Ethiopia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Ethiopia
Before driving abroad in Ethiopia you should check travel advice on your Government’s website as most Governments advise against all travel to certain parts of the country, often including the Danakil desert and the border areas with Somalia and Eritrea.Unfortunately theres a lot of red tape to get through in order to drive in Ethiopia.Even with an International Driving permit, you need to get a temporary Ethiopian licence. You need to get your own licence authenticated by your countries embassy in Ethiopia,complete a certificate with the ministery of foreign affairs and provide 2 photos. There are fixers in the country who can help arrange all this, or you could contact your country’s embassy and ask their advice.

Aside from security issues, Ethiopia is statistically one of the most dangerous countries to drive in. There are many accidents both in Addis Ababa and in the countryside. Roads are often poorly maintained, inadequately marked, and poorly lit. Road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs due to hazards posed by broken-down vehicles left in the road, pedestrians and stray animals in the road. If you are involved in an accident you should remain with the vehicle and call the police. When I was in the country I was advised that if you kill an animal on the road you will be expected to pay compensation, which can be very expensive. Especially as the owner is likely to claim it was pregnant and you have to pay twice! Failure to do so could result in violence from other villagers so be very cautious when driving near livestock. Excessive speed and poor driving standards make many local drivers as dangerous as the roads themselves. Many vehicles are unlicensed and many drivers lack basic driver training or insurance. Emergency services are limited in Cities and nonexistent in many parts of the country. You should always carry spare tires, fuel, and tools on long trips and be prepared to wait a long time for assistance. Ethiopia is a challenging driving abroad destination and you should exercise great care at all times.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Ethiopia Car Rental –
Avis used to have an outlet in Addis Ababa but this seems to have closed.  It’s one of the countries which will bring up a number of broker sites when you enter ‘Ethiopia car rental’ but these all seem to be dead ends. None of them actually have any partners in the country. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to rent a self drive car in Ethiopia. Most companies only rent a car with a driver andthough I found some semi-official options with local companies, the cash deposit they needed was almost the value of the car so was not viable. If anyone finds a reliable self drive option please let me know.

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