How To Find Fantastic Ethiopian Gifts | 10 Ethiopian Souvenirs

What are the best Ethiopian gifts?

Are you planning to travel to Addis Ababa or rural Ethiopia and would you like to bring back souvenirs? 

Then you came to the right place!

I’ve been lucky to have been working with one of the smartest Ethiopians I’ve ever met: Tsegazeab H. Assgedom. 

I consider him a friend and am grateful to have learned much from him about Ethiopia. 

In this post, Tsega will be your guide on a fantastic journey featuring the best Ethiopian gifts and souvenirs

Read on!

ethiopian gifts

1. Oromay (Book)

I remember it was July, a month full of rain in Ethiopia. 

I was a little kid from the center Addis Ababa with no money to indulge in buying books but with a great love for reading. 

My late-aunt, who was an elementary teacher, looked at my melancholic mood and gave me 50 birr. It was a lot of money for me at the time. 

Jumping with joy, I went to the local book seller and asked him to give me a “serious” book. Hesitantly he gave me the book “Oromay.” He continued: “I don’t know if I should give you this but since you asked for it…”. 

Little did I know that I got myself one of the best books in the history of Ethiopia which was banned for a long time because of its political implications. Since the previous government “biblioclasted” the book, there weren’t many copies available at the time. You’d often only find the books in people’s homes, but not in stores.

About a week later my aunt suddenly passed away and I have held on to this Ethiopian masterpiece ever since.

Tip: You can find more books like this on the Ethiopian country page.


2. Ethiopian Straw Baskets

Ethiopian straw baskets are handwoven baskets from natural fibers such as grass, straw, and reed. 

Traditionally, women in rural areas of Ethiopia make them, particularly in the Tigray and Amhara region

The baskets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and are often intricately woven with colorful patterns. 

Ethiopian straw baskets serve a variety of purposes, including the carrying goods, food storage, and to decorate homes. 

They’re famous for their durability, eco-friendliness, and unique cultural significance and thus make for great lasting Ethiopian gifts.

This straw basket in our home is more than 25 years old!

Ethiopian Gifts

3. Honey | Edible Ethiopian Gifts

ethiopian souvenirs

Worldwide many people appreciate Ethiopian honey for its unique taste and quality. 

Honey production is an important industry in Ethiopia and the country is the largest honey producer in Africa. 

Ethiopian honey has floral and fruity flavors, coming from a diverse range of plants like  acacia, eucalyptus, and coffee.

Traditional beekeepers produce the honey with ttraditional methods. To do so, they use hollowed-out logs or woven hives made from plant fibers to house the bees. They then extract the honey by crushing the honeycomb and straining the honey through a sieve.

One of the most popular types of Ethiopian honey is “white honey.” As you probably guessed, the bees feed on the nectar of the white flowers. The result is a honey with a light color and a delicate, floral flavor.

Another popular type of Ethiopian honey is “tazma honey,” by bees that feed on the tazma plant. Tazma is a type of wild mint which gives the honey a strong, minty flavor. Ethiopians also use it for medicinal purposes.

Ethiopian honey has culinary and medicinal purposes. It is a natural sweetener in coffee and tea and used in traditional Ethiopian dishes like honey wine (tej) and honey bread (dabo kolo). 

Many believe that Ethiopian honey has various health benefits. It has antibacterial properties, the ability to soothe sore throats, and the potential to aid in wound healing.

Overall, honey is a delicious and unique Ethiopian gift to bring back from your travels. You can find it in markets and specialty stores.

4. Art from Ethiopia


Ethiopian art has a long and rich history influenced by diverse cultures and religions like, including Christianity and Islam.

One of the most notable forms of Ethiopian art is religious art, which is characterized by the use of intricate patterns, bright colors, and striking imagery. Ethiopian Orthodox Christian art, for example, often features depictions of biblical scenes and saints, and it is often found in churches and monasteries throughout the country. Islamic art, on the other hand, is characterized by geometric patterns and calligraphy.

In addition to religious art, Ethiopia also has a strong tradition of secular art, including painting, sculpture, and photography. Many Ethiopian artists have gained international recognition for their work, and the country has a vibrant contemporary art scene.

One of the most famous Ethiopian artists is Afewerk Tekle, who is known for his stunning murals and mosaics in public buildings and churches. Other notable Ethiopian artists include Eskinder Boghossian, who was a pioneer of modern Ethiopian art, and Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu, who is known for her abstract paintings and prints.

In recent years, Ethiopian art has gained renewed interest and attention, with a growing number of galleries and art institutions showcasing the work of Ethiopian artists. The Addis Fine Art gallery, for example, is one of the leading galleries in Ethiopia, showcasing contemporary Ethiopian art and promoting emerging artists.

Overall, Ethiopian art is a rich and diverse fieldthat reflects the country’s unique cultural heritage and artistic traditions. From religious art to contemporary works, Ethiopian art offers a fascinating and beautiful glimpse into the country’s history and culture.

ethiopian gifts

5. Ethiopian Clay Pottery

Ethiopian clay pottery is a traditional craft that has been practiced for centuries. The pottery is made by hand using natural clay from the Ethiopian highlands, which gives it a unique texture and color. The pottery is often decorated with intricate carvings and patterns that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage.

If you’re looking for a unique and authentic Ethiopian gift, clay pottery is an excellent choice. It’s not only beautiful, but also provides insight into the country’s long history of craftsmanship and artistic expression. Ethiopian clay pottery is versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. This variety includes serving food, storing items, or simply as a decorative piece.

Buying Ethiopian clay pottery also supports local artisans and communities. Many of the potters are women who rely on the income from their craft to support themselves and their families. By purchasing their pottery, you are helping to support their livelihoods and preserve this important cultural tradition.

When you bring home a piece of Ethiopian clay pottery, you’re not just buying a souvenir. You’re bringing home a piece of Ethiopian culture and history. 

Whether you use it to serve meals or display it as a decorative piece, Ethiopian clay pottery is a unique and meaningful addition to any home. Plus, it’s ridiculously cheap! 

My mother bought this one that you see below from a local potter, you can see there is a wheat put inside it for decoration.

6. Ethiopian Traditional Dress | Habesha Kemis

The Habesha kemis is a traditional Ethiopian dress worn by women.

 It is a long, flowing garment made from cotton fabric and is typically decorated with colorful knit around the neckline, hem, and sleeves. 

The dress is usually white, although it can also come in other colors such as yellow, pink, or blue. 

Ethiopian women have been wearing the habesha kemis for centuries. It’s commonly worn today for special occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and other celebrations. 

The dress is known for its comfort and elegance and of symbolic importance in Ethiopian culture.

ethiopian gift

7. Spices as Ethiopian Gifts

ethiopian gifts

Ethiopian spices are known for their unique flavors and aromas, and they play a central role in Ethiopian cuisine. Ethiopian dishes have rich and complex flavors, as the result of blending spices. The variety is enormous and depend on the dish and the region.

One of the most important Ethiopian spices is “berbere,” which is a blend of spices that typically includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and various other spices like cumin, coriander, and fenugreek. Berbere is used in a variety of Ethiopian dishes, including stews, soups, and meat dishes, and it is known for its spicy, smoky flavor.

Another popular Ethiopian spice is “mitmita,” which is a blend of chili peppers, cardamom, and salt. Mitmita is typically used as a seasoning for grilled meats and vegetables, and it is known for its intense, spicy flavor.

Other Ethiopian spices include “korerima,” which is a type of cardamom that is used in coffee, Nigella,” a type of seed used in bread and spice blends, and “turmeric,” which is used in a variety of dishes and gives a bright yellow color to foods.

You can typically find Ethiopian spices in local markets and spice shops. They are often available in pre-made blends or as individual spices. You can use these spices to add flavor and depth to a variety of dishes. 

In addition, they provide several health benefits, given their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger soothes upset stomachs and relieves nausea, whereas turmeric offers anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate pain and swelling.

Ethiopian spices are an important part of Ethiopian culture and cuisine. They’re unique and flavorful Ethiopian gifts to bring back from your travels. 

Whether you’re looking for a spicy berbere blend or a fragrant korerima, Ethiopian spices are sure to add a delicious and exotic touch to your cooking.

8. Ethiopian Musical Instruments

Ethiopian music has a rich and diverse history, and the country is known for its unique and vibrant musical traditions. Traditional Ethiopian music is often accompanied by a variety of instruments, each with its own distinct sound and purpose.

If you’re looking for unique and authentic Ethiopian gifts, a traditional Ethiopian musical instrument is an excellent choice. You could pick the krar, a six-stringed lyre made from goat skin and wood or the masinko, a single-stringed bowed instrument. There is a variety of instruments to choose from, each with its own unique sound and character.

In addition to their musical value, Ethiopian musical instruments are beautiful artworks. They are intricately crafted and decorated with colorful patterns and designs that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage.

For more music from Ethiopia, check out the best New & Old Ethiopian Music.

ethiopian souvenirs

9. Coffee Beans | The Ultimate Ethiopian Gift


Ethiopian coffee beans are famous for their rich flavor and unique taste. 

Many consider Ethiopia the birthplace of coffee. The legend goes that a 9th-century goatherder discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect on his sheep. Whether that’s true or not, the country certainly has a long history of producing high-quality coffee beans. 

The coffee grows at high altitudes in the country’s lush, tropical forests. This environment gives it a distinctive flavor profile that is unlike any other coffee. Ethiopian coffee is famous for a fruity and floral taste with a hint of chocolate and smooth finish.

If you’re looking for memorable Ethiopian gifts, coffee beans are an excellent choice. 

This delicious drink also provides a window into the country’s cultural history. Ethiopian coffee ceremonies are an important part of the culture to bring friends and family together. By buying Ethiopian coffee beans, you can extend this tradition to the comfort of your own home.

10. What better Ethiopian gift than jewlery?

Ethiopian jewelry is famous for its unique and intricate designs. It’s often handmade with traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations.

One of the most popular materials used in Ethiopian jewelry is silver. The silver is often intricately engraved or adorned with colorful beads or stones. Many Ethiopian silver jewelry pieces feature traditional motifs like crosses, stars, and geometric patterns. Many of use inspiration from the Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.

Another popular material used in Ethiopian jewelry is gold. Ethiopians use gold more commonly for elaborate wedding and ceremonial pieces. You’ll see that golden jewelry often contains adornments with precious stones like emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. These are pieces of high quality and craftsmanship.

But Ethiopian jewelry also includes a variety of other materials like bone, and leather. These materials create more distinctive pieces. One example is the traditional Ethiopian necklace called “mursi.” The Mursi people, living in southern Ethiopia,  create jewlery from cow horns and tusks. These usually represent wealth and status.

Jewelry is an important part of Ethiopian culture and is often worn to mark important life events like weddings, births, and religious ceremonies. Many Ethiopian jewelry pieces have a symbolic meaning and are passed down as family heirlooms.

Ethiopian necklaces are beautiful Ethiopian gifts within and outside of the country. 

You can find Ethiopian jewlery in markets and specialty stores throughout the country. 


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