Crime in Ethiopia - tips on how to avoid it!

Aside from border regions, Ethiopia is a reasonably safe place to travel.

While security situations can sometimes crumble and be a disruption to travellers, crime within Ethiopia's borders isn't too dangerous.

But like anywhere in Africa it's important to stay vigilant and be alert to any crime.


The ancient art of pickpocketing is a constant threat in Ethiopia and is the usual crime Westerners will experience if they are victims of crime.

"Snatch and run" thefts, including from occupied vehicles and other petty crimes are common in the capital, Addis Ababa.

This is the sad truth of most African cities and it will be hard to avoid these sorts of crimes if you spend long enough in Africa.

But remain cautious and aware of your surroundings. Always keep in mind pickpocketing is usually a crime of opportunity rather than a planned attack. So don't provide these people with a chance and you should be ok.

In terms of areas to watch out for exercise caution in crowded streets and avoid visiting the Mercato in Addis Ababa, a large open-air market

To stay away from crime and criminals just know your surroundings and times of year. Crims will be looking for an easy score on national and religious dates.

Crime on the Roads

Travellers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia.

There have been reports of highway robbery, including carjacking, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence.

So if you need to travel by road, be cautious and limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys.

When driving, be wary of other motorists warning you of a mechanical problem or loose tire. This may be a ruse used by thieves to get you to stop the vehicle.

Most of all, be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times to ensure that you aren't being followed.

All in all Ethiopia is fairly good when it comes to crime. All African nations will hold some degree of risk when you are travelling but when you touch down you will get the feel of the country quick.

The best advice is to think on your feet, know where you are and be comfortable with changing your plans if something seems risky.

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1 Comment

  • Clemmie said

    Lovely country and people. And was loving our holiday up until My Husband had his mobile phone stolen whilst we were walking back from the Supermarket. Teenagers pushing magazines onto him shouting they were hungry to then steal his phone from his pocket. We both shouted for them to go away. They pushed my Husband and then ran off. Needless to say I am saddened- the phone had all our Anniversary celebrations on from the day before. We are widely travelled, always cautious and for obvious reasons sadly will not return because of this. No excuse for making a person feel violated whilst in another Country and clearly stealing to order. These people need punishing. The lack of food story is rubbish and having spent so much here and donated to the church- angry that people don't do anythingto prevent this. Sorry would not recommend

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