Frequently Asked Questions
Please click here
to go to our general FAQ
, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs.
Resources to Learn & Teach about Ethiopia
Visit our recommended reading page
to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans
and Pinterest boards
that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
Terms and Conditions
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions
page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
- If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded besides your $350 deposit, which is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use
- HOTELS: Accommodation in Ethiopia is not to the standard of the West or other parts of Africa where tourism is more developed. Hotels don’t always have much character, as they are made more functional than decorative and the choice is limited due to both lack of local and foreign demand. As such, customer service standards are lower, due to lack of a large tourism industry and lack of exposure to western service standards. Plumbing can be simple and not always reliable, and water pressure is weak, especially in the dry season. Safety, location, and cleanliness are our top criteria when choosing hotels. We choose the best one that meets our criteria and constantly evaluate the options that are out there. Please ensure that you bring enough toiletries, as most hotels do not supply them.
- VACCINATIONS: It may be required to show a yellow fever certificate upon entering the country. Please check in with your local health expert for advice on yellow fever and other inoculations required for this area. The Government of Ethiopia requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.
- LOCAL DRESS: It is recommended to cover legs and to remove shoes and hats in churches and monasteries. Women should cover their hair with a shawl in churches/monasteries. Please note that Ethiopia is a fairly conservative country, so please dress accordingly.
- TRANSPORTATION: For this tour, we use a combination of flights, minivans, minibus, and boats. We use a 12-seater minivan when the group is 7 passengers or less. For larger groups, we will upgrade to a 23-seater coaster bus with cushioned seats and sliding windows. This style of transportation is a comfortable way to travel through the region. No matter the size of the group, there will be extra space to benefit the group. Many of the roads in Ethiopia are under construction. Though at times the quality can be quite good, much of the time we will need to slow our traveling speed and accept the bumps and dust along the way.
Group Leader Description
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Trip includes moderate hiking and other activities that require an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy. You can skip the longer hikes if you wish.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here
where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Please note: Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
An arrival transfer is included on this trip when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to 3 days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through GEEO/G Adventures in our joining hotel. (Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.)
If you are obtaining your visa upon arrival at the Bole International Airport, the queue is just before you go through the immigration checkpoint. There are a couple of bank kiosks to the far right of the visa counter where you can exchange U.S. Dollars (USD) and Euros (EUR) for Ethiopian Birr. These give the current bank rate.
After completing immigration procedures and claiming your luggage in the airport, exit to the large arrivals hall. Turn right at the meet/greet area and look for the Azzeman Hotel booth against the far wall. The Azzeman Hotel staff at the booth will direct you to the shuttle bus that will take you to the hotel. If the greeting staff happens not to be at the booth upon your arrival, wait for 30 min and if they have not arrived please call the hotel reception at +251 (0)
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Operator (Ethiopia)
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Local Time)
From outside Ethiopia: +251 11 6 299 863
From within Ethiopia: 011 6 299 863
After hours emergency number:
From outside Ethiopia: +251 911 478 058
From within Ethiopia: 0911 478 058
G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
From outside Kenya: +254 727 208 832
From within Kenya: 0727 208 832
If you are unable for any reason to contact G Adventures’ local office, they have a toll-free line within North America which will connect you directly with their Toronto office: 1 888 800 4100. If outside North America, dial +1 416 260 0999.
Please read this article
on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and downstairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings; a warm jacket is recommended. In the Simien Mountains, you will be trekking at high altitudes, and you will be passing through a number of different climate zones, so you should pack to prepare for a number of extremes – hot and sunny, cool, cloudy, and misty, fog, rain, wind, and lastly cold. You may experience one or all of these conditions in the same day on your trek. The use of lightweight, breathable, easily removable layers of clothes work best to allow you to adapt to local conditions. We recommend breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry once wet. It gets cold at high altitude, and for this, in addition to several warm layers and good boots, you will need warm protection for your hands and head. Lastly, though only a few degrees north of the equator, and at altitude, the sun’s effects are heightened. Use a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen and wear proper clothing to protect yourself from the sun, to reduce the risk of sunstroke. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
- Fleece top
- Light windproof/waterproof rain jacket
- Sun hat
- Personal clothing for weather in the 50’s to low 70’s – we recommend packing 8-9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once
- At least one pair of long pants
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals or flip-flops
- Watch or alarm clock
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Toiletries – your hotels will have soap and shampoo
- First-aid kit, including: lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Dramamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
- A lightweight silk sleep sheet
- Travel pillow
- Money belt
- Water bottle
- Phone/Tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
- Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
- Packing cubes – these are awesome
- Earplugs – these are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate
- Snacks – packing a few granola bars is a good idea; you can buy snacks when you get there too, so don’t go crazy here
- Ziplock bags for wet clothing
- Reading/writing material
- Hand sanitizer/Baby wipes
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD/EUR cash
- Credit or debit card
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information, and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- GEEO Classroom action plans for your group – this is sent 10-30 days before departure
Hand washing of clothes can be done at most of the hotels in which we stay. We recommend you bring a non-polluting/biodegradable soap, as well as a roll of simple string to act as a drying line for your clothes. If you arrive in the late afternoon, or if there is poor weather, it may not be possible for your clothes to completely dry. Your start/end hotel may also have laundry service for a fee.
Passports and Visas
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ
for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double-check the information we provide below by searching here
You must get your Ethiopian visa before arriving. To do so please go to https://www.evisa.gov.et. Under normal circumstances, the processing time for a tourist visa is 3 days, and travelers should submit their application at least 3 days before their estimated date of arrival. We recommend, however, applying at least 2 months before departure. For a single entry tourist visa with validity up to 30 days, the fee is $52 USD.
Ethiopia has ATMs in major towns. Credit cards accepted in some top-end hotels, especially in Addis, but in very few restaurants or even midrange hotels. Bring U.S. Dollars in cash. As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often, we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of your tour program. The gesture serves as an expression of appreciation for exceptional service, and amounts given are up to your discretion.
Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be seen as a formal “thank you,” and the action should in no way be awkward.
The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).
You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per person format:
Tour leader: $5-8 USD (per day)
Driver: $3-5 USD (per day)
Local guides: $1 USD (per hour)
Restaurant/café staff: $10% of the total bill cost
Hotel Porters: $1
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course, this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights.
Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here
This program begins and ends in Addis Ababa. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Addis Ababa. You can arrive at any time you choose, but try to make it in time for our 6:00 p.m. Welcome Meeting on Day 1. Your trip ends in Addis Ababa, but your flight home should not depart any earlier than 5:00 p.m. on that final day.
Plugs and Converters
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Ethiopia uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
- The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. The hotels in Ethiopia can be pretty basic.
- We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
- You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.
- We recommend always carrying snacks with you. Meals can sometimes be far apart.
- Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring, and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
July and August are very rainy. Expect some days with a light drizzle and other days with downpours. The temperatures will be in the 60’s and 70’s with nighttime lows in the 50’s.