Last updated: August 12, 2017 10:43 ET
Still valid: August 13, 2017 05:58 ET
Latest updates: The Safety and security tab was updated – random car attacks in Amhara and Oromia Regions.
- Risk level(s)
- Safety and security
- Entry/exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
Ethiopia – Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Ethiopia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the volatile security situation.
Borders with Eritrea (including the Danakil Desert), Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the Somali and Gambella regions – Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the area within 10 km of the borders with Eritrea and South Sudan, as well as to the Somali and Gambella regions and the Danakil Desert. Avoid all travel within 20 km of the border with Sudan.
See Safety and security for more information.
Border with Kenya – Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Kenya due to inter-tribal clashes and banditry.
See Safety and security for more information.
Ethiopia Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest and arbitrary detention since a state of emergency was imposed in October 2016. The Government of Ethiopia extended the state of emergency on March 15, 2017, and there continue to be reports of unrest, particularly in Gondar and Bahir Dar in Amhara State. This replaces the Travel Warning of December 6, 2016.
The Government of Ethiopia routinely restricts or shuts downs internet, cellular data, and phone services, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia and limiting the Embassy’s ability to provide consular services. Additionally, the Government of Ethiopia does not inform the U.S. Embassy of detentions or arrests of U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.
Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Remember that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly.
Given the state of emergency and the unpredictable security situation, U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should have alternate communication plans in place, and let family and friends know that communication may be limited while you are in Ethiopia. The Department of State strongly advises U.S. citizens to register your mobile number with the U.S. Embassy to receive security information via text or SMS, in addition to enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- 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)
- areas off the principal roads/towns within 10 km of the borders with Sudan and Kenya
- within 10 km of the border with South Sudan
- the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Somali region.
- within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region
- 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 FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder
- three woredas (districts) of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region that border on South Sudan (Dima, Goge and Etang) and the Gambella wildlife reserve
The State of Emergency called in October 2016 in response to protests and unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions was lifted on 4 August 2017.
Internet services, disconnected on 30 May 2017, have now been restored. However internet and other mobile data services can be restricted without notice, hampering the British Embassy’s ability to assist you. You should have alternative communication plans in place when travelling in Ethiopia. If you’re in Ethiopia and you urgently need help (eg if you’ve been attacked, arrested or there has been a death), call +251 (0)11 617 0100. If you’re in the UK and concerned about a British national in Ethiopia, call 020 7008 1500.
Tensions are high on the road between Harar and Babile, in the far east of Ethiopia, after reports of fighting between Somalis and Oromos on 10 August 2017. The Ethiopian military are at the scene. Road travel may be disrupted. If you’re in the area, exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Demonstrations and violent clashes took place in the Oromia and Amhara regions in 2016. The situation has calmed considerably, but protests may occur with little warning and could turn violent. You should monitor local media, avoid large crowds, remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.
There are local media reports of a possible hand grenade attack on 25 April 2017 at the Du Chateau Hotel in Gondar Town. This reportedly resulted in 5 people being injured, including a foreign national.
On 1 April 2017, there was an explosion at the Florida International Hotel in Gondar, reportedly the result of a grenade attack. Three people are reported to have been injured. Two separate explosions at hotels in Gondar and Bahir Dar occurred in January 2017. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.
Restrictions on the movement of diplomats beyond Addis Ababa were lifted on 8 November 2016. On 15 March 2017, three further restrictions were lifted, including provision for curfews, arrests without court orders and some media restrictions.
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
The Ethiopia-Eritrea border remains closed. Several security incidents have taken place along the border. The risk of cross-border tensions remains. There is a threat of kidnapping along the border. See Local travel
Owning ivory is strictly prohibited in Ethiopia. Anyone caught in possession of ivory can expect to be detained by police. See Local laws and customs
Around 20,000 British nationals visit Ethiopia every year. Most visits are trouble free.
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.