Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 15 October 2018, 10:00 NZDT
  • Still current at: 26 February 2020

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Do not travel

Do not travel within 10 kilometers of Ethiopia's borders with Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea, with the exception of Highway 80 and the Moyale border crossing along the Kenyan border.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy’s peace overtures to Eritrea from June 2018 have resulted in the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea being reopened, although it remains a militarised zone pending withdrawal of forces.

Do not travel to most parts of the Somali region, specifically the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones and within 100 kilometres of the border with Somalia in the Afder and Liben zones.

Do not travel to certain parts of the Gambella region (the districts of Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare in the Nuer zone and Jore district in the Agnuak zone).

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the Danakil desert area (east of the Dessie-Adigrat road and north of the Dessie-Djibouti road). 

There is a significant threat to your security in these areas due to cross border tensions, the activities of armed militant groups, the risk of kidnapping and armed banditry, and the presence of landmines. 

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa, due to violent crime, the threat of terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

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Civil unrest
On 5 June 2018, the Government of Ethiopia lifted the nation-wide State of Emergency, which had been in place since February 2018.

Inter-ethnic and other conflicts can break out with little warning.  Ongoing tensions along the Oromia-Ethiopian Somali regional border have displaced many people and can flare up at any time (including in the urban centres of Dire Dawa, Harar and Jijiga).  Conflict between Oromos and Gedeo people in southwest Ethiopia from May 2018 has displaced around one million people. Protests and violent civil unrest have occurred recently in the Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, and Somali regions of Ethiopia, but can take place anywhere in the country.

There have been armed attacks and sporadic ethnic conflict occurring in the Gambella region resulting in a number of deaths. Foreigners have not been targeted but could be incidentally caught up in violence. Tensions in the region remain high and there is the potential for further violence.

Security forces have in the past responded with violence and previous protests have led to a number of deaths. Disruptions to telephone and internet communications have been experienced throughout the country, including in Addis Ababa, and roads have been blocked without warning.

Explosive devices, such as grenades, are readily available in Ethiopia and are occasionally used in local disputes.

New Zealanders in Ethiopia are advised to exercise vigilance throughout the country and avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should find a safe location and remain indoors until it is safe to depart, adhering to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities. Monitor the media to stay informed of local developments and potential risks to safety and security.

There is an ongoing threat from terrorism throughout Ethiopia, and the country has suffered a number of terrorist attacks in the past. On 3 December 2017, a German tourist was shot and killed in the Afar region, north-east Ethiopia.

The Somalia-based terrorist group Al-Shabaab has issued public threats against Ethiopia due to its involvement in military intervention in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in neighbouring countries in recent years and there are credible reports that Al-Shabaab has the intent and capability to attack targets in Ethiopia, including western interests. 

New Zealanders in Ethiopia are advised to be security conscious at all times and follow any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities. Particular care should be taken in crowded and public places and in areas known to be frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, including hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping centres, market areas, places of worship, schools, government offices, sporting or other large public events, tourist sites and transport hubs.

Petty theft and muggings are common in Addis Ababa and there has been a rise in violent assaults against foreigners. Carjackings outside urban areas have been reported.

New Zealanders in Ethiopia are advised to be security conscious at all times and avoid walking or travelling alone, particularly at night and to isolated areas. Take particular care when visiting crowded public places. Avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery.

There is a high threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Somali region, border regions of eastern Ethiopia and along the Eritrea-Ethiopian border. We advise against all travel to these areas.  

Road travel
Due to the potential for the security situation to change at short notice, New Zealanders are advised to take care when travelling outside of Addis Ababa, particularly when travelling by road.

Where road travel is required you should keep doors locked and windows up at all times. Wherever possible travel in a convoy and avoid all travel after dark. Pre-plan your travel route and ensure all vehicles are fully equipped with essential supplies.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Ethiopia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.  Medical facilities and emergency response services outside of Addis Ababa are limited, and even in Addis Ababa standards of care can vary greatly.

US dollars are widely accepted and exchanged in Ethiopia but it is not usually possible to access US dollars inside the country. Make sure you have an adequate supply of hard currency for your trip before arriving in Ethiopia. Credit cards are rarely accepted in Addis Ababa or elsewhere in Ethiopia. ATMs are available in Addis Ababa for withdrawing local currency.

New Zealanders in Ethiopia are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Street Address Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Postal Address New Zealand Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901 Wellington Mail Centre 5045, Wellington Telephone +251-11-515-1269 Fax +251-11-552-6115 Email Web Site Hours Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +251 11 515 1269. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.

See our regional advice for Africa

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New Zealand Embassy Ethiopia

Street Address
Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telephone: +251-11-515-1269

Fax: +251-11-552-6115



Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

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