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When to travel to Ethiopia

When to travel to Ethiopia

The best time to go to Ethiopia depends on what you are planning to do when you get there. Ethiopia is "the land of 13 months of sunshine", with a rainy season from June to September. The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. As a highland country, Ethiopia has a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator.

Most of the country's major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000 - 2,500 metres (6,600 - 8,200 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum, and Addis Ababa - the highest capital city in Africa at 2,400 meters (8,000 feet).

Ethiopia has three different climate zones according to elevation:

  • Kolla (Tropical zone) - is below 1830 meters in elevation and has an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius with annual rainfall about 510 millimeters. The Danakil Depression (Danakil Desert) is about 125 meters below sea level and the hottest region in Ethiopia where the temperature climbs up to 50 degree Celsius.
  • Woina dega (Subtropical zone) - includes the highlands areas of 1830 - 2440 meters in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimeters.
  • Dega (Cool zone) - is above 2440 meters in elevation with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 1270 and 1280 millimeters. The average annual temperature in Addis Ababa is 16°C (61°F), with daily maximum temperatures averaging 20 - 25°C (68 - 77°F) throughout the year, and overnight lows averaging 5 - 10°C (41 - 50°F). A light jacket is recommended for the evenings, though many Ethiopians prefer to dress conservatively and will wear a light jacket even during the day.
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