatures in the tropical lowlands are around 27°C, while those in the highlands vary depending on the altitude, but generally range between 16 and 22°C.
- Airports - Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is the biggest international airport in Ethiopia. It is located in the Bole area, 6 km southeast of the city centre.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Ethiopia, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Ethiopia Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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19 Reviews on Ethiopia
This page is full of lies. Ethiopia is a gem and one of the best and safest country’s in Africa and the world. Its rich with culture and so many tribes and traditions. And if your a nature bro Ethiopia is the place to go. the lion is there national animal for crying out loud. but is Ethiopia safe? Yes. I wouldn’t recommend using transportation or walking alone at night. i also think females should take extra precautions but rape and other sexual crimes arent too high. and of course like every place in Africa Caucasian travelers may be subject to things like being scammed more or paying more for stuff, the whole shabam. but its not like there going to kill white people, the problems not that big. overall Ethiopia is pretty safe for tourists. Have a great time in the land of origins!
Useful facts about Ethiopia:
The main language is Amharic. they also speak a lot of Italian.
The main religion is Christianity and Rasta
it has a population of 105 million making it the second most populated country in Africa
Its bigger than Spain and France combined aka Its damn huge.
Safe for African standards/Unsafe for European standards
Dude, calm down! This article said: “Ethiopia is not that dangerous of a country.”
Why are people always go into full on aggression mode when it comes to “defending” African countries? Is it your lack of self-esteem?
Also, you say Ethiopia is safe overall but in the next sentence you write “I wouldn’t recommend using transportation or walking alone at night.” Can you see your own hypocrisy, TravelEnthusiast? There are LOTS of countries in Europe where you can do all these things without having to fear any kind of crime…..believe it or not.
So please stop acting like it’s the same kind of mess all over the planet……it is NOT!!! Get your facts straight. Africa is behind…..very far behind. And it’s NOT the white men’s fault anymore. The last “evil” white man has left Africa like 60 years ago! Plenty of time to get your sh*t together. Don’t you think?
Ethiopa is a safe country in Africa but a dangerous country compared to European standards.
I agreed 👍
At least... it's not Aleppo
You know what, at least it’s better than Aleppo. I got shot in Aleppo for looking like a Government Employee. If it’s safer than Aleppo I’ll hop on over. Unfortunately I can’t ever get the real experience when I’m in other countries due to the fact that the ONR now assigns a security detail to Researchers.
I visited Ethiopia from March through April 2021. I visited my fiancee and did not encounter anyone picking pocketing. I was both indoors and outdoors events while in Addis Abba. People were friendly and welcoming, so I am not saying there were no crimes that I personally witness. Also, when I read the article on Ethiopia, it appeared that the author was describing most of the United States’ urban areas and some rural. Level 4 for travel may be due to the coronavirus. I’m not sure blaming a Country’s entire people for some bad apples. American is full of bad apples from top to bottom just like other nations.
Ethiopia Is Very Safe
Safe Very Safe
ethiopia is one of the most riskiest country to visit with high rate of stealing and robbery and rape so u can’t walk around the city with ur smart phone on ur hand and the police are so reckless and even work with thieves and hajickers most of the times and if u one call for emergency on the night they will not be there to save u
Reply to a tourist.
It is clear you have not been to many African countries. Try traveling around in Cameroon. You will be harrassed for bribes by the police constantly. Or go to Egypt and you will be robbed any time you stop. Or try traveling in Mali, Chad or the Congos. You will be robbed for your socks. South Africa once was safe, but today with years of corrupt government that is corrupt even for African standards, you are not safe to travel anymore.
Ethiopia is very safe compared to most other places in Africa. The police are actually helpful.
yup its good, this page isnt truthfull
ethiopia is a good place to visit, travel can be costly but ethiopian airlines are generally good. Lots of culture and it didn’t get raped by the europeans so yeah. would recommend on any traveller to-do list. Not such a good place for families to go.
I agree and if traveling with small children, the city is not a good area. There’s alot of beggers, and people have a tendency to touch your children which can be alarming.
Also, traveling by local taxi with children isn’t advisable.
From the articles i have read so far, to what i have seen, Ethiopia is one of the safest countries in the world for tourists. There has never been attacks from the locals toward any foreigner, plus i could guarantee you the terror risk is zero not only that in one of the latest Forbes articles Ethiopia was one of The 7 Countries Have Potential To Become Major Tourist Destinations In A Post-Covid World.
I have lived in Addis Abeba for 6 years and those years were really scary as a girl.
I recommend that you are extra on guard since it is not safe especially for women.
Like it sates in the article careful and do not trust people easily.
It is kind of like the USA.
Walmart vision of the USA.
I have lived there for 6 years as a girl and it was scary.
I love Ethiopia.
I’ve been to Ethiopia several times and got the vaccine for the sole reason of returning again. It is rich in beauty and culture and has “emerged” a great deal in the past decade. There is a lot to see in and around Addis alone. Recommendations: base yourself out of a good guesthouse, hire a personal driver who can also act as a translator… usually provided by your guesthouse. Dress simply, hold on to your phone and ask your doctor about meds for altitude sickness to help you acclimate, as the elevation is over 7,000 feet above sea level. Like most countries, just be wise about where and when you travel.
It’s great in diversity, but a bit risky
Hi, Can you please post a recent photo of the booming capital Addis Ababa instead of some random, isolated village? Thanks
Would go back in a heartbeat
We had a tour package for Ethiopia so everything was arranged and already established. We didn’t witness any unpleasant accidents for the whole seven days we stayed there. The villages visited were mainly untouched ones, with very little signs of civilization. It’s such an amazingly beautiful country with proud and hardworking people.
Some areas are quite safe
No matter where I’m traveling I do my best to maintain at least the same level of awareness as I do back home. I can’t understand those people who walk around with a camera in their hands totally unaware of their surroundings.
Addis Ababa along with other bigger cities are generally safe, as long as you don’t get off the beaten path. Still, petty theft and mugging are a frequent ingredient from all the warnings I kept getting but lucky for me, I didn’t experience either of these.
This would be a destination perfect for solo traveling or a couple’s trip. I don’t think families with small kids would have enough activities to keep them entertained plus there’s the safety issue involved.
If you’re the loner type I am sorry to disappoint you but you will be approached quite a lot by various individuals offering to carry your bag, change currency, offer directions, sell you all kinds of trinkets, the list is endless. Say no, no matter how tempted you might be.
One of the things that impressed me most is their airline, Ethiopian Airlines, they were extremely professional and they always seem to have great prices.
Their political system is somewhat challenged and there always seems to be some kind of civil unrest. Checking travel recommendations in your country is a must, you don’t want to end up in the middle of a huge conflict and be stranded for weeks.
I would think this is common sense but I saw so many travelers wearing expensive jewelry that I got to the conclusion that people don’t necessarily think of this: leave your jewelry at home, you are there to explore a new country, to learn about its history, not to flash your jewelry and potentially end up being robbed.
For me this was a great place to visit and had zero issues but this doesn’t mean I would rank it as safe.
Happy travels to Addis Ababa
Sun, June 12, 2022
I agree 💯 percent with the written article. Be especially careful of pick pockets and teenage boys, who might grab your arm to distract you wile the younger try to adventure into your pocket while concealing his hand under a old dirty magazine. Some thievery is comical! However, never flaunt nor leave your mobile phone openly or you’ll noticed that it has magically vanished. (the ole hand under the server tray trick 😜🖐️).
People who are offended by these warnings are the same people who are out to catch you off guard and steal from you, so don’t entertain them by replying to their comments.
I’ve lived in Ethiopia for 4 -1/2 years and know Bole, Hayahulet, Gerji, St. Gabriel, Ayat, Jemo, & Lebu areas very well. Lastly, be careful where you drink ☕ coffee. Never ever ever from any street vendors, nor small shops. I’m African American from Hawaii and my Ethiopian wife and children are habasha.