It is been a while since we do not write a blog post and the reason why it is simple: we did not have much news. Unfortunately, the political situation in Ethiopia has not changed much since 2020. If you are looking for a green light on Ethiopia travel advice, you can leave the page now. On the contrary, if you want to have an update on Ethiopia’s current political situation and what areas are ok to travel before visiting Ethiopia, stay with us. We are looking forward to show you our beautiful Ethiopia!
1. Let’s get some context first
- Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnic groups. The biggest ethnic group is formed by the Oromos (34.4%) followed by the Amhara; Amharas (27.0%); Somalis (6.2%) ; Tigrayans (6.1%) and Sidama (4.0%).
- The TPLF (the Tigrayan People’s Libeation Front) was the leading party from 1989 to 2018 under a coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The other ethnic groups felt they were discriminated.
- In April 2018, Abiy Ahmed was appointed Prime Minister by the EPRDF. His background is Oromo and Amhara and people in Ethiopia really felt that he could represent and unify the country. His reforms were internationally acclaimed and he even won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
- The Covid-19 health crisis served as an excuse to postpone the national elections. In consequence, the TPLF decided to show discomfort by organising Regional elections in August 2020, which were declared illegal by the Federal Government.
- After the TPLF was accused of attacking a military base in Tigray, the Federal Government lead by Abiy Ahmed declared the start of a civil war in November 2020.
- Even though there are no official figures, the conflict has caused thousands of deaths and displaced and rapes and other atrocities have been committed.
- The #NOMORE movement began on November 1, 2021 as a month-long campaign to bring awareness to and end the war on Ethiopia. This movement advocates “a cooperative network of diverse peoples and organizations who explicitly say “no more” to the tools of exploitation—disinformation, division and war—with the ultimate goal of building a more peaceful, creative and prosperous society.”
- After a series of negotiations with the TPLF, Ethiopia declared an indefinite humanitarian truce on 24 March 2022 to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid into Tigray.
2. What is happening now?
Fighting re-escalated by August 2022 as peace talks broke down, and war has been resumed, breaking the humanitarian truce. It is difficult to know what is really happening in the Northern part of the country due to the lack of press coverage. What we know is that both sides have been organizing troops to continue this ongoing conflict and the humanitarian crisis is now enormous. The Ethiopian Federal Government has recently confirmed they took control of the town of Shire and they are aiming to control Tigray’s main airports (Axum and Mekele).
In the meanwhile, on October 22nd there have been demonstrations in Addis Ababa against the interference of the international community in the internal affairs. Many people displayed banners urging the United States to stop supporting the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
After publishing this article, the TPLF and the Federal Government met in Pretoria, South Africa, to secure a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the parties, paving the way for the restoration of peace, security and stability in the Tigray Region. This agreement was signed with the support of the African Union (AU) High Representative for the Horn of Africa, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, together with the other members of the High-Level Panel for the AU-led Ethiopian Peace Process.
This announcement has been welcomed by both parties although there are still some uncertainties about the end of the war. Ethiopian Airlines has also announced they will soon resume flights to the main cities in the Tigray Region, including Mekele and Shire. However, they have reported damages at Axum airport and therefore we will have to wait to visit the capital of the former Axumite Empire. Inside Ethiopia Tours will keep you updated about the situation as soon as we have more news.
3. Ethiopia travel advice: what destinations are safe to visit?
Just because the political situation is unstable, that does not mean that travelling is not safe in Ethiopia. Life goes on in the capital city of Africa and Addis Ababa is more active and busy than ever. That is why it is so necessary to enjoy Ethiopia’s landscape and cultural diversity. The conflict affected mainly the Tigray region and some parts of the Amhara Region. That means it is still possible to do some of our top tours such as:
- The one day excursions from Addis Ababa
- The Omo Valley tribes tour
- The Northern Historical tour
- The 12 days combined tour to the Omo Valley and Northern Historic Route
- Harar and Eastern Ethiopia
- Simien Mountains National Park
- Bale Mountains National Park
- The Great Rift Valley tour
- The Danakil Depression via Semera
If you have read all the article, we want to encourage you to travel to Ethiopia. We need you more than ever! It is have been a rough path since the Covid-19 crisis. Our local guides are eager to show you around and their families rely on them. We are aware of the problematic with the international inflation. Unfortunately, we are also suffering from food and fuel cost increases. However, the best part of the current situation is that you will be able to enjoy our marvellous culture and landscapes free of the rush of tourists.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime and we will get back to you with more updated travel advice in Ethiopia.