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Best Time to Visit Ethiopia in 2024 for Cultural Tours, Wildlife Safaris, and Trekking. Ethiopia Weather Guide

Best Time to Visit Ethiopia

  • Optimal: October to March for mild weather, cultural festivals, and wildlife viewing.
  • For trekking: September to November when the landscape is lush and green after the rainy season.
  • For cultural tours: January to attend Timkat (Epiphany) in Lalibela or Gondar.
  • Other favorable months: April and May for less crowded sites and slightly warmer temperatures.

Geography Facts

  • Location: Northeast Africa, in the Horn of Africa.
  • Area: 1.1 million km².
  • Borders: Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti.
  • Landscape: High plateau with central mountain range divided by the Great Rift Valley.

After the rainy season, Ethiopia’s landscape transforms, offering lush, green sceneries that are ideal for trekking and wildlife safaris. The diverse geography, from the simmering Danakil Depression to the verdant Simien Mountains, presents unique travel opportunities throughout the year.

Climate

Ethiopia’s climate varies greatly due to its elevation range. The highlands, including major cities like Addis Ababa, experience a mild, almost temperate climate year-round, while the lowlands are typically hot and dry.

The daily range of reported temperatures (gray bars) and 24-hour highs (red ticks) and lows (blue ticks), placed over the daily average high (faint red line) and low (faint blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. (c) weatherspark.com

Monthly Weather Snapshot

January

  • Perfect for witnessing Timkat (Epiphany), celebrated vibrantly in Lalibela and Gondar.
  • Highlands: Daytime temperatures around 20-25°C (68-77°F), cool evenings.
  • Lowlands: Can reach above 30°C (86°F).

February

  • Ideal for bird watching and outdoor activities in the Rift Valley lakes.
  • Highlands: Mild with minimal rainfall, around 20-25°C (68-77°F) during the day.
  • Lowlands: Hotter, often exceeding 30°C (86°F).
Nature landscapes in Ethiopia (c) www.soupstock.in

March

  • Good time for cultural tours before the rainy season starts.
  • Highlands: Start of the rainy season, with temperatures between 18-23°C (64-73°F).
  • Lowlands: Remains hot and dry.

April

  • Rainy season in the highlands, which may hinder some travel plans.
  • Temperatures: Similar to March but with increased rainfall.

May

  • End of the rainy season in some parts, landscapes are lush and green.
  • Highlands: Rain starts to decrease, temperatures between 18-23°C (64-73°F).
  • Lowlands: Begin to warm up, getting ready for the dry season.

June

  • Start of the dry season, excellent for trekking in the Simien and Bale Mountains.
  • Highlands and Addis Ababa: Dry, sunny days with temperatures around 20-25°C (68-77°F).
  • Lowlands: Hot, dry weather dominates.
The hourly reported temperature, color coded into bands. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight. (c) weatherspark.com

July

  • Dry and cool, perfect for outdoor activities and visiting historical sites like Axum and Lalibela.
  • Highlands: Cool nights, daytime temperatures around 20-25°C (68-77°F).
  • Lowlands: Peak hot season, often above 30°C (86°F).

August

  • Continued dry season, ideal for the Meskel festival preparations and wildlife safaris.
  • Weather: Similar to July, with slightly warmer temperatures in the highlands.

September

  • End of the dry season, landscapes start to bloom, perfect for trekking.
  • Highlands: Begin to warm up slightly, while occasional showers may occur.
  • Lowlands: Start to cool down from the peak heat.
Architecture of Ethiopia (c) istock

October

  • Best time for cultural experiences and to enjoy the blooming landscapes after the rainy season.
  • Highlands: Mild weather, great for exploring the country, temperatures around 20-25°C (68-77°F).
  • Lowlands: Cooler than the peak summer months, but still warm.

November

  • Great for bird watching as migratory species arrive, and for less crowded tourist sites.
  • Weather: Dry in most parts of the country, with temperatures cooling down slightly.

December

  • Festive season with celebrations like Genna (Ethiopian Christmas) in early January.
  • Highlands: Mild and dry, with daytime temperatures around 20-25°C (68-77°F).
  • Lowlands: Begin to warm up, but still relatively cooler than mid-year.

Ethiopia offers a diverse range of activities and experiences throughout the year, from trekking in its lush highlands to exploring ancient historical sites and attending vibrant cultural festivals. The best time to visit depends on your interests: October to March for cultural tours and wildlife viewing in milder weather, and September to November for trekking in post-rainy season landscapes. With careful planning, every visit can coincide with a unique aspect of Ethiopia’s rich heritage and natural beauty.

Back to Ethiopia’s Travel Guide

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