What is the weather like in Ethiopia in January?

The average daytime temperature in Ethiopia in January is 22°C. At night, temperatures average 5°C. In the Simien Mountains and other highland regions, temperatures can fall below freezing at night. 

There is little chance of rain in January, and conditions are great for visiting the extreme north and south - the Danakil Depression and the Omo Valley

Check out our guide on the best time to visit Ethiopia for a more information. 

Ethiopia in January

Views from Imet Gogo, Simien Mountains National Park.

Festivals in Ethiopia in January

Two of the biggest festivals on the Ethiopian calendar, Ethiopian Christmas and Timkat, fall in January each year. 

Experiencing these festivals first-hand is magical. There's nothing quite like being in a centuries-old subterranean church, high in the mountains in the rural Ethiopian countryside, surrounded by white-clothed pilgrims all singing and chanting in the dead of night. 

Rock churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Christmas

Ethiopian Christmas takes place on the 7th January on the Gregorian calendar.

In the weeks leading up to this date, many observe a 43-day fast known as ‘Fast of the Prophets’.

During this period, much of the population only eat one vegetarian or vegan meal per day, as well as abstaining from all alcoholic beverages.

The best place to be during Ethiopian Christmas is Lalibela, where celebrations take place over a number of days, with the rock-hewn churches at the epicentre. 


The festival of Timkat, also known as Epiphany, is an annual festival that is meant to replicate Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan.

Taking place on the 19th January, the epicentre for the Timkat festivities is the Fasilides bathhouse in Gonder

The festival breathes life into these historic buildings, and while Gonder is the best place to be, there are colourful celebrations across the country. 

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Brilliant says

Because of the two festivals, visiting Ethiopia in January is more expensive than the rest of the year, particularly if you plan to be in Lalibela, Gonder, or Addis Ababa for the main events. 

Trips to Ethiopia in January

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