All visitors to Ethiopia except for Kenyan and Djiboutian nationals must obtain an entry visa. Since 2002, tourists from 33 countries listed here with additional information are able to obtain entry visas upon their arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, the fees for single entry visa-upon-arrival is USD50 for one month or USD70 for three months, regardless of whether one is applying for a tourist, business or transit visa international transit without staying overnight will be visa-free, or you may request a free transit visa card from the interline counter on arrival in Addis Ababa Bole airport, if you are transiting between terminals 1 and 2. The procedure is relatively quick and painless; just look for a door with a sign "Visa" on the left hand before the immigration counters. Multiple entry visas are only issued with prior approval from Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Those entering by land will face EXTREME DIFFICULTY in obtaining a visa at a nearby overseas consulate e.g. Kampala, Cairo as there is a policy of not granting visas to non-residents. Obtaining a visa at Tel Aviv embassy is very easy though; it takes around 15 minutes and costs NIS100 for a 1 month visa and NIS150 for a 3 month visa. You can request a multiple entry visa at the same price if needed. Thus, the only true way to gain a visa if in Africa is by flying in, or posting your passport back to your home consulate. Be warned, that Ethiopian consulates are currently upholding this policy with no negotiation.
As of July 2012, the Ethiopian visa in Khartoum was easy to obtain for USD20 - a filled in form and 2 photos dropped in the morning was enough to get the visa on the same afternoon. These are sometimes for one month and sometimes for two, depending on the mood of the consular officials. Extending a visa in Addis Ababa is a day-long tedious process so bear it in mind if you are planning to stay for more than 4 weeks.
In September 2013 train service between Dire Dawa and Djibouti City started on the newly reconstructed Ethiopian railways. (http://allafrica.com/stor...)
Public transportation brings you to the border. To/from Sudan or Kenya you just walk to the other side. If you arrive at the border towns late at night, try not to cross the border in the dark. Wait in the town and do your travelling in the morning.
Buses that cover some distance start in early morning. This implies that if you arrive during the day you would be stuck at least until the next morning.
From Gedaref Sudan catch a bumpy bus or truck SDG700 to the border. The Sudanese side consists of several small villages and a tiny town. In Ethiopia you could find better, but basic, accommodation. Buses leaving for Gonder dry up by mid-afternoon so you must either arrive early at the border or spend the night in Metema around 50 birr.
From Djibouti you can take a small bus to the border 2-3h where you will find buses to Dire Dawa. This road is a dirt track and the trip takes at least half a day, at nightfall the bus stops and you resume travel the next day. From Ethiopia into Djibouti, a bus leaves supposedly around midnight buy tickets during the day at the office in the centre of Dire Dawa. This arrives at the Djibouti border in the morning where you change onto a different bus to get to Djibouti City. It is a good idea to take a tuk-tuk auto-rickshaw to the bus station as hyenas wander the streets of Dire Dawa at night.
Ethiopian Airlines IATA code ET is the sole domestic airline operator and one of the most successful and reputable airlines in Africa and is a Star Alliance member, servicing both the USA and Europe with direct flights.
Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines with flights to most capitals of Africa. An extremely attractive deal for ET passengers on their way to other East Africa safari destinations is to make a week stop-over in Ethiopia at no additional cost to enjoy the famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit before flying to their final destination.
Other international airlines serviced by Bole International Airport include: Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Egypt Air and Fly Dubai. A new runway and international terminal, which was said to be the largest in Africa, opened in 2003.
Many hotels will offer free pickup - be sure to book in advance. If not, upon arrival you may call your hotel for the transfer but may wait up to 1 hour depending on the traffic.
CAUTION: Arriving in the country without a major currency such as euros or US dollars is not recommended, especially if one has not obtained a visa prior to arrival. Travellers cheques and cash can be exchanged at the airport. There are several ATMs in the international airport terminal Terminal 2 accepting VISA-branded cards both debit and credit cards, but they're not reliable. You should have some cash in any major currency USD, Euro, Pounds, Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen
One way to get in from Sudan is via the border village of Metema.
One way to get in from Kenya is via the border town of Moyale. The road from Kenya to Ethiopia through the town of Moyale is much better and well maintained. On the Kenyan side of Moyale the road is horrible and is known for banditry so be careful and make sure you have plenty of time, at least 24 hours, to travel from Moyale to Nairobi.