In the last few years the Ethiopian government has streamlined the tourist visa process for visitors from all over the world to Ethiopia. If you need a tourist visa to Ethiopia, you can apply for either a visa on arrival (If eligible) in Addis Ababa or apply at least a week before travel online for your Ethiopia e-visa. There are other sites claiming to offer this visa service but our previous link is the actual Ethiopian government website. Although applying for a visa on arrival is possible, having the printout of the e-visa will save you time upon arrival. On the linked website you will also find requirements for non-tourist visas to Ethiopia.
Let's talk currency first, the local Ethiopian currency is called Birr (ETB). Typically ETB trades at around 35-38 to 1 USD but you should check the currency converter before travelling.
So what does the equivalent of 1 USD buy you in Ethiopia? You can enjoy a local beer or even a macchiato. For about 2-3 USD you can have lunch in a local restaurant in Addis or anywhere in the country. Products that are made for local people are typically very affordable minus imported large goods like furniture etc...
In terms of health, as we are currently dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic which brings some additional challenges to travelling. There is a requirement for all arriving passengers in Addis Ababa to have a negative RT- PCR Covid-19 certificate. The sample for the test should be no more than 120 hours old upon arrival in Addis Ababa. The best place to keep abreast of the ever changing Ethiopia entry requirements is on the Ethiopian Airlines website. Even if you travel with a different international carrier ET information will be the most up to date.
A second health requirement applies for all those arriving in Ethiopia from countries with yellow fever. If you come from a country with yellow fever or have recently traveled in a region with yellow fever you must carry your W.H.O. immunization card to show you have been vaccinated against yellow fever. When on tours of Ethiopia from the US you would typically be asked for the W.H.O. yellow card as the U.S. does not have yellow fever.
Often guests ask us if they need to take malaria prophylaxis when they tour Ethiopia, as we are not doctors we refer all guests to the CDC website. We have linked a map of areas with risk of malaria transmission in Ethiopia.
From the map it looks like those on Ethiopia trekking tours in the Bale Mountains and Simien Mountains might not require malaria meds as these areas are above 2,500m. Also visitors to Ethiopia who remain in Addis Ababa are not at risk of contracting malaria according to the CDC.