Country Profile

The areas not recommended except for crucially important professional reasons, are indicated in orange. The areas strictly not recommended are in red.

Travels in the Gambela region(outside Gambela-city), to the east of the Harar-Gode trunk road in the region bordering on Kenya, are not recommended, except for crucial professional reasons. Travels on the border areas of Eritrea, Somalia and Kenya, starting from Moyale are strictly not recommended, in all cases. Indeed, incidents of ethnic conflicts, banditry and criminality, are frequently reported in the following areas:

1. In the North, travels through the whole of the border area are striclty not recommended.

Danakils Depression:
Generally, tourists’ travels/tours in the areas of the Dallol Mount and the volcano Erta Ale are not recommended. Indeed, several attacks and kidnapping attempts against foreign tourists happened there in 2007,2008 and 2009. In addition, vehicles were destroyed by mines in 2009.
Even though the two regions are located within sensitive areas because of their proximity to Eritrea, no major incident regarding the safety of tourists has been reported for two years. Indeed, the Ethiopian authorities have strengthened their presence in the area, and conditions and procedures of access have improved considerably.

However, if travellers wish to go to this area, of their own account, it is highly recommended that their stay be organised by professional and qualified tour operators who have links/connections with the local security services. Indeed, the tourism sector has many dispensaries offering high quality services unlike certain travel agencies which offer in particular volcano adventures on sites (Erta Ale, Dallol) while at the same time working with some local subcontractors whose lack of professionalism endangers the lives of their customers. It is therefore necessary to distinguish the qualified services from those that could prove to be hazardous.
It is necessary to remind everything of the extreme conditions under which any travel to the Danakil depression is carried out and that it is advisable to be sure of the seriousness and professionalism of the guides. Among the criteria of which can be used as benchmark, it is absolutely necessary to take the following into account:

Travel with at least two vehicles carrying spare parts .
Provision of a satellite phone, guaranteeing a sure connection to home base or the embassy, in the event of damage, accident, attacks or medical problem.
Adequate resources and provisions, such as water and fuel.
Appropriate medical equipment adapted to the area ( salt, tablets, vitamins, anti-diarrheal…).
A professional team of tourists, when the period involves a few hours stay on the volcanic sites and on the protected routes.

Finally, the Danakil Depression being one of the hottest spots on the planet, it is recommended that you certify from your Doctor before your departure that your health condition does not contravene such a trip

Travellers must announce their routes to the local authorities in Aftera or Berahile and must not travel without the necessary authorisation. They must also make sure that the travel agencies which deal with them presented well their roadmap to the tourism office of the Afar region.
In case of an attack, it is necessary to keep your cool and composure and not to try any manœuvre or attitude which might lead the situation to degenerate.
Tourists who decide to go to this area of the Danakil Depression necessarily receive assurances from their tour operator that they will be properly escorted by Ethiopian soldiers and Afar police officers. No travel to the Dallol Mount and the Erta Ale volcano can be undertaken without an armed escort (Ethiopian military and Afar police) supplied by the Ethiopian authorities.

2. In the East, the train which connects Dire Dawa to Djibouti has been the target of attacks in recent past near the Djibouti border. The track which connects Dire Dawa and Djibouti can be travelled in only one day. The towns of Dire-Dawa and Harar can be visited, but it is not advisable to venture further to the east. The North-South railway line which connects Harar to Kebri Dehar should in no way be travelled. In a general terms, it is more advisable to remain within the west of the Harar-Gode railway line.
Ogaden (Somali region)
Because of the armed conflict which regularly takes place in this region of Ethiopia, it is advisable to avoid completely, going to Ogaden, except for crucially important professional reasons.

3. In the South, the Kenyan border area is not very secure. The entire border area located to the East of Moyale in Somalia is strictly not recommend.Tourists were attacked in the Nechisar park, located near Arba Minch. It is therefore advisable to be accompanied by a armed guard who can be recruited at the entrance to the park. The towns of Awasa and Shashemene are not very secured. Increased vigilance is therefore necessary.

4. In the West, the area of Gambela region remains unstable, and the Gambela town itself is affected by a sharp increase in criminality.

Dernière modification : 15/07/2011

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