Coronavirus: United Kingdom Citizens Travel Advice to Ethiopia
- Still current at: 15 March 2020
- Updated: 13 March 2020
- Latest update: Updates regarding coronavirus (see ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’)
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone in Gambella region
- the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region
- within 10 km of the border with South Sudan
- within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region
- within 10 km of the border with Sudan and the other parts of the Kenyan border, with the exception of principal roads/towns
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of: the main road through Axum and Adigrat; tourist sites close to the main roads (eg Debre Damo and Yeha); and open border crossings with Eritrea and the main roads to these border crossings. You should take local advice and not walk away from roads or towns unaccompanied
- all other areas of the Ethiopian Somali Region, including Siti zone, Fafan zone (with the exception of the main road and railway line to Djibouti), and the areas of Liben and Afder zones more than 100km from the Somalia and Kenya borders
- the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder zone
- the West Wollega and Qellem Wollega zones in the Oromia region, with the exception of the main Addis Ababa-Gambella road
- the rest of Gambella region, except the main Addis Ababa-Gambella road
For more information, see Local travel
Around 20,000 British nationals visit Ethiopia every year. Most visits are trouble free but there are a number of issues you should be aware of.
There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China and elsewhere in the region including in Ethiopia. Bole International Airport has put in place additional measures for screening of passengers arriving from affected regions. See Health
Internet connections in Ethiopia, including mobile data, can be intermittent.
There are frequent incidences of civil unrest in Ethiopia, including protests and strikes. Some of these can cause temporary closure of roads or disruption to local business and transport, and in the past some have escalated into serious violence. See Local travel
Tensions are raised in the Somali Regional State and on the border between the Somali and Oromia Regions following clashes in a number of locations, including in the East and West Harerge zones and in the areas surrounding the town of Moyale on the border with Kenya. These clashes have led to a number of deaths. Although there are no reports of foreign nationals being targeted, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities. Road travel in the area – including on the route between Dire Dawa airport and Harar City – may be disrupted. See Ethiopian Somali Regional State and Oromia Region
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, and on the southern border with Kenya, particularly in the eastern areas to which the FCO advise against all travel. See Terrorism
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is severely limited in parts of Ethiopia where the FCO advise against all travel and limited where the FCO advise against all but essential travel.
Ethiopia is primarily a cash based society and banking facilities, including card payments and ATMs are very limited outside major cities. See Money
Following outbreaks of Novel Coronavirus in a number of countries around the globe, Ethiopia has instituted screening procedures at international points of arrival and mandatory quarantine periods for those testing positive for COVID-19. See Health
There is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You may see some additional checks taking place at arrival on all flights into Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. See Health
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.