Pack light clothes for the daytime and a jacket or (fleece) sweater for the early morning and evening. Remember Ethiopians are conservative dressers, it is appreciated to cover at least your knees and shoulders. Don’t bring too many clothes, laundry service is available in most hotels.
When you go out trekking please bring soft bags as your luggage will be transported by mules. Most trekking is done at higher altitudes (Simien Mountains/ Bale Mountains/ Lalibela), make sure you carry warm clothes. Daytime temperatures are very pleasant but nights and early mornings can be freezing. We recommend bringing your own sleeping bag. As facilities are often very basic it is good to bring wet baby wipes.
A good pair of walking shoes is advisable even if you don’t go for serious hiking. Pathways around many (historical) sites are rocky and uneven. Most people prefer to wear more sturdy hiking boots with ankle support while out hiking. If you are comfortable with a (nordic) walking stick you should bring one.
You might like to carry a small folding umbrella which is handy in case of rain and sun. Light rain gear is advisable and essential in the rainy season (June- September), although you often will find shelter to let the shower pass. Trekking is not recommended during the rainy season, if you do come well prepared. Outside the long rainy season, you should also be prepared for (un) seasonal rains.
If you travel in malaria-infected areas a mosquito net might come in handy in some hotels. Although in most hotels clean sheets are offered, some people prefer to travel with a sleeping bag liner. Toilet paper is often missing and comes in handy for a ‘bush’ toilet.
Sunglasses, a cap, and high-factor sunscreen are advisable to protect against (strong!) sunlight. Remember to drink a lot of water too.
A good torch is useful in case of power cuts but it is also very helpful to find your way and have a better view in and around some churches and tombs. For visitors to Erta Ale volcano a head torch is advisable for the hike in the dark. Also, for Erta Ale a scarf or handkerchief comes in handy to cover your mouth and nose from obnoxious fumes and it is better not to wear open shoes and shorts once you reach the crater rim, as the young lava crumbles easily and is razor sharp.
If you are a light sleeper you might want to bring earplugs. If your hotel is in the neighborhood of an Ethiopian Orthodox Church, prayers may start very early morning and last for several hours.
As wake-up calls are not available everywhere, you better bring a small alarm clock if you leave your mobile home.
Don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars. Even a small one stashed away in your daypack will be appreciated to enjoy stunning birds, wildlife, and scenery.
Last but not least as mentioned under health before, bring a first aid kit.
Outside Addis it is difficult to find special items you might need, it is better to bring these from your home country.
See further our Health and Photo and Video pages for essentials.