March 2016 trip report

Nicole Wilhelm writes:

Visa: As the Ethiopian Embassy in Switzerland was running out of visa stickers, we had to apply visa on arrival, which we have received within 10 Minutes and without any hassles at all. So if you’re flight one of the earliest in the morning, its cheaper and easier to get the visa on spot.

The tram in Addis is working great; its clean, cheap and worth to use… just do not try to enter at rush hour; it’s almost impossible to squeeze in….!

We stayed at Kefetew Guest House, which is a bit out of the city center, but within walking distance to a tram station. Great breakfast and on request Ganet is also cooking dinner …and she is very helpful and is going an extra mile for her guests!

In Bahir Dar we used Delano Hotel; free airport shuttle, very nice, spacious rooms, good staff, extremly good value for money …and of course beds do have mosquito net!

Simien Mountains: We have done a 10-day Trekking with Ethiopia Eco Tour and Trek (Addis Yimer). The trip was very well organized by Addis, we had an excellent guide and I believe the best team with us; the cook prepared daily delicious meals (dinner with soup, min. 3-4 different vegetables, rice or pasta and sometimes even with meat)… and in awareness of the “faranji stomach” they have only used cooked water to wash vegetables etc! Really highly recommendable Touroperator for Simien!!

Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela: it was not a problem to walk arround alone; beggers were very few and the street boys were OK… of course the asked for money, pen etc … but mostly they just wanted to practice their english.

To vist Awash National Park and Abyiatta Shalla, we have used ETT Travel (Ethio Travel and Tours)… This was the only “downpoint” of the whole trip…. We have booked (and confirmed as well) Camping in Awash N.P including Cook and cooking materials, water for washing etc., all meals and 2 nights 10’000 Flamingo Lodge, driver, car etc. However, camping then turned out to be 2 nights without meals and without washing water; we had to organize to eat at the nearby Awash Falls Lodge. Driver was always coming 30 Minutes to 1 hour late. And the driver nor ETT did know where 10,000 Flamingo Lodge is situated… and this after having had over 5 weeks time in advance to check on this… In all the years travelling in Africa I have never experienced such a bad Touroperator.
The location of the 10,000 Flamingos Lodge is mind blowing! Staff very kind, all rooms have great views. Time to relax, walk and see flamingos. In my opinon the only place in Abiyatta Shalla National Park, which is really worth to visit!

Ethiopia is certainly a special country and well worth to visit!

Feb 2016 trip report

Andrew writes:

Just back from an Ethiopian tour (Feb 2016) and really enjoyed the context provided by this book!

A couple of updates/plugs from my trip:

VISA ON ARRIVAL
It was difficult to find up-to-date information on the requirements for getting a visa at Bole airport. Note that you do NOT need passport photos. They have modern webcams that take your picture there on the spot. Also, to clear up one point I found confusing, you can pay the fee in a variety of major currencies, not just US dollars. I paid 50 euros and even got change in euros! There is a foreign exchange office pre-visa if you get really stuck.

SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
As there are sooo many guide and tour options for the Simien mountains, I wanted to put in a plug for our super-organized, super friendly local guide Gismu Syum with Ethiopia Trek (http://www.ethiopiatrek.com/). He’s incredibly responsive over e-mail (rare indeed!) and a very good choice for budget conscious travelers, particularly those organizing their Ethiopia tour independently and just needing a guide for the Simiens and/or Gondar. Personally, I cannot even imagine trying to go through all the red tape to organize a trip myself in the Simiens to save a few bucks when you could go with someone who knows the ropes and won’t charge too much for bringing you through it, like Gismu!

I would also note that Chennek camp was a highlight and I strongly recommend doing at least a three-night trek in order to get at least that far.

Note that the entire village of Geech has agreed to a government proposal to relocate and will begin moving out of the park boundaries in March 2016. While this will definitely have a positive impact on the wildlife in the region by restoring the heavily farmed land, it does remove one of the few reliable village stops in the early stages of the Simiens route.

Correction to 7th edition Visa on Arrival information

In the 7th edition of Bradt Ethiopia, we incorrectly state that passport-holders from all European Union countries can obtain a Visa on Arrival at Bole Airport.

In fact the list of ‘tourist-generating countries’ eligible for Visa on Arrival excludes several member states that joined the EU in or after 2004.

According to Ethiopian Airlines, the full list of countries eligible for Visa on Arrival is as follows: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (including passports issued in Hong Kong and MACAO), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States.

We strongly recommend you confirm this information independently before you travel, as it always subject to change.

Note, also, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website saying you can request a visa online if your country doesn’t have an Ethiopian embassy is and has always been false.

 

 

Obtaining an Ethiopian Origin ID for a child

Report from a French citizen for Ethiopian Origin ID as a children of Ethiopian, Oct 2015

My wife being Ethiopian, we needed a residence permit for our lovely daughter.

Collect the following papers.
 Birth certificate. If birth took place abroad, first make it legalize by your Foreign Minister in home country, price 1Euro for French in Paris (French embassies have no longer the power to fully legalize). For French, this paper needs to be issued less than 3 months earlier by the Municipality. Then make confirm this paper by your embassy in Ethiopia (they’ll stamp for a fee, 415 etb for French). From this moment, everythings happens in Addis. Go to Kazanchis, at the Legalizations’ annex of Ethiopian Foreign Minister, they’ll stamp as well (300 etb, foreigner price assuming your children has another nationality by birth than Ethiopian).
 Photocopy of the above paper full of stamps
 If the above document is not from an english-speaking country, get an official translation in English made by any office at Stadium (138 etb for each translated sheet from French to English Adonay Translation)
 Photocopy of the chidren’s passport
 Photocopy of his/her visa
 Photocopies of both of the passports’ parents
 Two photos (took at about same age than the process’ moment).

At the main Immigration Minister, firstly go to the Welcome desk (the building right at your left when coming from Churchill and passing the small Police hut), until the desk of Foreigners. The clerk of the right side desk will check your papers (and give you back the multi-stamped-original), then give you a form that you have to fill, then back to the same clerck who will write an authorization on the back of the form, allowing yourself to enter in the main building, upstairs (security-checking).

Go to the desk number 77. They will just again check everything, registering on computer, and send you at desk 89. You’ll have to pay a fee of 416 etb, they give you a receipt with an appointment at the desk 90, exactly 48 hours after (2 working days after, at the same hour).

Opening times of this Minister : 8.00-17.30 (2.00-11.30 ethiopian). The lunch break takes place from 6.30 (ethiopian) to 7.30, and everybody will be pushed out of the Immigration complex, with a waiting list number.

Your children will then be given an Ethiopian Origin ID valid 5 years (residence permit in Ethiopia as well).

Obtaining a Temporary ID as a husband/wife of Ethiopian

Report from a French citizen for Ethiopian Temporary ID as a husband/wife of Ethiopian, Oct 2015

You normally need to be married since more than 2 years (to avoid false weddings), but when married abroad you can apply earlier, what was our case. The beginning of this process is different if the wedding took place in Ethiopia.

Collect the following papers.
 Wedding certificate. If wedding took place abroad, first make it legalize by your Foreign Minister in home country, 1Euro for French in Paris (French embassies have no longer the power to fully legalize). Then make confirm this paper by your embassy in Ethiopia (they’ll stamp for a fee, 415 etb for French). From this moment, everythings happens in Addis. Go to Kazanchis, at the Legalizations’ annex of Ethiopian Foreign Minister, they’ll stamp as well (150 etb, Ethiopian price because of Ethiopianity of your wife/husband).
 Photocopy of the above paper full of stamps
 If the above document is not from an english-speaking country, get an official translation in English made by any office at Stadium (138 etb for each translated sheet from French to English Adonay Translation)
 Bank account at your wife/husband name, credited of more than 35 000 etb. (Strongly advised bank : Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.)
 Photocopy of the above paper, both the holder’s page and the credit line.
 Photocopy of your passport
 Photocopy of your Ethiopian visa
 Photocopy of your wife/husband passport
 Letter by amharic from your wife/husband explaining the reason of the asking.

At the main Immigration Minister, first go to the Welcome desk (the building right at your left when coming from Churchill and passing the small Police hut), until the desk of Foreigners (the outside clerk will maybe say you than the present process is impossible!). The clerk of the right side desk will check your papers (and give you back the multi-stamped-original), then give you a form that you have to fill, then back to the same clerck who will write an authorization on the back of the form, allowing yourself to enter in the main building, upstairs (security-checking).

Go to the desk number 77. They will just again check everything, registering on computer, shoot you by a webcam, and send you at desk 89. You’ll have to pay a fee of 1500 etb (for French), they give you a receipt with an appointment at the desk 90, exactly 48 hours after (2 working days after, at the same hour).

Opening times of this Minister : 8.00-17.30 (2.00-11.30 ethiopian). The lunch break takes place from 6.30 (ethiopian) to 7.30, and everybody will be pushed out of the Immigration complex, with a waiting list number

You will then be given a 1-year Temporary ID (without work permit, that’s another story)

In the French case, your fresh card will allow yourself to register on the Counsular lists, and « enjoy » a number of services (like discounted fares on some civil status acts).

Visas on arrival – tentative good news

I’ve just heard from two reliable local sources, one working in tourism and the other with the government, that according to the immigration department, a 3-month single-entry visa should be available on arrival at US$70 (as opposed to US$50 for the 30-day visa) starting today (28 Jan 2015).

I would not recommend that anybody rely on this information until it is verified. However, if anybody flying into Addis Ababa is able to verify or refute it by checking with the visa desk at the airport arrivals hall, that would be most useful – please comment below!