Ethiopia Climate, Terrain & Weather
Ethiopia is a vast country that includes every type of terrain from vast lakes, water falls, wild rivers, high altitude mountain ranges, as well as volcanoes (60), hot springs and one of the hottest (lowest) depressions on Earth.
So the weather varies greatly based on the terrain.
One website states, “Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 meters. In the north and centre of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4,000 meters. The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile (or Abay), which runs a distance of 1,450 kilometers from the source in Lake Tana, to join the White Nile at Khartoum.”
Because of the altitude the temperature in most of Ethiopia is moderate, seldom exceeding 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
The altitude in the northern highlands combined with the proximity to the equator make the sun very strong and it feels considerably hotter when the clouds are gone.
In the lower areas of the country (Danakil, Awash, Rift Valley, Omo Valley, Gambella) it is considerable hotter with temperatures going over 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).
In fact Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression has been called one of the hottest places on Earth, since its year-round average temperatures is 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius).
Because the spring and summer time high temperatures at the Danakil Depression can range from 115 to 121 degrees Fahrenheit, the best time to visit is in the ‘cooler’ season between November and March when things drop off to 97 to 100 degrees.
There are basically two major seasons: the dry season from October through May (with some short rains in March) and the wet season that runs from June to September.
When the North country has its rainy season it rains pretty well every day. Although it might drizzle for quite some time, most of the time it’s just a heavy shower; after which the sun will come out again.
Southern Ethiopia (Omo Valley) however has its main rainy season during April and May with short rains in October/ November.
Although infrastructure has improved quite a bit in recent years, traveling to the South during the rainy season can be very difficult due to the sudden appearance of seasonal rivers and washed, muddy roads.