|Topography & Area:
Ethiopia is a huge tableland, thousands of
meters high, with steep slopes or escarpments that
forms the sides of the Rift Valley which rise abruptly to the Central Plateau
on the northwest and the Eastern Plateau on the southeast.
These rugged, high tablelands
slope away from the axis to the
Eastern Plains and the Indian Ocean. The
southwestern part of the Rift Valley is marked by the Rift Valley Lakes,
the largest of which is Lake Abbaya. The present
Ethiopia, as large as France and Spain
combined, has an area of approximately
1.14 million square kilometers (444,000 squares
miles). About 65 percent of the land is arable,
with 15 percent presently cultivated.
Addis Ababa, the capital, is a gateway to
all regions, a political, commercial and industrial heart of the country. Now, a city of
about 4 million people, was founded by Emperor Minilik in 1887. It is the host of the
Organization of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
(ECA) and several other international and regional organizations which have their
headquarters and branch offices here in the capital.
Some of the major cities of the country are Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar,
Mekele and Nazareth.
Climate & Time Zone:
Although Ethiopia lies within 15 degrees
north of the equator, owing to the moderating influence of high altitude, the central
highlands, where the vast majority of Ethiopian peoples live, generally enjoy temperate
and pleasant climate, with average temperatures rarely exceeding 20 degree centigrade. The
sparsely populated low lands, on the other hand, typically have sub-tropical and tropical
climates. At approximately 850mm (34 inches), the average annual rainfall for the whole
country is considered to be moderate by global standards. In most of the highlands,
rainfall occurs in two distinct seasons: the "small" rains during February and
March and the "high" rains from June to September.
Ethiopia is in the GMT+3 hours time zone.
Ethiopian time goes by 12- hours cycles of day and night. One cycle starts with 'one' at
0700(morning) and goes on to 'twelve' which is 1800; another cycle starts at 1900 ('one'
evening) and goes through to 0600 ('twelve' dawn).