What to Wear in Ethiopia

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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General Style Tips

  • Casual, comfortable clothes are the key when traveling in Ethiopia. Dress down rather than up here.
  • During the day it is hot so our advice is to pack lightweight layers in natural fabrics such as linen, bamboo and cotton that will keep you cool and are easier to wash and dry.
  • Pack a wide brimmed sun hat, sunglasses, lots of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and insect/mosquito repellent.
  • We suggest keeping to light, neutral colors, but not white - it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
  • Avoid blue or black clothing - the tsetse flies are drawn to these colors, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness. 
  • Long pants and long-sleeved tops will protect you from the harsh sun and protect against mosquitoes at night.

What Shoes To Pack

  • If you plan to do much walking, then lightweight walking shoes or sneakers are fine. Try Hotter shoes, they are amazingly light and comfortable.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Leave your valuables and jewelry at home, you really won't need them.
  • A skirt or loose-fitting pants are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
  • A pashmina or sarong is a versatile item that you can use for sun protection or to 'glam' up the simplest of outfits if you feel like a change.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • There are no specific things to bring to your attention, check out our packing list for our suggested capsule wardrobe.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • Conditions vary depending on the region you visit and time of year, so check the forecast for your destination before you go.
  • The wet summer season of June, July and August is when you can expect heavy rainfall, so pack a lightweight waterproof and travel umbrella.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Ethiopia

  • The climate will vary depending on altitude from a tropical 30C to a cool 16C. Clever layering is the key to dressing for changeable weather. light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • In Addis Ababa temperatures are warm all year and not uncomfortably hot, but it does get cooler at night.
  • Nighttime temperatures in the mountains can be particularly cold - so pack warm layers.

Other Things To Pack

  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • A soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase if traveling around the country - they are easier to fit into the small planes or transfer vehicles. Using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Combine it with a lightweight day sack or sling bag to carry your day trip essentials.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (220V).
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Head to the Merkato flea market in Addis Ababa and pick up Ethiopian coffee beans, woven blankets or silver and gold jewelry.
     

Last updated 16 December 2016.

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Our Members can download a suggested packing list for Ethiopia which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.