What to Wear in Ethiopia

Top style tips for Ethiopia

  • Casual, comfortable clothes are the key when travelling 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 colours, but not white – it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
  • Avoid blue or black clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to these colours, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
  • Long trousers and long-sleeved tops will protect you from the harsh sun and protect against mosquitoes at night.
  • Be sure to pack a good quality travel jacket. We recommend the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has RFID security, 23 travel-friendly pockets and handy removable sleeves.

Shoes to pack for Ethiopia

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

Clothing tips for women

  • Leave your valuables and jewellery at home, you really won't need them.
  • A skirt or loose-fitting trousers 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.

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.

Ethiopia travel essentials

  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water, as it is unsafe to consume.
  • A soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase if travelling 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.
  • 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 jewellery.