What is the time in Ethiopia, and other best tips

Time in Ethiopia? How could that be different from the rest of the world? Well, it is. Timing in Ethiopia is much different from the rest of the world. Not only the time, but the calendar is different as well. September is the beginning of the year, not January. You will have to celebrate two new years if you live in Ethiopia. Christmas in local is on January 7 not on December 29. Better get prepared for two Christmases as well.

This is surprising for many foreigners in the country. We heard stories of confusion in setting meeting time or at least in discussions. Time in Ethiopia is much different and you should know how to count it if you are traveling there. You will probably get confused as well or might even miss important meetings and events.

Here, I will show you the local timing in Ethiopia, the time difference between time in Ethiopia and time in other cities, and the best time to visit Ethiopia.

What is Ethiopia time?

‘It is like time travel’, one tourist from the US said, trying to contain her amazement. ‘What year is it again?’, She asked again, trying to confirm the new fact she learned. ‘It is 2012, one of the guides’, replied, ‘we are 8 years back from the rest of the world.’ It is not only the year that is different in Ethiopia, but also the time. The days have twelve hours that start from one and the evening starts with one again. Therefore, seven in the morning is one in the morning in Ethiopia. Noon is 6, not 12. The evening starts at one again.

Therefore, the time is determined by sunrise and sunset. The day and the night are equal and do not vary like the northern hemisphere.

Ethiopia Local Time vs everyone’s time

‘What is local time Ethiopia?’, is what visitors in Ethiopia usually ask locals, trying to simplify the communication, and trying to know the time as well. Local time in Ethiopia is easy to understand. Here is how you should understand time in Ethiopia, or what time Ethiopia uses.

First, the day has 12 hours and the night has 12 hours that gives 24 hours as a total. Most of the seasons have equal day and night, unlike many European, and American countries.  The slight time difference in the middle of the year (the beginning in September, not January, by the way) is short or not noticeable. Ethiopia does not observe daylight saving time.

Therefore, why not start your day from 1 o’clock, and not 7 o’clock. Then count to 12, until evening. The evening begins at 1 and till 12 in the morning.

You time Local
Morning 7 PM 1 o’clock
Lunch time(noon) 12 PM 6 o’clock
Day ends 6 AM 12 o’clock
Evening begins 7 AM 1 o’clock
Midnight 12 AM 6 o’clock
Morning 6 PM 12 o’clock

In short, the day begins at 1 and ends at 12 and the evening begins at 1 and ends at 12.

Ethiopia time now

Ethiopia Time Zone

Offset Time zone abbreviation and name
UTC +3 East African Time EAT

Ethiopia time zone

Ethiopia Time Difference

There is no time difference between Addis Ababa and Ethiopia. However, Ethiopia time difference is obvious compared to other countries and cities. New York is 8 hours behind Ethiopian time. London is five hours behind the time in Ethiopia.   

City  difference Ethiopia
New York -Time Zone: America/New York -Universal Time Coordinated, (UTC): UTC-5 -Daylight Saving Time, DST: UTC-4   -8 -Time Zone: Africa/Addis Ababa -Universal Time Coordinated: UTC: UTC+3 -Note: no Daylight-Saving Time in use.
London -Time Zone: Europe/London -Universal Time Coordinated, (UTC): UTC+0 Daylight Saving Time, DST: UTC+1 -Standard Time: UTC+0 -5
Berlin (City) Time Zone: Europe/Berlin Universal Time Coordinated (UTC): UTC+1 Daylight Saving Time ( DST): UTC+2 Standard Time: UTC+1 -2

Add these numbers to your time to know Ethiopia Time Difference (what time it is in Ethiopia)

Following this, guide here is Ethiopia time differences to world cities, in different continents and time zones.


  • Los Angeles        -11 hours
  • Mexico City         -9 hours
  • New York             -8 hours
  • São Paulo            -6 hours


  • London -3 hours


  • Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Madrid        -2 hours
  • Istanbul 0
  • Moscow 0


  • Mumbai               +2:30 hours
  • Hong Kong          +5 hours
  • Singapore +5
  • Tokyo    +6 hours


  • Sydney +8 hours

Best Time to Visit Ethiopia

The best time in Ethiopia (to visit Ethiopia) is in the summertime. Ethiopia is a high-altitude country, as most cities are above 1600 meters above sea level. Addis Ababa is 2355 meters above sea-level, Lalibela is 2,600 m (8,500 ft) located between Lasta mountains in the eastern highlands and Siemen mountains in the north are up to 3200 or higher meters above sea level. Fog and continuous rain are normal in these areas and it makes trekking and other activities harder. Therefore, the best time to visit most cities in the country is from September to April, where the rainy season ends and the summer takes place.

Related: What is Ethiopia known for?

There are only two big seasons in the country, the summer, and winter. You obviously don’t recognize the rest. Summer is dry time and winter is rainy season. Rain begins in June or July and up to august or to the end of September. The number of tourists might vary in these months but the time should depend on what you are looking for. After all the climate differs from what people from the northern hemisphere got used to. Three is no harsh or extreme weather here. There is always sun shining, even in the middle of the winter. After all, Ethiopia is called 13 months of sunshine.

Best Time to Visit Ethiopia is, therefore, between October and March, months that the land is dry. The worst time is between July and August. The rain is the best visitor in these months.

Time in Ethiopia: Final words

When you plan to be in Ethiopia it is best to understand three things about the time. First, counting time in Ethiopia is different from the rest of the world. Ethiopian time begins at 1 in the morning and end at 12, not begins at 7 and ends at 6. Since there is no daylight saving in this time zone, the day and the night hours are equal. Therefore, it is better for the local to count time from 1 to 12-day time and 1 to 12 night time. When you visit Ethiopia, it is better to get prepared for time confusion, telling time in Ethiopia. When the locals ask you to come at 3 in the morning, they are referring at time 9 in the morning. You can always deduct 6 hours to know the local time or you need to ask if it is in local time or ‘Ferenji’ (name given for tourists) time?

It is not only the time but also the calendar. Like the Jews and arabas, Ethiopia also has its own calendar. It is September the new year, not January in Ethiopia. Christmas is also the not same day as the rest of the world. It is always to ask or to check before making an appointment with Ethiopians, especially when you are there.

Second, a thing to know about time in Ethiopia is the time difference with your city. Ethiopia is located at UTC +3. If you are in Las Angeles, for example, your UTC is -8. Therefore, there is 11 hours difference between your city and Ethiopia.

If you are in India, your UTC is +5:30, therefore, there is 2:30 minutes difference between your time and Ethiopia time.

Third, the best Time Ethiopia for tourists is between October and March, months that the land is dry. The worst time is between July and August. The rain and the cloudy days make it hard for tourists that have less time to stay. Although it is an experience itself to see a day with sun and rain, as there is not extreme weather here, it is better to plan based on the objective of your travel. If you are serious about animals, then summer is better. If you into the tourist destinations, then any time is good, as long as you dress for the occasion.

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