Vaccines needed to travel to Ethiopia

Ethiopia unlike what you might believe offers different climates, sometimes even cold, just think of Addis Ababa which is located 2400 meters above sea level, but the size of the country and its position close to the tropics could be the cause to some diseases emphasized in the area.


That said it is also true that the possibility of getting ill, if vaccinated, are quite low and apart from the usual traveler sickness, like diarrhea and maybe cold, you shouldn’t be afraid to travel in this country.
Therefore if vaccinated you are in no danger, but for malaria there is going to be a full paragraph dedicated as this is a more sensitive issue and besides the choice is up to the traveler.


Even if vaccinated, it is still important to get into the country covered by health insurance. On this matter, before submitting your insurance make sure that the company covers the areas where you wish to travel, because some of them wouldn’t grant full coverage and if by misfortune you should need a doctor in an area signaled by the Foreign Ministry, for reasons far from medicals, although the issue has nothing to do with the Ministry alert you might still not be covered. So pay attention to the insurance company you choose and ask before you pay if you are covered anywhere

Vaccines are available at the NHS of your city, section International Vaccines, I would advice to call ahead and make an appointment

Which vaccines are needed to enter Ethiopia

All these vaccines are NOT compulsory but highly recommended (special note for yellow fever ) . the costs listed refer to what I paid at the Service of International Vaccinations, via Frentani 6, Rome.

  • Yellow fever - It is not compulsory, unless you reach the country via other countries that have this problem. Vaccination is recommended if you wish to travel in the western part of the Country. The vaccine has to be made ​​at least 10 days before departure ( the cost is € 20.90 )
  • Typhoid ****
  • Meningococcal conjugate ACWY *****
  • Tetanus - Diphtheria - Pertussis - Polio ***
  • Hepatitis A **** ( cost € 22.07 )
  • Hepatitis B ( cost € 19.95)
  • Meningitis ****
  • Rabies - if you do not have this vaccine done avoid touching animals even if they seem in good health condition


Prophylaxis anti - malarial yes or not?
For me it was hard to choose for a variety of reasons. The first reason lies in the side effects that are not so pleasant and can force you to bed for several days, cause hallucinations, nausea and various discomforts.
Malaria kills millions of Africans every year, it is a reality which must be dealt with, the chance to catch malaria in Africa is 100 times higher than to catch it in Asia, and although in some African countries is practically compulsory to get pills for the prophylaxis, in Ethiopia the issue is not as clear, partly because a lot depends on what areas you plan to visit.


Malaria occurs in areas below 2000 meters, so if you're only heading to Addis Ababa it is not worth undergoing such an annoying prophylaxis. Malaria is also absent in the following areas of Ethiopia: Bale highlands, the area around Addis Ababa and the area around Jimma.

It isn't also a big problem in the northern area, commonly referred to as Historical Circuit, except in Bahir Dar and in the area of Lake Tana, 1.830 meters above sea level.
In the Rift Valley malaria is seasonal, therefore the risk rises during the rainy season.


The Omo Valley and Gambela, which are almost certainly two of the main tourist destinations and attraction, especially Omo Valley, are at high risk of malaria all year round regardless of rainfall.
So here is lies a real problem.
Pills against malaria yes or not?

I chose not, although I have with me a box of malarone to use for therapeutic purposes if I were to catch it, but this is not to prevent it, given also the duration of my stay, two months, and besides doctors themselves have advised me against taking it for an extended period. Yes for travelers in the short term that are planning to visit the Omo Valley Omo or Gambella or the Rift Valley during the rainy period.

This is a prophylaxis to follow at your own discretion.
Apart from choosing to take the pills or not, there are some things to do in any case, keeping in mind that prophylaxis is not a vaccine so there is still the risk of getting ill and we must always stay alert.
Therefore here's how to behave during a trip to Ethiopia and Africa in general.

  • Avoid going out at dusk and dawn, the risk of mosquito bites increase significantly during these hours
  • Always sleep with a net on the bed and make sure it is firmly set under the mattress, be sure that gnats and mosquitoes can’t get in
  • Wear light colored clothing, as dark vivid colors attract insects, and cover up your arms and legs
  • Spray insecticides with pyrethrum or permethrin in bedrooms and even on clothes
  • Use all the time repellent based on N, N-diethyl- m- toluamide the dimethyl phthalate ( also 2 or 3 times a day )
  • Use all the time repellent based on N, N-diethyl- m- toluamide the dimethyl phthalate ( also 2 or 3 times a day )


I hope that we all use the same caution on this matter also outside Africa, however in Ethiopia the risk increases greatly. So if you have encounters either with locals or other travelers in the country, always use a condom and bring th

Aggiornato il: 1 Dicembre 2015
Scritto da: Giulia Raciti

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Scritto da Giulia Raciti

Esperta di Africa e Latino America sono in viaggio dal 2011. Attualmente a bordo di un van. Ho fatto un giro del mondo in solitaria durato 3 anni. Scrivo delle destinazioni che visito. Mi occupo di realizzazione viaggi personalizzati e su misura in Africa e Sud America sul sito dedicato Kipepeo Experience.

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