Price of a Tour to Ethiopia?
Naturally this is the frequently asked question we get.
Now we can easily tell you how much one of our pre-set Ethiopia adventure tours cost.
But you probably want a bit more information so you can plan out your budget a bit more carefully.
Okay here’s the truth. It depends.
Let me explain…
First, there is the cost of the Ethiopia tour itself.
On our tour and itineraries page, as you have seen, we have basically four adventure packages that range from 7 to 14 days.
And also we offer two custom tours that can take anywhere from 16 days to as long as you want to stay (however 30 days is the length of a typical tourist visa).
So the length of your stay directly affects your tour cost, first and foremost.
Next, where in Ethiopia are you going?
North Ethiopia is much more urban than the South and has more tourist-focused activities, so there are more entrance fees for historical sites, churches, national parks, boat rides, etc. And it costs for meals at western-style “foreigner” restaurants.
The South while more rural and inexpensive, has some smart entrepreneurs too.
Many local villagers and tribal members will often charge a “pay-per-click” rate for photographs and videos. So ask about prices before you take out your camera.
And it takes more to venture out to remote places like:
- The Afar region which is famous for Erta Ale, one of the few continuously active basaltic shield volcanoes in the world.
- Or to the Danakil Depression, one the lowest and hottest places on Earth.
- Or taking a long hiking or camping trip in the highlands of Bale Mountains National Park.
And finally, how many people are you taking the adventure tour with you?
The more people how go on a tour with you, the lower the rates we can offer per person.
This is because it takes the same amount of fuel, time and tour planning to shuttle one person around as it does 2, 4 or 6.
With six travelers, the tour prices are lower per person because the costs are split over more people.
So the best place to start to control your costs, is to know where in Ethiopia you want to visit and then determine how many friends, family and co-workers are coming with you.
How much does it cost a day to travel in Ethiopia?
We have talked it over with our local partner in Ethiopia and by everyone’s estimate it will roughly costs about $12 – $20 a day to travel around in Ethiopia.
Now your daily expenses can be lower or higher.
Ethiopia is primary a “cash and carry” economy, so you will have to carry some money around.
Because there are few ATMs and virtually no credit card accepted outside the major cities or town, you can’t reply on ATMs as a backup.
This means some people can easily loose track of their money and their budget when they are traveling in the countryside.
The four biggest cash drains or overspending issues seem to center around:
- eating out,
- buying keepsakes,
- paying for photos
- dealing with begging.
Prices depends on exchange rate of Ethiopian Birr (ETB) to US Dollar (USD)
- 1 course lunch = 150-300 ETB or $5 -10 USD
- 2 course dinner = 250-400 ETB or $7-14 USD
- Coffee = 15 ETB or $0.50 USD
- Water (1 Liter) = 15 ETB or $0.50 USD
- Soft drink = 20 ETB or $0.75 USD
- Local beer = 25 ETB or $1.00 USD
- Local wine (btl) = 300 ETB or $10.00 USD
- Imported wine = 800 ETB or $30.00 USD
High-end accommodations and western style restaurants in Addis Ababa are more expensive; local restaurants and lodgings away from the capital are cheaper.
Buying keepsakes & artwork
Ethiopian artists are recognized as producing some of the finest art in Africa, so premium artwork is no longer a “steal”.
Artwork found in Addis Ababa is more expensive. But locally made arts and crafts are still affordably priced.
So we encourage you to:
- Support local craftsmen by buying locally produced handicrafts.
- Pay a fair market price.
- Do not bargain too aggressively; remember that what is a small amount to you could be a lot more significant to the seller.
- Be sensitive with offering money for any object in daily use by the owner. It might have a special (religious, tribal, familial) meaning for him or her.
NOTE: You will need a special permit to export ancient artifacts.
Paying for Photos
In the south, it is customary to ‘pay per click’ when taking photographs. Although we encourage a system where an all-inclusive payment applies, respect the requested payment (2 – 5 birr, USD 0.10 – 0.20).
Make sure the requested payment is clear, especially when photographing a (small) group, multiple times. Taking a lot of pictures can easily get expensive over the course of a long ceremony.
Begging is common and an accepted practice in some parts of Ethiopia. You will find beggars in many places, especially around religious sites. Ethiopians mostly give their loose coins; a one birr note is generous.
We strongly encourage you NOT to give money, candy, pens, water bottles or any other gifts to children, as it fosters a begging economy among the young.
If you wish to donate, we can suggest an appropriate organization and ensure that your gifts are distributed fairly and properly.
Refuse beggars who approach you only because you are a ‘ferenji’ (foreigner). Do not feel obliged (or guilt-tripped) into giving gifts to opportunistic strangers.
When they ask you, a polite but firm rejection is always accepted.
The phrase ‘Egziabher yistelegn’, “May god provide for you”, is a polite way to refuse.
- Do not contribute to any collection for money by children/ youngsters, no matter how official the letter, list or brochure might look.
- Don’t offer to buy them any of the items they are collecting donations for such as computers, uniforms, footballs, sporting gear for the team, etc.
- Experience has taught us that purchased items will mostly likely be exchanged for hard cash immediately after you are gone.
To find out what a custom group or private adventure tour will cost you, we invite you to call us at 984-202-5958 or click here for a free Q&A travel consult.