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.
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.
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.
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
Experience Ethiopia's northern circuit in style. Explore the incredible highland scenery, visit ancient monuments, discover unique cultural traditions, and break up your journey at luxury lodges set amongst incredible backdrops.…
- 12 Days
Explore the Simien Mountains from a luxury lodge perched high in the escarpment, discover the architectural remains of ancient civilisations, and watch the sun set over the sandstone cliffs of Tigray. The Historic North Circuit is a flagship itinerary in…
- 12 Days
Fusing history, culture, landscapes and wildlife along a perfectly paced circuit, this trip is a synthesis of the very best experiences on offer in Ethiopia’s northern highlands. Explorations of the ancient cities Axum, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lalibela are broken…
- 12 Days
This trip packs in a myriad of history, culture and some of the best scenery in Africa. Explore the palaces of Gondar, the world-famous rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, and the sweeping plateaus of the Simien Mountains. Leave enough time either…
- 7 Days
Experience the colourful Timket festival along the sweeping plateaus of rural Amhara on a community trek. Continue your adventure through the classic northern circuit where you'll discover ancient monuments from bygone civilisations, diverse wildlife, incredible views and wonderful people.…
- 16 Days
Ethiopian Christmas in Lalibela is one of the most memorable experiences anywhere in Africa. Thousands of pilgrims, draped in white gowns, gather around the 13th century rock-hewn churches for an evening of celebration, reflection, and reverence.…
- 9 Days
Hike across electric landscapes of thick forests, Afro-alpine moorland, peaks and plateaus, and jungle thickets. An extraordinary outdoor adventure, with high altitude hikes unlocking staggering viewpoints, beautiful clearings, and endemic wildlife. At night, the sky is ablaze with starlight in…
- 7 Days
The classic 3-night camping circuit in the Simien Mountains. This trip is usually included as part of a wider itinerary in the country.…
- 4 Days
Combining the best that Ethiopia has to offer south of Addis Ababa, this two-week odyssey takes you to the farthest corners of the Omo Valley, through the verdant forests of the Bale Mountains, and across the lakes of the Great…
- 13 Days
This classic route is perfect if you're looking for an introduction to Ethiopia, but don't have a lot of time. The focus is on the historic cities, monuments, and culture of northern Ethiopia, with plenty of wildlife and vistas along…
- 6 Days
Community trekking in Wollo and Tigray and hiking through the Simien Mountains National Park highlight the staggering natural beauty of Ethiopia. Tours of the ancient cities of Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Gondar and Axum play supporting roles.…
- 12 Days
Every city in Ethiopia has a story to tell. In under 10 days, discover some of Ethiopia's most important towns, each different from the last in so many ways.…
- 9 Days
Discover the beauty of the Simien Mountains with this one week trekking adventure. Our Brilliant local guides know all the hidden gems to get the most out of your time on the 'Roof of Africa'. Easy to incorporate into a…
- 7 Days
Meander through the stunning Rift Valley Lakes, staying at boutique lakeside lodges as you make your way towards the Bale Mountains National Park.…
- 10 Days
Great for wildlife and hiking enthusiasts, this 4-day adventure into the Bale Mountains works great as a standalone itinerary, or as and add-on to a wider tour of the south.…
- 4 Days
Our community trekking routes are among our favourite experiences in Ethiopia. Offering a unique insight into rural Ethiopia through trails off-the-beaten-track, we're yet to find anyone who isn't blown away by the beauty of the rolling hills of Lalibela, the…
- 15 Days
A true adventure across the northernmost reaches of Ethiopia. Experience community trekking on the plateaus of Tigray, where horizons stretch for miles, distant mountain peaks morph into hazy silhouettes lit by the evening sun, and pockets of light and shadow…
- 11 Days
6 days trekking in the Simien Mountains, across the vast plateaus and down into the valleys to discover some of the most exciting regions of the park. A proper wilderness escape.…
- 6 Days
This 3 day Simien Trek is the perfect introduction to the national park. Enough time to hike to all the major viewpoints, see the wildlife, and enjoy the beauty of these highlands.…
- 3 Days
The Simien Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s most stunning destinations. With its diverse flora and fauna, immense views and extraordinary geography, it’s an exceptional place that can be enjoyed by hardy trekkers and afternoon strollers alike. A couple of nights…
- 5 Days
The classic northern trail extends south into the Omo Valley, passing through the Rift Valley Lakes and highland peaks of the Bale Mountains. A once in a lifetime adventure combining the very best that Ethiopia has to offer.…
- 20 Days
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