Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined and has an estimated population of 77 million, over 50% of whom are under 20 years of age. The official language is Amharic; however English, Italian and Arabic are also spoken in the capital.

Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 metres on which Addis Ababa is situated at approximately 2,600 metres.

Addis has an estimated population of 4 million. It is an international centre, and hosts the headquarters of both the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU). Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways have flights from Europe to Addis Ababa and vise versa. Ethiopian Airlines has quite a network of services within Africa. It runs very good services to most nations in Africa. There are also regular services to the Middle East, India, Thailand, China and North America.

Throughout most of the country there are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through to May - temperatures rising from October ; the wet season runs from June to September and sometimes into October. The altitude of Addis counters the effect of being between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. In all seasons the evenings/ nights can be cool ( around 10 degrees C. ) and the days are warm to moderate.

Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hour time zone. The country follows the Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a thirteenth month of 5 or 6 days. Thus the Tourist Office Line ' Ethiopia - the land of 13 months of sunshine.'

Religious holidays like Christmas and Easter are between 14-15 days after when they fall in the Western/ Gregorian calendar. It should be pointed out that the Gregorian/ Western holidays are observed and the School, along with most Commerce, follows this calendar.

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