Is it safe to travel in Ethiopia?

Yes it is safe, and you will have a wonderful holiday here.

You have probably heard about the recent attack on tourists in the Danakil depression. The British government travel advice has been advising against travel to this area since 2007. However with the exception of the Somaliland part of  Ethiopia, the immediate border area with Eritrea, Sudan and Kenya and the area around Gambela in the extreme west of the country, other parts of Ethiopia are considered safe.

Ethiopia is a huge country with mountains and deserts and many different people living across the length and breadth of the country. The Danakil is a desert area lived in by a tough nomadic people, and is very different from the highlands of Ethiopia where Tesfa Tours runs the community tourism treks and where the ancient capitals and cities of Ethiopia are found (Lalibela, Gondar and Axum). Banditry in the Danakil is a traditional part of life and was known about by explorers such as Wilfred Thesinger who went there with a large guard in the 1920s.

I have been living in Ethiopia since 1998 and am here with my two young children. I take them around the country with me and have no hesitation to continue to do so – just not to the Danakil at this time. I hope in the future the Danakil trips can restart. There will always be a greater risk there – not least from the intense heat and remoteness, however it is a truly beautiful part of the country and it does also bring much needed income to the Afar people who live there.

Ethiopian people are truly hospitable and welcome your visit, and the country is one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful places. Please do not cancel your trip to Ethiopia, or stop your plans because of this one terrible incident in a far off remote area. Contact us for more information on safety and security – or check the government advice such as the British FCO advice.

Mark Chapman

 

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