Is Ethiopia Safe for tourists? In Africa, Ethiopia is one of the safe tourist destination that compared to other countries. This Eastern Africa country is free from crimes and it has been a politically stable country free from political unrests.
It is also important to note that the government of Ethiopia has deployed a lot of forces in the tourism destinations to ensure that all travelers are safe from the time they enter the country until the end of their trip in Ethiopia.
On the other hand, we advise travelers to organize their safari trip with a genuine safari expert who will ensure their safety and security until the end of their Ethiopia safari tour.
Travelers as well ought to follow all the instructions given by the guide to avoid bad reports about their security because of being careless. Safari experts will ensure that they book and organize safe safari accommodation lodges and will endeavor to organize a safe tour.
Is Ethiopia Safe for Tourist: Places in Ethiopia to be Careful About
Merkato has the worst reputation for pickpockets abound and they not only targeting faranjis or the white foreigners but Ethiopians as well. It is advisable to leave hand luggage and jewelry in your hotel if you plan on visiting Merkato.
Other spots where you should be vigilant include Piazza, where many foreigners get pick pocketed or mugged; Meskal Sq; minibus stands; outside larger hotels; and Churchill Ave, where adult gangs have been known to hang around the National Theatre.
Common gang ploys are to feign a fight or argument and, when one man appeals to you for help, the other helps himself to your pockets.
Don’t let any of this scare you, though – Addis is very safe compared with many other African capitals.
Common Scams in Ethiopia
One scam that still seems to be snagging tourists is the ‘siren scam’. It takes various forms, including offering you a ‘cultural show’ or a traditional coffee ceremony.
Approaches are made to couples or groups, as well as to single males. Most commonly, the person approaching you is a young, well-dressed Ethiopian male, often claiming to be a student.
The venue is usually somebody’s living room, where a hostess will promptly dish out copious quantities of tej (honey wine) and, perhaps, traditional dancers and musicians will perform. Suddenly the ‘entertainment’ comes to an end and an amount upwards of Birr1500 is demanded.
If you end up in a situation like this, offer to pay for anything you’ve consumed. A litre of quality tej shouldn’t be more than Birr 65, and if it’s not accepted, threaten to call the police. The area around the hotels in the Piazza and Churchill Ave seem to be prime hunting grounds for potential victims.
An old ploy at the Merkato is for someone to step blindly into you, while another gently lifts your belongings in the subsequent confusion. A less subtle tactic now being used involves one person diving at your feet and holding your legs while another pilfers your pockets.
Another increasingly popular scam involves the delightful technique of a passer-by ‘accidentally’ spitting on you. He then makes a big fuss trying to wipe it off and in the process he (or an accomplice) relieves you of your wallet.
Another one involves someone waving a packet of tissues in your face pretending to sell it to you. As you’re distracted the accomplices pilfer the contents of your pocket or bag. Still, at least you’ll have some tissues with which to wipe off the spit!
Do Tourists Get Harassed in Ethiopia?
So, as much as it is safe to travel around Ethiopia, you need to realize that sometimes not-so-nice situations may happen – as they can and do happen in any city in the world. Just be ready for them, so you’re not disappointed. Some people are very desperate for money and they will try to get it from you by all means.
Ethiopia has had some terrorist attacks over the last few years. Travelers should take extra precautions especially in the Oromia and Amhara regions.
Be cautious of areas with large gatherings. If you think a protest may be forming try to leave the area as a precaution.
Remain alert and cautious if traveling near bordering countries of Ethiopia. There is a high threat of landmines along the western border and tensions are high due to ethnic conflicts.
Stay alert, take your surroundings into consideration, plan your trips ahead of time, and make sure you have everything you need.