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I was in Ethiopia in January 2020



Africa > Ethiopia > Useful Info
Submitted on Jun 20, 2020 Useful Info

Local etiquettes and culture in Ethiopia

  • These are some of the local etiquette you should be aware of before visiting Ethiopia.

Language to use to get around in Ethiopia

  • Amharic is the official language in Ethiopia and is spoken in almost all of Ethiopia. English is becoming common in big cities. I had no problem getting around in Addis Ababa and Mekele in English. In cities most people under 50 can communicate in English though Ethiopian English is heavily accented. Understanding their English might be a challenge at first but you'll catch up.
  • In rural Ethiopia communication in English is still a challenge. It's best to visit in tour groups ( For easy communication with locals and easy access to most tourist attractions). Most tour groups will hire a young person from the local community as a translator.


  • All of Ethiopia is on East African Time (UCT+ 3.00) though Ethiopians have a unique 12 hour clock system. See more info on Ethiopian time on wikipedia. This means that you'll have to ascertain all times and dates given to you after they are in Ethiopian time or International time.

Dressing code

  • Ethiopia is traditional country with most people being either Christian or muslim and locals dress conservatively.
  • For women headscarfs aren't common in the non-muslim women but most women will wear either midi-maxi dresses and skirts or trousers. Tops should cover the waist and shoulders.
  • Men are expected to wear long trousers with t-shirts or shirts that cover their shoulders.
  • Keep in mind that some parts of Ethiopia including Addis Ababa experience tropical highland climate and temperatures can really go down, it's essential that you ack warm clothing.