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Facts about Ethiopia
Country topographic profile
With an area of 1, 112, 000 square kilometers, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined.
85% of the population get their livelihood from the land. Coffee (the word originates from the name of the province Kaffa, in the south west of Ethiopia) provides 65% of foreign currency earnings.
The former military regime was overthrown in 1991.Ethiopia is now a Federal Republic made up of 14 regions, mainly based on ethnicity. (In southern Ethiopia, 5 regions have combined to form the Southern Region.)The present government was elected in 1995 for a 5-year term.
The current population is more than 70 million, making it the third most populated country in Africa.
When to come
This can depend on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March.In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.With the upgrading of the airports along the historic route (Axum, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar), it is now possible to visit the north even in the rainy Sean.
Climate and Clothing
Because of elevation, temperature rarely exceed 25c in most of the country, although in some of the lower lying areas (Awash, Omo and Mago parks) it can get considerably hotter.Pack light clothes for the daytime and jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking-path ways around historic sites is usually uneven and stony.Trekkers in the Simian and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproofs and 3-4 season’s sleeping bags.
Travel by air, road and rail
Ethiopian Airlines operates an extensive (43 airports and an additional 21 landing strips) and generally efficient and reliable domestic air service, but cancellations and delays do occur.Traveling by road allows visitors to experience Ethiopia’s wonderful scenery, but road conditions are generally poor, and mountainous topography in the north will cut speed.
The Ethiopian national dish consists of injera, a flat, circular pancake made of fermented dough on top of which are served different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and pulses.The sauces are generally spiced with berbere, a blend of herbs and spices (including hot peppers) which gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste.Vegetarians should try "fasting food" (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up nearly half the year), a colorful spread of Salads, vegetables and pulses, devoid of all meat and animal products.