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Stay with Dinknesh at the south of Ethiopia in our own BUSKALODGE

Visit 1 of the beautiful spa resorts in Ethiopia at Lake Langano or Lake Tana

Things to know

Religion

Travel information

National Parks

Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park

Awash National Park

Bale Mountains National Park

Simien mountains national Park

Photo albums

Nature

History

People

Religion

Guest Album South Ethiopia

Guest Album North Ethiopia

Fixed itineraries

Tour itineraries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Information

    Overview    Contact Address    General Information    Passport/Visa    Money    Duty free    Public Holidays    Health    Travel    Accommodation    Sport/Activities    Social Profile    Business Profile    Climate   Resorts and Excursions


Map of Ethiopia

Overview

Country Overview
Ethiopia is situated in northeast Africa, bordered by Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. The major part of the country in the central area is a vast highland region of volcanic rock forming a watered, temperate zone surrounded by hot, arid, and fascinating desert. Places of interest in the capital, Addis Ababa, include St George’s Cathedral, the Menelik Mausoleum and the large market. AXUM, in the north, was the ancient royal capital of the earliest Ethiopian kingdom. It is renowned for multi-storied ancient carved granite obelisks and for the church which claims to house the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Also in the north, The Blue Nile Waterfalls are spectacular. National parks include the Simien National Park (in the northern mountains) and the Bale Mountains National Park, on high southern moorland country, which has its own unique flora and fauna. Ethiopian food is based on dishes called we’t (meat, chicken or vegetables, cooked in a hot pepper sauce). Local red and dry white wines are worth trying. Talla (Ethiopian beer) has a unique taste.

 

Best Time To Visit: Ethiopia can provide you with 13 months of sunshine or any kind of weather you like. It depends on the region that you want to visit and/or the activities you want to join.

 

Natural Features: Highlands including the highest peak Ras Dashan in Simien mountain range. There are dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, the dominant feature of the country is the Central plateau which contains a number of river systems like the Blue Nile.

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Contact Address

Location: Northeast Africa.

Country dialing code: 251.
Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour

P.O. Box 26563 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel:    +-251-1-567837/567838/567839/562242

Fax:    +-251-1567840/567841

E-mail:    mulugenet@telecom.net.et or mulutour@telecom.net.et  



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General Information

Area: 1,133,380 sq km (437,600 sq miles).

Population: 65.000.000 (2005).

Population Density: 54.9 per sq km.

Capital: Addis Ababa. Population: 3,300,000 (2005).

Geography: Ethiopia is situated in northeast Africa, bordered by Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. It is the tenth-largest country in Africa and about twice the size of France. The central area is a vast highland region of volcanic rock forming a watered, temperate zone surrounded by hot, arid, inhospitable desert. The Great Rift Valley, which starts in Palestine, runs down the Red Sea and diagonally southwest through Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi. The escarpments on either side of the country are steepest in the north where the terrain is very rugged. To the south, the landscape is generally flatter and more suited to agriculture.

Government: Federal Republic. Head of State: President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis since 2001. Head of Government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi since 1995. Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized.

Language: Amharic is the official language, although about 80 other native tongues are spoken. English is widely used and some Arabic, Italian and French are spoken.

Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox (Tewahido) and Coptic Church mainly in the north; Islam, mainly in the east and south. There are also significant Evangelical, Protestant and Roman Catholic Communities.

Time: GMT plus 3.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Communications:  

Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 251. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone: The PTO, ETA provides a GSM 900 network. Coverage is expanding every month, good coverage in all major cities.

Fax: widely available.

Telegram: International services from local offices and hotels in Addis Ababa.

Internet: There are many Internet cafes in Addis Ababa. Most hotels also offer services. The main ISP is the PTO ETC, although connections may be slow.

Post: Service to and from Europe takes up to one week.

Press: Amharic newspapers published in the capital include Addis Zemen. The English-language daily in Ethiopia is The Ethiopian Herald. Other periodicals are also available.

BBC World Service and Voice of America frequencies: From time to time these change.

BBC (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice):

MHz 21.66 15.42 11.94 6.005


Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov):
MHz 15.21 11.82 9.760 0.197

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Passport/Visa

  Passport Required? Visa Required? Return Ticket Required?
British Yes Yes Yes
Australian Yes Yes Yes
Canadian Yes Yes Yes
USA Yes Yes Yes
OtherEU Yes Yes Yes
Japanese Yes Yes Yes


PASSPORTS: Passports valid for three months required by all.

VISAS: Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of Djibouti and Kenya for stays of up to three months;
(b) transit passengers continuing to a third country within 12 hours provided not leaving the airport and holding valid travel documents for onward destination.


Types of visa and cost: $62 or equivalent. All visas are single-entry.

Validity: Two months from date of issue and one month from date of entry. Tourist and Business visas can be extended for an additional two months for a $4 fee. Applications should be made to the Immigration Department in Ethiopia.

Application to: Consulate, Except in the case of a few nationals, passengers in transit in Ethiopia, holding confirmed onward bookings within 72 hours, can obtain transit visas on arrival. However, in this case, passports are held at the airport until departure and a pink colored receipt card issued. Nationals from the following countries can obtain visas on arrival; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Quiet, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, Newzlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, S. Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.
Application requirements: (a) Completed application form. (b) Valid passport (containing residence permit, if applicable). (c) One passport-size photo. (d) Fee (payable by postal order). (e) Airline ticket and copy of itinerary made through travel agent. Business: (a) and, (g) Letter from sponsor, accepting financial responsibility for applicant. Transit: (a) and, (g) Onward or return ticket.

Note: The Yellow fever vaccination, whilst advisable, is not compulsory. Consult the embassy for up to date advice on whether applications will be accepted without the certificate.

Working days required: 1 to 3. Applications should be made well in advance.

Exit permit: Required by all nationals of Ethiopia and visitors staying more than 30 days.
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Money

Currency: Ethiopian Birr (Birr) - 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Birr100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Indication of food and beverage prices in Ethiopia
Location:
Water
Soft Drink
Beer
Dinner - 2 course*
Dinner - 3 course**
US
$US1.50
1.30
1.90
13.00
24.00
Ethiopia
$US0.80
0.80
0.80
4.80
13.00
Prices are only an indication

* Local fare in a small cafe or restaurant
** Western style meal in a mid-range restaurant in Addis Ababa


Currency exchange: US Dollar bills are the most convenient currency to exchange.

Credit & debit cards: MasterCard and Diners Club are accepted on a very limited basis (only Hilton and Sheraton Hotels are certain to accept them). Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travelers cheques: To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Currency restrictions: The import of local currency is limited to Birr100. The export of local currency up to Birr100 is permitted, provided the traveler holds a re-entry permit. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration on arrival.

Exchange rate indicators

Date Aug ,01 Nov ,01 Feb ,02 Apr,09
£1.00 12.05 11.93 11.96 16.4
$1.00  8.33 8.44 8.36 11.3
€1.00     7.39 14.6


Banking hours: Mon-Thurs 0800-1200 and 1300-1700; Fri 0830-1130 and 1300-1700.
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Duty Free

The following goods may be imported into Ethiopia without incurring customs duty:
100 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225g of tobacco; 1l of alcoholic beverages; 2 bottles or 500ml of perfume; gifts up to the value of Birr10.


Note: Export certificates are required for skins, hides and antiques.
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Public Holidays

Jan 7 Ethiopian Christmas. Jan 19* Timket (Epiphany). Feb 23 Eid-al Adha (Arafat). Mar 2 Battle of Adowa. Mar 29* Ethiopian Good Friday. May 1 Labour Day. May 25 Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet). May 28 Downfall of the Dergue. Sep 11* Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash). Sep 27* Finding of the True Cross (Meskel). Dec 6-8 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan). 

Note: (a) *Indicates Coptic holidays. (b) Ethiopia still uses the Julian calendar, which is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of five or six days at the end of the year; hence the date for Christmas. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind our Gregorian Calendar. (c) Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last anything from two to ten days, depending on the region. 
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Health

  Special Precautions Certificate Required
Yellow Fever Yes 1
Cholera 2 No
Typhoid and Polio 3 N/A
Malaria 4 N/A


1: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Travelers arriving from non-endemic zones should note that vaccination is strongly recommended for travel outside the urban areas, even if an outbreak of the disease has not been reported and they would normally not require a vaccination certificate to enter the country.

2: Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists throughout the year in all areas below 2000m. Highly chloroquine-resistant falciparum is reported. No malaria risk exists in Addis Ababa.

Food & drink: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized.  Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Pork, salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Other risks:  Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Swimming pools which are well-chlorinated and maintained are safe. Onchocerciasis (river blindness) occurs. Visceral leishmaniasis may be found in the drier areas. Trachoma is widespread. Immunisation against diphtheria is also recommended.
Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.


Health care: The high altitude and low oxygen level of much of Ethiopia needs time to be acclimatized to. Those who suffer from heart ailments or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before traveling. Health insurance is strongly advised. See the Health appendix.
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Travel - International



AIR: The national carrier is Ethiopian Airlines. It is one of the most efficient airlines in Africa. It has offices in 54 cities around the world

Indication flight times: From Addis Ababa to London is 10 hours.

International airports: Addis Ababa (ADD) (Bole International) which new terminal will be opened beginning of 2003 is 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city (travel time , 25 minutes). A coach service departs regularly to the city. Airport facilities include duty-free, car hire, banks, bureaux de change (0500-1300), left luggage, post office, first aid facilities, restaurant and bar.

Departure tax: US$20, payable in US Dollars only. Exact amount only. Transit passengers not leaving the airport are exempt.

RAIL: A 784km (487-mile) rail service between Djibouti and Addis Ababa is run jointly by the two governments.

ROAD: The main route is via Kenya. There is an all-weather road from Moyale on the border via Yabelo, Dila and Yirga to Addis Ababa. The following border points are also open: Dewale/Galafi (from Djibouti) and Humera/Metema (from Sudan).


Travel - Internal

AIR: Ethiopian Airlines runs internal flights to over 40 towns, although services may be infrequent. Airports throughout Ethiopia are currently being upgraded in a step to encourage tourism.

Airport tax: Birr 20.

RAIL: The only operative line runs between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, via Dire Dawa and Harar. Travelers should be prepared for occasional delays.

ROAD: A good network of all-weather roads exists to most business and tourist centers. Otherwise, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Frequent fuel shortages can make travel outside Addis Ababa very difficult. Vehicle travel after dark outside Addis Ababa is risky. Traffic drives on the right. Bus: Services are run by the Government as well as private companies and they operate throughout the country. The bus terminus can provide schedules and tickets, although it is unusual for tourists to attempt to use this service. Bus trips can be slow as there is often a lengthy wait to assemble a convoy. Taxi: Available in Addis Ababa and other major towns. Painted blue and white, they sometimes offer service on a shared basis. Fares should be negotiated before traveling. There are also minibus taxis which offer cheap and frequent shared travel in Addis Ababa. Documentation: A British driving license is valid for up to one month, otherwise the visitor needs to obtain a temporary Ethiopian driving license on arrival.
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Accommodation

Good hotels can be found in Addis Ababa and other main centers, although they tend to be better in the north than in the south. Some offer facilities for small exhibitions and conferences. There are hotels in the other larger towns; prices are, in general, slightly lower than those in the main centers. There is a five to ten per cent service charge. 
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Sport & Activities

Safaris: Wildlife safaris to the national parks are organized by a Dinknesh Tours (see the Resorts & Excursions section for further information on national parks). Safaris are usually in four-wheel-drive vehicles, but walking safaris (with a guide only) or traveling by mule are also possible. Ethiopia is also noted for its rich bird life (over 850 species are recorded) and hence offers some of the best bird watching in Africa, notably at Abiyata.


Trekking: The wild terrain and beautiful landscapes offer good trekking and hiking opportunities. The best areas for these activities include Simien Mountains National Park, which has spectacular views and a large variety of wildlife; the moorlands of the Bale Plateau; the countryside around Lalibela; and the wilderness of the Awash River. 


Equestrianism: Horses and mules still play an important part in the transportation of people and goods and horse riding can therefore be practiced in most parts of Ethiopia. Pony treks in the Simien Mountains allow visitors to reach remote areas not accessible by car.

Water sports: There is excellent swimming in the lakes of the Rift Valley, especially Lake Langano, which has a resort with well-developed facilities offering windsurfing and water-skiing. Natural springs in the Awash National Park or at Sodere Filwoha often create pools suitable for swimming. The rivers and streams of the Bale Mountains, in the southeast, and the many lakes in the Rift Valley provide excellent fishing, particularly for trout. Dugout canoes or traditional papyrus boats can be hired. Sailing and organized boat trips are available on the spectacular Lake Tana, which contains 37 islands, many of which also have monasteries that can be visited. Whitewater rafting is possible on parts of the Omo River and the Blue Nile.

Cycling: Expeditions can be made to various sites, for instance the Bale National Park.
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Social Profile

Food & Drink: Menus in the best hotels offer international food and Addis Ababa also has a number of good Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants. Ethiopian food is based on dishes called we’t (meat, chicken or vegetables, cooked in a hot pepper sauce) served with or on injera (a flat spongy bread). Dishes include shiro and misir (chick peas and lentils, Ethiopian style) and tibs (crispy fried steak). There is a wide choice of fish including sole, Red Sea snapper, lake fish, trout and prawns. Traditional restaurants in larger cities serve food in a grand manner around a brightly colored basket-weave table called a masob. Before beginning the meal guests will be given soap, water and a clean towel, as the right hand is used to break off pieces of injera with which the we’t is gathered up. Cutlery is not used.
Ethiopian coffee from the province of Kaffa, with a little rue added for extra aroma, is called ‘health of Adam’. Local red and dry white wines are worth trying. Talla (Ethiopian beer) has a unique taste and European-style lager is widely available. Kaitaka (a pure grain alcohol), cognac (a local brandy) and tej (an alcoholic drink based on fermented honey) are unique.


Shopping: Special purchases include local jeweler (sold by the actual weight of gold or silver), woodcarvings, illuminated manuscripts and prayer scrolls, wood and metal crosses, leather shields, spears, drums and carpets. In marketplaces a certain amount of bargaining is expected, but prices at shops in towns are fixed. Shopping hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1230 and 1530-1930; Sat 0900-1300 and 1500-1900 (with local variations).

Special Events: The principal annual events are religious festivals.

Social Conventions: Casual wear is suitable for most places, but Ethiopians tend to be fairly formal and conservative in their dress. Private informal entertaining is very common. Most religious houses are not open to women. Photography: In the smaller towns the locals may expect a small payment in return for being photographed. Video photography in famous tourist attractions occasionally carries a small charge. 

 Tipping: In most hotels and restaurants a ten per cent service charge is added to the bill. Tipping is a fairly frequent custom, but amounts are small.

Photography

While the scenic beauty of Ethiopia makes it a photographers paradise, photographs should not be taken of military or strategic buildings. These include airports. Before photographing any person, religious festival or rural homestead it is courteous to ask permission. While film is readily available in most towns, we recommend that visitors bring plenty of film with them. Commercial photographers require a permit from the Ministry of Information. Certain tourist sites charge for video photography.
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Business Profile

Economy: Ethiopia is one of the developing countries. The economy is largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, which employs almost 85 per cent of the working population. Coffee is the main export earner. After the end of the civil war, the government faced a vast reconstruction task under unusually difficult conditions and set about it by reversing the past regime’s policy of state control of the economy. The manufacturing and service sectors are both small. The investment policy is aiming at foreign investors

Business: Businesspersons should wear suits and ties for business visits. English is widely used for trade purposes but Italian and French are also useful. Nonetheless, knowledge of a few words of Amharic will be appreciated. Some of the more useful are Tena Yistillign - ‘Hello’; Ow - ‘Yes’; Aydellem - ‘No’; and Sintinew - ‘How much is this?’ Normal courtesies should be observed and business cards can be used. Best months for business visits are October to May. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1700.

Commercial Information: The following organizations can offer advice: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, PO Box 255, Unity Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 515 004; fax: (1) 514 522); website:
www.combanketh.com; or Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 2458, Mexico Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 513 882 or 518 055; fax: (1) 511 479; e-mail: aachamber1@telecom.net.et; website: www.addischamber.com); or Ethiopian Trade Promotions Section, 17 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PZ, UK (tel: (020) 7589 7217; fax: (020) 7584 7054; e-mail: info@ethioembassy.org.uk). The following organizations can offer advice: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, PO Box 255, Unity Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 515 004; fax: (1) 514 522); website: www.combanketh.com; or Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 2458, Mexico Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 513 882 or 518 055; fax: (1) 511 479; e-mail: aachamber1@telecom.net.et; website: www.addischamber.com); or Ethiopian Trade Promotions Section, 17 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PZ, UK (tel: (020) 7589 7217; fax: (020) 7584 7054; e-mail: info@ethioembassy.org.uk). The following organizations can offer advice: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, PO Box 255, Unity Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 515 004; fax: (1) 514 522); website: www.combanketh.com; or Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 2458, Mexico Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 513 882 or 518 055; fax: (1) 511 479; e-mail: aachamber1@telecom.net.et; website: www.addischamber.com); or Ethiopian Trade Promotions Section, 17 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PZ, UK (tel: (020) 7589 7217; fax: (020) 7584 7054; e-mail: info@ethioembassy.org.uk). The following organizations can offer advice: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, PO Box 255, Unity Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 515 004; fax: (1) 514 522); website: www.combanketh.com; or Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 2458, Mexico Square, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 513 882 or 518 055; fax: (1) 511 479; e-mail: aachamber1@telecom.net.et; website: www.addischamber.com); or Ethiopian Trade Promotions Section, 17 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PZ, UK (tel: (020) 7589 7217; fax: (020) 7584 7054; e-mail: info@ethioembassy.org.uk).

Conferences/Conventions: Information is available from the United Nations Conference Center, PO Box 3001, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 514 874 or 514 945; fax: (1) 513 155; e-mail:
Information is available from the United Nations Conference Center, PO Box 3001, Addis Ababa (tel: (1) 514 874 or 514 945; fax: (1) 513 155; e-mail: uncc-aa@un.org; website: www.un.org/depts/eca/uncc-aa).Top of Page

Climate

Hot and humid in the lowlands, warm in the hill country and cool in the uplands. Most rainfall is from June to September.

Required clothing: The lightest possible clothing in lowland areas; medium- or lightweight in the hill country. Warm clothing may be needed at night to cope with the dramatic temperature change.

Climate Chart for Ethiopia

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Resorts & Excursions

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s capital is located at an altitude of 2440m (8000ft) in the central highlands. Places of interest include the university, St George’s Cathedral, the Ethnology Museum,
the National Museum, the Menelik Mausoleum, the Trinity Church, the Old Ghibi Palace and the market, one of the largest in Africa.

AXUM: The ancient royal capital of the earliest Ethiopian kingdom lies in the north of the country. It is renowned for multi-storied ancient carved granite obelisks, for important archaeological remains and for the church, which claims to house the Lost Ark of the Covenant.

NATIONAL PARKS: There are nine national parks in Ethiopia: the Simien Mountain National Park (in the northern mountain massif); the Awash National Park (east of the capital); the Omo and Mago National Parks (southwest of the capital); the Shalla-Abijatta Lakes National Park (south of the capital); the Gambella National Park ; the Nechi Sar National Park, Yangudi-Rassa National Park  and the Bale Mountains National Park, on high southern moorland country, which has its own unique flora and fauna.

ELSEWHERE: The Blue Nile Falls (also called Tissisat) are one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. They are situated about 35km (22 miles) from Bahar Dar. Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia from 1632 to 1855 and is the site of many ruined castles. Close by is Lake Tana, on which 37 islands stand and is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Lalibela is famous for its 12th-century, rock-hewn churches. Harar is a famous Muslim walled city and the center for the coffee trade. Dire Dawa, near Harar, is an important trading center on the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line. The Rift Valley Lakes in Ziway, Langano, Awassa, Abiyata, Shalla, Abaya and Chamo offer unique scenery and beautiful beaches. Langano is one of the most popular lakeside resorts.

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Dinknesh  Ethiopia Tour is a proud member of the following organisations

Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour

In front of Teklehaimanot Church

Garad Building 7TH Floor

Room No. 1294-7-1

P.O.Box 26563

Addis Ababa

Ethiopia, East Africa

Tel No. +251-11-1567837/1567838/1562242

Fax No. + 251-11-1567840/1567841

E-mail    mulugenet@ethionet.et   OR

mulutour@ethionet.et

Website    www.ethiopiatravel.com

www.dinkneshethiopiatours.com

 

Copyright © 2002 Ethiopia travel                                                                                                                                              
Last modified: July 26, 2012,
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