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Addis Ababa (Amharic: አዲስ አበባ) is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. It had a population of about 3.35 million in 2016 and it is growing very rapidly like many African cities.
There are more than 120 international missions and embassies in Addis Ababa, making the city a hub for international diplomacy concerning Africa. The headquarters of the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are both in the city. The European Union and the United States both have two delegations in Addis Ababa, one for bilateral relations with Ethiopia and one for the African Union.
The city is divided into ten boroughs, known as subcities, then further divided into wards (kebeles). Suburbs include Shiro Meda and Entoto in the north, Urael and Bole (home to Bole International Airport) in the east, Nifas Silk in the south-east, Mekanisa in the south, and Keraniyo and Kolfe in the west. Many of the wealthiest people live in the southeast (Bole), southwest (old airport), CMC, Ayat and Lamberet parts of town. The city is one of the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to have rail based public transit. The light rail system built with Chinese help is often credited with a rapid change of connected parts of the city.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Addis Ababa features a subtropical highland climate (Cwb), a variety of the temperate oceanic climate, with wet summer (comparable to Mexico City). The average highs are between 21 °C (70 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F). The average lows are between 7 °C (45 °F) and 11 °C (52 °F). The warmest months are February to May, but not "hot" as people imagine Africa: Most hotels do not have air-conditioning. Temperatures and climate can vary due to elevation. Addis Ababa has 132 rainy days per year and records 1,165 mm (45.9 in) of rainfalls annually.
Temperatures in Addis Ababa are remarkably constant from month to month: the annual temperature variation is low with around 4 °C (7.2 °F). However, due to its altitude of 2,400 m (7,900 ft), the diurnal temperature variation is high with around 14 °C (25 °F) difference between day and night in average: It is often 27 °C (81 °F) at lunchtime and 3 °C (37 °F) at night; always take a second layer with you during the evening.
- The dry winter season is from October to March.
- The monsoon season is from June to September. Even if temperature are similar with other month, July and August appear colder and less comfortable due to 80% relative humidity, few hours of sunshine and daily rains: tonsillitis and common cold are frequent. Rains also cause mud and make dirt-roads soapy. Floods happens on roads creating traffic jams, notably at the beginning of the rainy season (end-June), when the water drainage pipes are corked by dust and wastes accumulated during 8 months of dry season. Thunderstorms (short but heavy rains) are frequent and isolated. In instance, it not uncommon to move to another area of the city for a 2-hour lunch in Bole and discover wet roads when coming back to Arada. In August, it is also possible to experience some hail.
- The warm summer season around April and May is almost unnoticeable in Addis Ababa (more visible in other parts of Ethiopia).
1 Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD IATA) is the busiest airport in East Africa. It is the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines, one of the most successful and reputable airlines in Africa. The airport also hosts Lufthansa, Air Djibouti, Eritrean Airlines, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, Saudi Airlines, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air and fly Dubai. There are daily flights from Europe, the United States, Asia, and many African cities including Accra, Bamako, Brazzaville, Cairo, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Khartoum, Harare, Johannesburg, Nairobi. From the U.S., there are direct flights from LAX, Newark Liberty, and Washington, D.C., stopping over at either Dublin or Lomé.
There are two terminals. Terminal 1 (the older, smaller one) is for all domestic flights and most flights to cities in neighbouring nations (Djibouti, Nairobi, Khartoum, etc.). Terminal 2 (the newer 2003 building) is for all other international flights of Ethiopian Airlines and most other companies – arrangements may change so check first. Terminal 2 is said to be the largest terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. There are ATMs accepting Visa and Mastercard and forex services taking a wide range of currencies.
Access into the terminals is restricted, as of July 2019. Taxis and anyone who comes to meet you will be out in the carpark, though a dozen of the top hotels still have a booth inside the arrivals area. Similar rules apply at the other airports in the country, for both arrivals and departures. Many hotels will send a vehicle to pick up guests if you have arranged it. The Sheraton Addis, Dreamliner, Hilton Addis, most other hotels, and many popular guesthouses provide a regular shuttle service for guests. There is a public transport stop a bit outside, under the highway (Ring Road) bridge. As of 2017, the airport is more than 4 km (2.5 mi) from the closest Light Rail Transit Station, which makes it unconnected in practice. In the future, a new line is planned to connect Bole Airport to the rest of the Light Rail Transit network.
There is a fixed taxi fee of 300 birr to get from the airport to practically any place in the city center, as of December 2018. Taxi drivers gather in a parking lot next to the airport. Most likely they will approach you shouting "Taxi!". Legit drivers should have their car marked in yellow/green color and place a license in a visible place.
Foreigners are often greeted by a throng of locals attempting to "help" load their luggage into cars. They're largely harmless and just looking for a tip, but it could be easy to lose a bag. An appropriate tip for a minor task like loading luggage into a car is 5 to 15 birr (ignore requests for more money just because you are a foreigner). If you have one person help you, twenty will ask for a tip. If you have a driver pick you up at the airport they will typically take care of any tips for you. Avoid walking alone around the airport, especially at night.
The main Ethiopian ticket office in Addis is said to be in the Hilton Hotel.
Most of the major roads are in good condition:
- From Asmara and Dese: Highway 1
- From Axum and Bahir Dar: Highway 3
- From Djibouti and Nazret (Adama): Highway 4
- From Gambela National Park and Gambela: Highway 5
- From Jimma and Giyon: Highway 6
Trans-African Highway 4 from Cairo and Bahir Dar passes through Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi and Cape Town.
- 2 Autobus Tera (አውቶቢስ ተራ የረጅም ርቀት ባስ መናኸሪያ) (corner of Fitawrari Habte Giyorgis St and Central African Republic St / Somalia St, on the north-west side of Mercato). This is the main bus terminal where most of the national buses arrive and depart.
- 3 Ras Mekonin Avenue (near the railway station). Buses to/from Adama (Nazret), Bishoftu, Dire Dawa, Nairobi, Lalibela, Shahemene, Awasa and Bahir Dar are or were here. July 2011 - Ras Makonnen - or La Gare - closed and moved to the Akaki Kality District on Sierra Leone St (Debre Zeit Rd).
- 4 Asco. Buses west to Nekempte and beyond go from Asco on the old Ambo Road.
The railway line connecting Addis Ababa with the port city of Djibouti, via Dire Dawa opened in 2016/17. Journey time is about twelve hours and as of 2019 there is one train every second day. Tickets can be bought at the railway station or at a ticket office next to the old colonial Legehar station (a portmanteau of the French name for station, la gare) on Churchill Ave.
- 5 Addis Ababa Furi-Lebu railway station. This impressive new station is unfortunately located almost 20 km (12 mi) south of city center, far away from anything. Taking a taxi is the best option, expect up to 45 minutes for a trip to the central city.
Very few streets have names and when they do, they may not be named correctly on a map; use landmarks to navigate the city.
Sample minibus prices
Blue and white minibuses
Blue and white minibuses/taxis travel quite efficiently around town. Since they are full with people most of the time, it is very cheap too; usually between 1–3 birr depending on how far you are going. To catch a minibus, stand on the side of the road and hail it. This can be done anywhere it is possible for the bus to stop. The conductor inside will call out the destination, and if that's where you want to go: get on. You pay the conductor when he signals to you that he wants money (which might take a few minutes). To get change. To get out say "woraj alle", or just "woraj". It is worth having an Ethiopian guide with you if it is your first time using these taxis, since it can be quite chaotic to find out what minibuses go where, and from what places.
Orange/yellow public buses
These buses connect the whole city for a fare of 0.5–3 birr (2016). There are no schedules or maps available, however if you wait on a major street where a crowd gathers you can ask other people or the cashier – which is always in a cabin at the back door – for your destination. Line 31 for example is a convenient line from Meskel Square to the National Museum or Trinity Church. The buses are often overcrowded, so watch your belongings
Sample taxi prices
As of February 2014
Uber does not operate here yet, but there are a few alternatives. Zayrides is one that has worked, albeit somewhat more wonkily. It's often easier to find a cab on the street, unless you're somewhere inside a restaurant or hotel until the driver arrives. They will typically call you when they accept the ride to confirm your location and then again when they arrive. The car's location in the app will often not update.
Small blue Lada taxis
Small blue Lada taxis are more expensive. Negotiation is the norm and you often have to press quite hard to get a bargain as a foreigner. They can be contracted for a single trip, an hour, or a full day; just negotiate. Do not be surprised if the price of the taxi increases at night for the same trip. For example the trip Piazza-Bole Airport can be as low as 100 birr at day, but rises to 150 after dark (2016).
Yellow and green taxis usually hang around hotels like Sheraton. They are more expensive, but reliable. If you're willing to pay for peace of mind, slightly better drivers and a car that wasn't featured in the Flintstones, use these cars.
By light rail
The Chinese built a system of light rail lines (one of the first in sub-Saharan Africa) in the 2010s. There are two lines that cross near Meskel square:
- West–East green line 1 is from Tor Hailoch station to Ayat.
- North–South blue line 2 is from Kality station to Menelik II Square station (aka Piazza).
Cost is 2 birr for an 8-station trip and up to 6 birr to go everywhere. Development along light rail stations is going on at breakneck pace and many former slums have been replaced by relatively upscale housing businesses and retail.
During peak hours the light rail is so crowded as to be almost dangerous. Pickpockets are common, and riders are not used to the concept of letting people off before they get on. As a result, you may need to physically shove passengers out of your way to get off the train--if not, it may be several stops until you can get off!
If you need an airport shuttle to your hotels or other destination, there are some taxis parked outside the airport. They probably take you anywhere you want to go but negotiate the fee before you board. If you want a peace of mind, you can reserve a shuttle service called iEthio.com[dead link] before you arrive.
Amharic is spoken by the majority of the population, with other languages (namely Oromo and Gurange) spoken by a minority. For all intents and purposes, learning basic Amharic words and phrases will be enough for any trip, as it is unlikely you will encounter anyone who doesn't speak some Amharic.
Increasing numbers of young people can speak English, especially those who are more affluent. Be aware that Ethiopians usually speak English with a heavy accent, which can be difficult for an American or British person to understand. In the city centre, most people you encounter will speak English fluently. However, if you venture into residential neighborhoods, especially poor areas, you may find that hardly anyone can speak English well.
If you walk along the road from Meskel Square to Sidest Kilo, you'll probably find it quite entertaining and interesting. You'll see the Africa Hall, the palaces and the Parliament building, the Hilton Hotel, the marvellous architectural adventure of a building hosting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sheraton Hotel, the first modern school (which Emperor Menelik II built in the 1880s), the Trinity Orthodox cathedral, the National Museum, and the Addis Ababa University (which hosts a former palace and museum).
Arat Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue built in commemoration of the Ethiopian day of victory during the Second World War, while Sidest Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue commemorating some 39,000 residents of Addis Ababa killed by Italian fascist troops. Around Arat Kilo, you will find part of an old town known as Serategna Sefer (literally, the residential area of labourers).
If you go past Sidest Kilo, the road becomes steeper and many of the attractions will be on the right side of the road. The Entoto college (previously Teferi Mekonnen School) and the US Embassy are on this side of the street. After the Embassy there's an open market called Shiro Meda where traditional craftsmen sell their homemade fabrics, pots and other craftwork. The marketplace is at the foot of the Entoto Mountains, which rise up to 3,300 m (10,827 ft) above sea level.
You can take a taxi or a bus to the mountain unless you are of a mind to try it yourself. On the mountain, you will find the first churches of Addis Ababa, called Saint Mary and Saint Raguel, and a smaller palace of Menelik II. Walking the mountain, especially between the churches, is refreshing and gives the chance to see rural life, the city, forest and unbelievably beautiful landscape intersected by farmlands and farmers trails. It is from here that Menelik II and Queen Taitu conceived the establishment of Addis Ababa. You can get a sense of the city plan by viewing the city from here.
- 1 Addis Ababa Museum, Bole Rd / Airport Rd / Africa Ave (near Meskel Square). Tu–F 08:30–12:30, 13:30–17:30; Sa 08:30–11:30. Focuses on artefacts and exhibits from Addis Ababa. The building was once a palace where Ras Biru Habte-Gabriel, a former Minister of War, resided.
- 2 Ethiopian Railway Museum, Yima Dernisse Street (La Gare), ☏ +251 11 111 2343.
- 3 Ethnological Museum, Algeria St. M–F 08:00–17:00; Sa–Su 09:00–17:00. Also known as the Museum and Library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, this is a fascinating museum with exhibits about the history and culture of Ethiopia. There are many displays of the various ethnic groups found in Ethiopia with information about each of their lifestyles. Ethnic outfits, instruments, tools, and other artefacts accompany each ethnic exhibit, making it one of the most interesting museums in the city. It is housed in the former palace of the Emperor Haile Selassie, and you can visit his bedroom. The museum is on the university campus. You will need to show your passport at the main entrance to the university. 100 bir.
- 4 National Museum of Ethiopia, King George VI St (between Arat Kilo Ave and the University of Addis Ababa Graduate School). 08:30–17:00. A poorly displayed but interesting museum. The most famous exhibit is the replica of Lucy, an early hominid. With Ethiopian civilization being one of the oldest in the world, the artefacts within the museum span thousands of years, including some from its earliest days. A wide variety of artefacts are featured, from sculptures to clothing to artwork. Both traditional and modern art are featured.
- 5 National Postal Museum, Churchill Ave (next to the main post office). A small but good collection of Ethiopian stamps.
- 6 Natural History Museum, Queen Elizabeth II St. Tu–Su 09:00–11:45, 13:30–16:30.
- 7 "Red Terror" Martyrs Memorial Museum, Bole Rd, Meskel Sq (adjacent to Meskel Sq), ☏ +251 11 850 6730. Daily 08:00–18:30. About those who lost their lives in the time of the Derg. Opened in 2010 with an excellent, modern style of display. Visited in 2019 the building was in a fairly poor state with none of the lights seemingly working. Worth a quick visit, won’t take more than 15 minutes. The memorial does not set out to be an encyclopaedic collection but to be a simple and powerful reminder. Donation.
Churches and mosques
- 8 Anwar Mosque, Mercato district. It's quite impressive.
- 9 Gola Saint Michael Church, city centre (next to the Federal immigration office). Very interesting place and one of the many old churches in Addis Ababa. One can see old paintings by many Ethiopian celebrity artists. Has a museum displaying church articles given by many famous people of the country including the emperor Haile Selassie and his Empress.
- 10 Holy Trinity Cathedral, off Niger St, Arat Kilo area, Arada subcity. 08:00–13:00, 14:00–18:00; museum: 08:00–12:00, 14:00–17:00. It was built to commemorate the country's liberation from the Italians, and many victims killed by the Italians during occupation are buried here. The locals call the church Haile Selassie Church because Emperor Haile Selassie's body was moved here in 2000. Surrounding the cathedral is a cemetery with notable Ethiopians, including Patriarchs, Prime Ministers, athletes, musicians, and football commentators! The suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst is buried in the churchyard. There is a small museum in the site and a number of smaller churches. As with all churches in Ethiopia shoes must be left outside.
- 11 Medhane Alem Cathedral, Cameroon St, Bole subcity (near Bole International Airport). This cathedral, whose name means "Saviour of the World", is the largest cathedral in Ethiopia and the second largest in Africa. Built in 1890, it has a relatively plain exterior but a wonderfully colourful interior, particularly inside the dome.
- 12 Roman Catholic Cathedral of Nativity, Wawel St, Mercato district.
- 13 St George's Cathedral, north end of Churchill Rd, Piazza area, Arada subcity (north-west side of Menelik Sq). Museum: 09:00–12:00, 14:00–18:00. Built in 1896 to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians. The cathedral is a octagonal building. As you walk around it, you will notice people praying beside the walls, but it is unlikely that you will find an entrance. The Cathedral can only be visited with a guide. The interior is nicely decorated with huge paintings and mosaics. The near museum has an interesting and well displayed collection including ceremonial clothes and ancient manuscripts. No photography is allowed in the museum, but you can take photos inside the cathedral without flash 100 bir for museum, ~200 bir for a guide for museum and cathedral.
- 14 Bata Maryam Church. also known as the Menelik mausoleum, is located just south of the Menelik palace.
- 15 Africa Hall (located across Menelik II Avenue from the Palace). This is where the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is headquartered as well as most UN offices in Ethiopia. It is also the site of the founding of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) which eventually became the African Union. Security is tight and you won't be admitted unless you have an appointment.
- 16 Tiglachin ("Our Struggle") monument. Sometimes erroneously called Derg Monument, which Ethiopians find offensive because it is not a monument to honour the Derg regime. This massive statue monument was built in the 1980s. The sides have a tribute to Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers who died in the 1977-1978 war against Somalia. If you want to take pictures, there is a guy asking for a small fee.
- 17 Ethiopian National Library.
- 18 Lion of Judah of Menelik (near the former railway station). Commemorates Emperor Menelik. It was erected in 1930 and looted by the Italians a few years later. It remained in Rome for 30 years before being returned in the 1960s.
- 19 Lion of Judah of Haile Selassie, Gambia St (outside the National Theatre). A carved statue commemorating the silver jubilee of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1955.
- 20 Unity Park. 09:00–16:00 daily, last entry at 15:00. Opened in October 2019 this is one of the must see sights in Addis Ababa. The expansive site is home to the Palace of Emperor Menelik II, including his Throne Room and Banquet Hall, along with two newly constructed zoos (still being built as of Jan 2020), exhibitions, sculptures, and wonderful beds of flowers. It is probably the best presented site in Ethiopia, the pet project of the Prime Minister, whose office is also on the sight. Allow 2-3 hours to visit. Note that security is extremely strict, with no food or water allowed to be brought in (but can be bought inside) and cameras have to be left in a cloakroom, but mobile phones are fine. You will need to show your passport to enter. For non-Ethiopians 600 bir for normal entry, or 1,500 bir for VIP entry with a guide allowing access into the Palace on a three-hour tour.
- 21 National Palace. Built as the Jubilee Palace to mark Emperor Haile Selassie's Silver Jubilee in 1955, it is the residence of the President of Ethiopia. Taking pictures is prohibited and even pausing to peer over the wall will attract security.
- 22 Parliament Building (Near Holy Trinity Cathedral). Built during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower, it continues as the seat of Parliament. Photography is prohibited.
- 23 Shengo Hall. Built by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as its parliament hall. The Shengo Hall was the world's largest pre-fabricated building, which was constructed in Finland before being assembled in Addis Ababa. It is used for large meetings and conventions.
- 1 Hager Fikir Theatre, John Melly St, Piazza district. The oldest theatre in Ethiopia.
- 2 Jan Meda Race Ground.
- 3 Bihere Tsige Recreation Center (Bihere Tsige Public Park).
- 4 Addis Ababa Golf Club.
- 5 Entoto Mountain (እንጦጦ) (north side of the city). Walk from St. Mary church, the first church of Addis, and St Urael church and see the city from the top of the mountain.
- 6 Fendika Azmari Bet, Zewditu St, Kazanches (west of Guinea Conakry St). Music, song and dance including a traditional azmari minstrel.
- 7 Yewedale, Zewditu St, Kazanches. Performances by traditional azmari minstrels.
- BailAmor Dance Group, Juventus Sports Club, Jomo Kenyatta St, ☏ +251 91 130 1260. Pick up some dance lessons in salsa and bachata here so that you can impress the world later.
Stop by at one of the small (5-7 people) coffee spots / rooms to taste local coffee with tenadam (rue) and have a conversation with locals who hang out there. You can find many of those along the main streets. Price should not be more than 5 birr. Oftentimes you can have local food there too.
Addis Ababa University is the largest and the oldest university in Ethiopia. It was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa" at its founding, then renamed for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1962, receiving its current name in 1975. Although the university has six of its seven campuses within Addis Ababa (the seventh is located in Bishoftu, about 45 kilometres away), it also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia, leading to the claim of being "the largest university in Africa."
The government assigns qualified students to these universities upon completion of secondary school. Students also attend other private colleges, such as Unity College. Addis Ababa University was founded in 1950 at the request of Haile Selassie by a Canadian Jesuit, Dr Lucien Matte as a two-year college, and began operations the next year. Over the following two years an affiliation with the University of London was developed.
There is also Theological College of the Holy Trinity, a theological school of higher education located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It provides religious and secular education to both clergy and lay members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as well seeking to be a centre of theological and ecclesiastical study for all Oriental Orthodox Churches as well.
Founded as a high school by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1942, the college division was added in 5 October 1960, and the elementary education section eliminated on 18 December 1961 and the college became one of the chartered units of this first National University of Ethiopia.
- There is a high demand for IT professionals.
- Many start-up companies search for individuals with computer networking and consulting background.
- Addis Ababa has the highest number of NGOs in Africa, and possibly in the entire Third World. They are well known for paying good salaries for their employees.
- The unemployment rate in Addis is low according to the Nazret.com (8% of the population in Addis Abeba were unemployed in 2008).
- Many expatriates work in NGOs and small start-up IT companies.
- Compared to other African cities, Addis Ababa has a high number of big, medium and small computer training schools, governmental and private learning institutions. Many students who attend there hope to land an IT or consulting job in the city's very tight job market.
- 1 The mercato. M-Sa. (Italian for market, as the main covered market still in use dates from the colonial administration of the late 1930s) is the largest outdoor market in the world, and you can get anything from tourist goods (t-shirts, wood crafts, etc.) to fabric to metal goods there. Haggling and bargaining are standard procedure, and foreigners (especially those of European ancestry) should expect to be charged higher prices. To ensure a positive experience, maintain a sense of humour, don't be afraid to negotiate aggressively, and above all don't let yourself be bullied by the many "brokers" who frequent the market, and will try to steer you towards certain stores in exchange for a kick-back from the merchant. You will be able to negotiate lower prices if you can avoid brokers, and especially if you have a local friend or guide to buy things on your behalf.
- 2 Shiromeda Market (Between Sidist Kilo & Mt Entoto). If the madness of Mercato isn't for you, Chiromeda is a pleasant alternative. Haggling and bargaining is still the status quo, but you could walk away with a traditional dress from as cheap as 100 birr.
- 3 Friendship Hypermarket (Bole Road (airport end)). Well-stocked western-style supermarket, and they accept Mastercard and Visa.
- 4 Edna Mall, Cameroon St, Bole Medhanealem area (on roundabout, infront of Bole Medhanealem Cathedral), ☏ +251 11 661 6874 (Info), +251 11 661 6278 (Cinema). Contains a large book store, and Ethiopia's only 3D multiplex cinema "Matti Multiplex" (three screens), which plays both Amharic and English-language films. Western films typically are shown within a week to a month of their U.S. release, though occasionally they may operate on European release schedules. The centre of the mall features an arcade zone and an indoor amusement park with carousel, pinballs, bull-riding, climbing tubes, 3D cinema, and bumper cars; it's a fun place for small children, but really crowded on the weekends and holidays. Include several restaurants. Also located nearby are several dance clubs.
- 5 Dembel City Center, Bole Rd, Olompia area, POBox 9517 (the yellow Bldg on Bole Rd), ☏ +251 11 552 6304, +251 11 552 5267, +251 11 515 1035, +251 11 554 7824, fax: +251 11 551 9460, [email protected]. Build around 2000, the mall clam 105 stores and a total surface of 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft), with numerous jewellery.
- 6 Getu Commercial centre.
- 7 Addis Sheraton Shopping.
- 8 Loyal Shopping centre, Churchill Avenue.
- 9 Piassa Shopping centre.
- 10 Bambis department store (Bambis Super). expensive euro-style supermarket located in Kazanches, near the Radisson, Hilton, and Sheraton hotels. Features an extensive selection of Greek products, and high quality fresh/frozen meats.
- 11 Shoa Supermarket, Bole Rd.
- 12 Novis Supermarket (on Bole Road, near Friendship.). Has a lot of high quality products mostly imported from Italy or Dubai.
- 13 Fantu Supermarket (on Bole Road, near Friendship.). Has relatively cheaper products of the same quality and is located on Bole road and also near the Canadian Embassy in Old Airport.
- 14 Lafto Mall, South Africa Street (located adjacent to St.Bisrate Gebriel Church), ☏ +251 11 372 8777. A multi-purpose mall consisting of a grocery store, numerous places to buy clothes and toys, a liquor store and a mobile phone store. This mall has several levels each with a number of small rooms selling goods. Also has of a large outdoor swimming pool. none.
- 15 St George gallery, Itegue Taitu Street (just down the hill from the Sheraton). very classy(and expensive) collection of textiles, jewellery, ceramics and paintings
- 16 Makush Gallery and Restaurant, Bole Road. Art gallery with paintings by current Ethiopian artists. There is a restaurant but the real draw is the collection.
Ethiopia operates a cash economy. Domestic credit cards are non-existent, and international cards are accepted in very few locations (mostly those catering to expatriates).
ATMs/cash machines are found throughout Addis Ababa. Dashen Bank is a principal member of both VISA and MasterCard International and has ATMs. Some of the ATMs found at D.H. Geda Tower (next to Friendship City Center) accept Visa and MasterCard, Dembel City Centre (quite hidden, use the main entrance, than to the left, at the window), Edna Mall, in some hotels (Hilton, Sheraton, Intercontinental, Wabi Shebelle Hotel, Ethiopia Hotel, Semein Hotel, Harmony Hotel). Also near the National Museum (Lucy Gazebo Restaurant), ground floor of Getu Commercial centre just at the entrance and some branches of Dashen Bank[dead link]. Not all cards are accepted everywhere, Dashen Bank ATMs accept Visa/MasterCard/Cirrus/Plus while Zemen bank ATMs do not accept MasterCard. Most ATM machines have a 4,000–6,000 birr limit per day, but most do not charge a local ATM fee (international or third-party ATM fees from your financial institution may apply).
Warning: Some ATM machines are targeted for "skimmer" scams, allowing thieves to steal your ATM card information. To protect yourself, the safest ATMs to use are the ones located at the Hilton (Dashen, Zemen, CBE); Radisson Blu (Dashen, Zemen, Wegagen); or Sheraton (Dashen) hotels.
There is an illegal black market where you can get a slightly better rate, especially if you bargain. Check your money very carefully before you leave and do not allow it to leave your hand after your final count. Most souvenir shops off Churchill Rd and Zambia St do it.
Food is generally cheap. Make sure you try the national dish injera at least once, since there is no other food like it. It is a yeast-risen flat bread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. It is traditionally made out of teff flour. In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdough starter. As a result of this process, injera has a mildly sour taste. It's what the locals eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most ordinary Ethiopian restaurants have it, and a serving for 2 people with free refills can be as cheap as 15 birr.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Budget||Below 50 birr|
Addis has hundreds of cake and coffee cafes. They sell various coffees, tea - black unless you ask for "machiatto" - and sometimes fruit juices. There are also juice beits. The cafes along Bole Road and around the Piassa area are of a high standard and relatively inexpensive. Most are very similar to each other.
Most cafes serve the common drink called 'sprice juice' (fruit pulp served in layers in a glass). There are usually three layers from a selection of avocado, mango, papaya, banana, guava etc. The juice is eaten with a spoon. It is colourful and tastes delicious. Single fruit juices are also great, such as orange, papaya, mango, and pineapple - beautifully fresh. 7 birr up to 25 birr in Hilton.
- 1 Purple Cafe (City Cafe on Bole), Africa Ave. has delicious cakes and pastries as well as high quality Ethiopian espresso coffees or machiattos. You can sit on the porch and watch the activity on one of the main roads in Addis.
- 2 National Cafe (National Theater Menafesha), at the end of Churchill Ave (in the National Theatre building). Reasonable prices and good food. From injera to club sandwich.
- 3 Finfine Restaurant (Near Filwuha), ☏ +251 11 551 47 11. open daily. Ethiopian restaurant, vegetarian menu available. 10-20 birr.
- 4 Yohannes Kitfo Bet (Kassanchis Road behind Bekelesh Kitfo Bete), ☏ +251 91 152 8876. open daily. Ethiopian restaurant with outdoor seating. 10-20 birr.
Restaurants that do not have an English menu are cheaper. Example: Connection between Bole Road and Tele-Bole, next to Bole roundabout, at NOC-Fuelstation, close to German Kantine. You can have lunch (local food, spaghetti) for less than 20 birr. If you don't have a translator, ordering is a lot of fun.
- 5 Antica, off Cape Verde St / EU Rd, Bole (in the residential area just behind the Sudanese restaurant, near Desalegn hotel). Decent pizza, and one of the only delivery services available in Addis that does not require bulk orders. Pizza tends to arrive cold.
- 6 Bruno's, Gabon St, across from the Dreamliner hotel (look for the Italian themed gate). A quiet, tucked-away Italian restaurant, it has some of the best pizza in the city, on a beautiful compound. Parking is extremely limited both on the street and within the restaurant; if you plan on dining in, take a taxi.
- 7 Giordana's/Capri restaurant (Capri Gourmet), ECA Rd (in a small side street off of Djibouti St. Pass Lion International Bank on your right and take first left). The friendly Giordana is a well known TV chef. This place is worth seeking out for its excellent pasta and other Italian food.
- 8 2000 Habesha Cultural Restaurant (Habesha 2000), TeleBole Rd (between Atlas Hotel and Edna Mall). One of Addis Ababa's famous cultural restaurants, it has traditional singing and dancing at night. If you're feeling brave, try the gored gored (cubes of heavily salted and spiced raw beef). Waiters are well mannered and kind, and most are very talented dancers. Features a large buffet with many kinds of wat/wot (Ethiopian stew), injera, shiro, vegetables, and other dishes. Their "fasting" menu (meatless or vegan dishes typically served to religiously observant diners) is excellent and will satisfy most vegetarians and vegans.
- 9 Lime Tree, Boston Partners Building, Bole Rd (above the Boston Day Spa). While Ethiopian food is delicious there comes a time when you might want to try something else. Extensive menu, ranging from Arabic to Ethiopian food. They do have a consistency which is quite hard to find here. Own brand of coffee, which is a more bitter version of the general Ethiopian coffee you find, but if this appeals to you then you can not find this coffee anywhere else. Limetree owns several other restaurants in town, ask them for recommendations for a bit more variety.
- 10 Sana'a Restaurant, KL_02_246 St, Gabon St, Olympia area, Kirkos Subcity (next to Deluxe Furnitures Bldg, not far from Bole Rd), ☏ +251 911 51 4899, +251 11 466 8237. A very popular restaurant with amazing Yemeni food, visited by locals and middle-east customers. But indoor room can be a little bit noisy. 250 birr.
- 11 Sishu, Alexander Pushkin St (another location Mickey Leland St near Ghana St). Fabulous burgers (often called the best in Addis), nice salads and juices. Designed like a living room, with little bookstore. They only serve American coffee.
- 12 Trianon Cafe and Restaurant, Piazza Area, Cunnigham St. Huge hall where the locals gather to enjoy pizza, pasta and meat dishes. Decent price.
- 13 Yod Abyssinia, Seychelles St. A traditional cultural restaurant, favored by expats and the diplomatic community for treating visitors. Serves Hakim Stout, an excellent (even by international standards) dark Harari beer produced by Heineken that can be difficult to find. Multiple locations, but the popular ones are in Bole and in Mekanisa/Sar Bet area (Old Airport, on Seychelles St. about 600 m due west of Adams Pavilion).
- 14 Cupcake Delight Bakery, Djibouti St, Bole (Across from the Beer Garden Inn). A bright, vibrant, bustling cafe serving cupcakes, cakes, fruit juices and coffees. 20–30 birr per baked product.
- 15 Rodeo Addis, Bole Rd, Wollo Sefer area, near crossing Ethio-China Friendship Rd (leaving Wollo Sefer roundabout toward Meskel square on Bole Rd, turn on first left just after the "Rodeo" signboard, then turn on first left again), ☏ +251 11 551 0694, +251 911 39 2868. Texas-style restaurant with meat and American specialities. Good ambiance at night. 200 birr.
- 16 Istanbul International Restaurant, BL_03_646 St, off Bole Rd, Bole subcity (500m south from Edna Mall, in front of Ukraine Embassy), ☏ +251 91 017 4728, +251 91 047 4717, [email protected]. Turkish cuisine with various dishes, feature classical "mixed kebab" as well as less known specialities like "tray kebab". The appetisers are tasty. 200 birr.
- 17 Asli Mendi Ethio-Arabic Restaurant, Zimbabwe St, off Bole Rd, Rwanda area, Bole subcity (next to Aladdin restaurant, near Japan Embassy), ☏ +251 91 182 0129. Yemeni-style cuisine, decorated as a Bedouin tent, quiet ambiance. 190 birr.
- 18 Five Loaves Bistro and Bakery, Côte d'Ivoire St, Aware area, Yeka subcity (near Ethiopian Woman Federation Memorial Sq, around Aware Adebabaye), ☏ +251 91 122 2976, +251 91 341 6161 (Theo), +251 91 120 3207 (Lili). W-M, closed on Tuesday. A bakery which also propose lunch with high quality product, including strawberry tartlets, French cheese, hams and a "Gorgonzola burger". Brunch on Sunday. 250 birr.
- 19 Dashen Terara Traditional Restaurant, D.A.R Sahara St, Aware area, Yeka subcity (in front of Meles Zenawi Foundation, near Ethiopian Woman Federation Memorial Sq), ☏ +251 11 554 1437, +251 91 120 1723, +251 93 251 3395, [email protected]. High-quality traditional Ethiopian cuisine, in a nice house and garden. One of the oldest restaurant in Addis Ababa, it was relocated in 2015. Probably one of the best option for farenjis to discover in quiet ambiance Ethiopian dishes: chikena tibs, beyayentu. 210 birr.
- 20 Yilma, BL_03_519 St, off Mike Leyland St, Chechenia area, Bole subcity, ☏ +251 91 149 0909. The best restaurant for Ethiopian traditional beef meat, it serves only tibs (cooked) and tresega (raw), as well as many different style of meats. Local drink speciality is called "punch". Populated with upper-class of Addis Ababa. 200 birr.
- 21 Café du Louvre, Louvre Grand Hotel, off Togo St, Aware area, Yeka subcity (near British Embassy, in front of Mesrak Tvet Collage, logo on top visible from Togo St), ☏ +251 11 618 7755, +251 91 191 9382, +251 91 082 8747, [email protected]. A French restaurant decoration them on old Paris. Special dish is Coucous every Thursday for 350 birr. As at 2020 the hotel was a pleasant spot but the food was not exciting best to come here for red wine and cheese. 220 birr.
- 22 Aladdin restaurant, Zimbabwe St, off Bole Rd, Rwanda area, Bole subcity (near Japan Embassy), ☏ +251 11 661 4109, +251 11 861 7731, +251 92 992 3492, [email protected]. Armenian and Mediterranean restaurant. Serves fine Middle-Eastern food, various mezzes including a gorgeous tabbouleh. In quiet atmosphere, perfect for a romantic diner. Very expensive but authentic and delicious. 290 birr.
- 23 Castellis in Piazza, Churchill St/Piazza area. Top Italian restaurant here since 1942. With famous guests such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt there is a reason that Castelli's manages to attract such a crowd. This is where the Italian embassy staff goes to eat. Amazing food, amazing desserts, call for a reservation or risk disappointment, even at lunch time, as this is a trendy place to be seen.
- 24 Green View Italian Restaurant / Pizzeria, Bole Mickey Leland St (near Atlas Hotel). Excellent pizza. There is another location near CMC.
- 25 Sangam Restaurant, Bole Rd. Excellent place for Indian food and sweets, often used by the Indian embassy. Loads of variety with rice, chapati, naan. Pleasant atmosphere and price is very good.
- 26 Top View Restaurant, Megenagna area, above the Diaspora Roundabout, crossing of Ring Rd with Fikre mariam Aba Techan St (near the Israeli embassy). Very good food but can be expensive for dinner. But the view is not so "top" since new buildings.
- 27 La Mandoline, Chechenia, next to Caravan Hotel. Delicious French cuisine. Great outdoor seating area. Breakfast on weekends. As at 2020 food here was great but not cheap. Main course plus a few drinks and dessert cost $60-70 for two.
- 28 Le Diamant, National Tower 4F, General Abebe Damtew St, Leghar (New red & white building written "Debub National Bank", next to Stadium, behind Ethiopian Hotel), ☏ +251 91 152 8585, [email protected]. Open in 2017, held by a French-Mexican chief and a French owner.
- 29 Gusto Ristorante, ZTE Tower, 3F, Churchill Ave, Posta Bet area (at crossing with Zambia St, near Tiglachen monument, in front of Tikur Anbessa Secondary School), ☏ +251 11 126 2126, +251 93 449 7861, +251 93 449 7862, [email protected]. A luxury Italian restaurant, with meats pizzas and seafood. Tagliatelle Bolognese for 200 birr & Ossobuco for 350 birr.
- 30 Jewel of India, KL_02_246 St, Gabon St, Olympia area, Kirkos Subcity (Facing Sana'a, not far from Bole Rd), ☏ +251 11 557 2510, +251 91 121 3795, +251 91 121 4320, +251 91 120 0230, fax: +251 11 553 3489, [email protected]. Indian restaurant with 500+ entry on it menu. Eating is possible inside and in terrace. 300 birr.
- 31 China Bar and Restaurant, Ras Desta Damtew St, Meskel Sq, POBox 3601 (facing the Stadium, next to Ghion hotel entrance), ☏ +251 11 551 3772, +251 11 552 6650. Chinese restaurant with various dishes and soups, sometimes pork is also available. 260 birr.
- 32 Sky Steak House, Dreamliner Hotel, 8F, Gabon St, Meskel Flower area, Kirkos subcity, ☏ +251 11 467 4000. Best steak house in Addis Ababa, the menu have few items including American Black Angus steak, South African tenderloin and T-bone steak. Pleasant view over the city, the restaurant is Airplanes-themed as the owner also have the East African Aviation company. 600 birr.
The national drink of Ethiopia is 'tej', which is brewed from honey. You can also try 'tela' which is similar to beer.
- 1 Black Rose, Boston Bldg, Bole Rd (above the Boston Day Spa). The energetic atmosphere is dark yet comfortable and fashionable, and the bar serves a variety of drinks. Live jazz jam session every Th night.
- 2 Divine, Bole Rd (on the top floor of Sheger House). Very Western-oriented playlist, with ample space for relaxing and a pumping dance floor on weekends.
- 3 Dome Club, Debre Zeyit Rd (Hotel Concorde). Sticky and dark, more of a dive bar/club.
- 4 Gaslight. Fancy nightclub at the Sheraton. Inside it feels like an upscale Western disco. Don't wear jeans or trainers/sneakers, as they have a fairly strict dress code. Although there is no entrance fee, be prepared to pay heavily for drinks.
- 5 Illusion, cnr Ras Desta Damtew St & Itegue Taitu St (under the Ambassador Theatre). Dance till 05:00. Very crowded on weekends, yet that adds to its charm.
- Beemnet, restaurant by day, bar by night, usually with a great DJ and fun dance scene.
- Kaldi's Coffee, ☏ +251 11 371 4258. This is a coffee shop similar in many aspects to Starbucks. Kaldis has 22 locations around the city and sells a variety of products including coffee, tea, burgers, sandwiches, fruit juice and pancakes.
As of 2020, it is still possible to find "rooms" for 300-1000 birr, most of them have running hot water.
- 1 Addis Guest House, Djibuti St. The restaurant at Addis Guest House run by an American raised Ethiopian named Yonas serves a good selection of western foods including great French toast for breakfast. It is worth the trip just to meet Yonas who may be the best tour guide you can find in the city. and are fairly clean; below are just a few examples. More cheap hotels are around Mike Leyland Street in Bole area.
- 2 Itegue Taitu Hotel, St between Cunningham St and Dejazemach Jote St, Piazza area, Arada subcity, ☏ +251 913 803224, +251 929 308230, +251 963 979797. Rooms are mostly clean and have good and large beds. Good value for money, very quiet. Only toilets and shower are in despicable condition. The main building is the oldest stone-building in Addis, and the hostel is the first hotel in Ethiopia: it was built by Empress Taitu Betul around 1906.; As at late 2019 it was impossible to book this hotel through their website -you need to ring them.; There is a large restaurant and nice outside cafe. Vegan lunch buffet for 105 birr every day (2020). The toilets in the restaurant are excellent. The buffet is something of an institution and popular with locals and tourists
- 3 Baro Hotel, Mundy St (Piazza and across from Wutma Hotel), ☏ +251 11 155 1447, +251 11 157 4157, fax: +251 11 553 7439, [email protected]. One of the cheapest options in Piazza. Small restaurant on site but very limited and expensive food selection. Old decor and cramped, but decent value. Accept Visa without commission. They might not confirm your booking until you arrive.
- 4 Wutma Hotel, Mundy St (Piazza and across the Baro Hotel). Some good and clean rooms, some not so much, so have a look first. Restaurant downstairs that often has UK Premier League and other foodball games on a big screen with lots of locals coming to watch, so expect noise.
- Mad Vervet Backpackers Hostel, BL-03-552 Steet Hayahulet, ☏ +251 923577808, [email protected]. 15 minutes drive from the airport. 4-bed dormitory rooms have en-suite bathroom. free wifi. garden. bar restaurant. shard kitchen. 300 birr per person.
- 5 Holiday Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Rd (near the Plaza Hotel), ☏ +251 11 661 2081.
- 6 Axum Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Rd, ☏ +251 11 188832.
- 7 Beer Garden Inn. Near the airport, its menu specialises in German delicacies such as cheese noodles and grilled chicken washed down with wheat beer. A half litre costs 11 birr.
- 8 Damu Hotel.
- 9 Desalegn Hotel, 390 Cape Verde St, ☏ +251 11 6624524, [email protected]. US$76.
- 10 GT Guest House, Sierra Leone St (a mile from Mesqel Sq), ☏ +251 922 451639, [email protected]. Provides accommodation for business, leisure travellers, families and groups.
- 11 Martin's Cozy Place-German Guesthouse (near the Atlas and almost opposite the side of the hotel). Popular for business people or expats based in the city. Offers a range of services for tourists and it is a homey place for a few nights.
- 12 Hotel Ras Hotel, Churchill Ave/Gambia St (just north of the railway station), ☏ +251 11 517060, +251 11 447060. One of the oldest hotels in Addis.
- 13 Tourist (near the Grand Palace and Trinity Cathedral).
- 14 Wabe Shebelle Hotel, ☏ +251 11 551 7187. US$52.
- 15 Yilma Hotel (Mekanessa area). Costs about US$25 per night for tourists. Restaurant/cafe with cableTV that plays news and sports channels. They serve food until c. 22:00-23:00. The staff is very nice and friendly. They have room service for no added charge. The rooms are minimal but have decent bathrooms with hot water heaters for the shower, flush toilets and tiled floors.
- 16 Z Guest House. This a nice family-run bed & breakfast in a quiet residential area has clean rooms and beautiful furnished apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and satellite TV. Is less than one mile from Piassa, only about 12 minutes from the airport. From US$29.95/night for a single suite.
- 17 Keba Guest House, Yeka Subcity, Wereda 8, Kebele 13/14, Houseno 556,Yeka 34155 Addis Ababa (near the UK embassy), ☏ +251 910137131, +251 921332889. Family run place,reasonable rooms and very helpful staff. Only downside a little distance from major sights. Can book with internet booking sites. Tucked away in back street very near the Le Louvre Hotel and near to UK embassy. If you don't have GPS you need to familiarise yourself with the route from the embassy as taxis will have trouble finding the guest house but will know the embassy. 25 per double$.
- 18 Tirago Hotel, off Mike Leyland Street (Not far from Haile Gebreselassie Rd). This hotel is newish as of 2020 and everything works. The staff are very helpful and the manager speaks fluent English. Can book on internet booking sites. 1495ETB per double.
- 19 Sheger Royal Hotel, near Namibia St (in Bole northwest of airport), ☏ +251 90 318 2555. Wi-Fi, breakfast, bar, airport shuttle, some rooms with balconies. 1792 birr.
- 20 Marcen Addis Hotel, Mickey Leland St, ☏ +251 92 240 2464. New modern hotel with breakfast and wifi and gym. 1061 birr.
- 21 C-Fun Addis Hotel (in Bole), ☏ +251 93 033 7133. Mid-range hotel with wifi and breakfast. Hospitable even though the name sounds a bit questionable. 1463 birr.
- 22 Addis Ababa Hilton, Central Menelik Ave, ☏ +251 11 518400, fax: +251 11 510064. Airline agents, money changing, restaurant, bar, gym, sauna, swimming pool, internet access.
- 23 Dimitri Hotel, Kebele 16-18 CMC Road, ☏ +251 11 645 3282. Yeka district. Peaceful surroundings in contemporary city area. Many free services, including in-room wireless internet and premium satellite TV.
- 24 Ghion Hotel, Ras Dasta Damtew St (near Maskal/Abbiott Square), ☏ +251 11 513222, +251 11 443170.
- 25 Harmony Hotel, Bole Sub city Kebele 03 House # New, ☏ +251 11 618 3100, [email protected]. Comfortable 4-star hotel in Bole (near airport). Rooms of a good international standard. Fast wired and wireless internet in rooms. There is a good restaurant, plus fast food outlet and Indian restaurant. There is also a swimming pool and health centre. US$70.
- 26 Bole International Hotel, 2221 Cameroon St (downtown near beginning of Bole Rd), ☏ +251 11 663 3000. About US$40 per night. Clean and rooms are huge with living room, separate bedroom, many bathrooms include large tub. Staff is very nice and rooms have enormous balconies overlooking the green open areas of the Sheraton hotel and views of Mt. Entoto. A great place to stay if you need easy access to the Bole Airport without risking traffic delays. From US$65 for a single, US$85 for a small double, payment in cash only, no Visa..
- 27 Jupiter International Hotel, Africa Ave, Airport Rd, ☏ +251 11 661696 (Bole), +251 11 5526418 (Cazanchise), [email protected]. An aspiring 4-star hotel with two locations in Addis Ababa. The largest property located in the Cazanchise area in walking distance from the UNECA building, near the airport. USD90–200.
- 28 Panorama Hotel (Bole Sub-city Kebele), ☏ +251 91 183 6692. Nice, clean rooms. 4-star dining and bar. Very nice lobby area. From US$59/night.
- 29 Sheraton Addis, Central Yohanis St, ☏ +251 11 517 1717, fax: +251 11 517 2727, [email protected]. Known to expats as the "Sheza", this huge luxurious hotel was built by an Ethiopian billionaire, who is also Ethiopia's largest employer after the government. This is the place to go for 5-star opulence. It also one of few places in Addis where you can get cash from an ATM or credit card.
- 30 Wassamar Hotel, Bole Rd, ☏ +251 11 661 0059, [email protected]. Comfortable three/four star hotel in Bole (near airport). Several floors of rooms all of good standard. Wired and wireless internet are available. A courtesy bus is available to and from the airport. USD95.
- Addis is safer than most cities in Africa. Gang violence and similar serious activities are unusual. However, you may encounter some pick-pockets and con-artists around and inside Bole Airport, Mercato, Piazza and many other areas. Keep your belongings close, and pay attention to your surroundings. A common tactic is to show you a tray of things to buy with one hand and to try your pocket with the other. The good news is most of these pick-pockets are unarmed and young boys. If they know that you are aware of what they are up to, they may get intimidated and go away. However, some can be quite persistent and even involve older boys.
- Watch out for the spitting scam which happens in Piazza area. Typically it involves someone "accidentally" spitting on you, offering a handkerchief / tissue to clean it up, trying your pockets while you are distracted by this "accident" and then jumping into a companion's car with your belongings.
- Someone might also grab your arm and act crazy pretending to kick you as a distraction while his accomplice tries your pockets.
- As most Ethiopians are very welcoming, there is an infamous scam where young locals "befriend" tourists and invite them over after a nice day together to celebrate a "special holiday". You will get fed a lot of khat leaves, a chewing drug, and have a good time with them, but in the end you will be asked for a tremendous amount of money for the khat as they claim it is a "special" quality. Be aware of too friendly locals and ask if there is a price to anything, even if they claim you are invited.
- Be aware of your belongings on Line Taxis: They usually get very crowded – keep your wallet/phone/bag close to you.
- The major and important roads and areas are patrolled by the 'Federal Police' or, as the city residents refer them Federal. They have a reputation of being merciless with suspected criminals. In contrast, the Addis-Ababa city police, who most of the time patrol the less important city streets, markets and neighborhoods are more tolerant and less respected police officers.
- For all emergencies ☏ 911. In Addis, major streets are generally safe at night.
- Unlike in other African cities, in Addis-Ababa, police officers never approach foreigners to ask them to present a passport, ID or "legal" papers. Once you show your passport at the airport, you are free to move around pretty much anywhere. The only time you need your passport or ID is for hotel reservation and other similar and few instances. However, it is important to have your ID with you at all times.
Watch what you drink or you can fall sick. It is important to remember to only drink bottled water. There are many brands to choose from; always check the plastic seal on all bottles before paying any vendor. Visitors are warned against eating vegetables such as those in salads that may have been washed in water. Try limiting fruits and vegetables to those you peel yourself such as oranges, mangos, etc.
Pollution. Addis Ababa is badly polluted because of badly maintained diesel vehicles and dust. If you have any sensitivity to this, it is worth wearing a dust mask as is popular in many Asian countries.
Be prepared for culture shock. If you take photos of the people, ask first and offer to show them their picture if you have a digital camera with a display screen. Children enjoy seeing their pictures a lot of the time.
Overwhelmed. Many first time visitors may feel overwhelmed if they have not experienced this type of culture difference before. Be polite but not intrusive. It is OK to ask questions of the locals, but you should be prepared to be hassled a lot of the time, especially if you are white. Additionally, for foreigners who are black, it may be possibly to "blend in", precautions are in order (depending where you are, in Addis on Bole road they are used to seeing foreigners compared to the countryside). If you prepare yourself before arrival, you will be better able to cope.
- Canada, Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub-City, Kebeli 04, House No. 122, ☏ +251 11 371 3022.
- Egypt, Sidist Kilo, Gulele Sub-City, Kebela 02, ☏ +251 11 122 6422, fax: +251 11 122 6432, [email protected]. 08:00–16:00.
- Finland, Mauritania Street, Nifas Silk Lafto Kifle Ketema (Old Airport Area), Kebele 12, House No 1431, ☏ +251 11 320 5920, fax: +251 11 320 5923, [email protected]. M–W 08:00–16:30, Th 08:00–16:00, F 08:00–13:00.
- 1 France, Angola Street, Kabana, ☏ +251 11 140 0000, +251 935 998 535, fax: +251 11 140 0020. M–Th 08:30–12:30 & 14:00–18:30, F 08:30–12:30 only. Security GSM phone (emergency only): +251 911 210 087 or +251 911 210 056 or +251 911 208 894.
- 2 Germany, Yeka Kifle Ketema (Khebena), ☏ +251 11 123 5139 (Chancery), +251 11 123 5162 (Consular), +251 911 20 4020 (24h emergency), toll-free: +251 11 123 5152. M–F 09:00–12:00.
- Greece, Off Debre Zeit Road, ☏ +251 11 465 4911, fax: +251 11 466 5588, [email protected].
- Ireland, Kazanches, Guinea Conakry Street, ☏ +251 11 518 0500.
- Italy, Villa Italia, Kebena', ☏ +251 11 123 5717.
- Kenya, Fikre Mariam Road, High 16 Kebelle 01, ☏ +251-11-66110033, fax: +251 11 661 1433.
- New Zealand, Apt 381, Hilton Hotel, Menelik II Ave, Kirkos subcity, ☏ +251 11 515 1269, fax: +251 11 552 6115, [email protected]. M–F 09:00–12:00 & 13:00–16:00. Emergency outside of office hours: +251 93 502 1436.
- Romania, Kirkos sub-city, Woreda 04 (Wollo Sefer) 3_583 Street, House No. 1142, P.O. Box: 247, ☏ +251 116 610 156, [email protected]. Embassy
- Sweden, Ras Tessema Sefer, Higher 3, K-53, House No. 891, ☏ +251 11 518 0000.
- Serbia, W15 K26, House No.923, ☏ +251 11 551 7804, fax: +251 11 551 4192.
- United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Comoros Street, ☏ +251 11 661 2354, [email protected].
- United States of America, ☏ +251 11 130 6000, [email protected].
The country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The city code for Addis Ababa is 011 (or +251 11 from outside Ethiopia).
Ethiopia uses a GSM network operated by Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation. There is decent coverage around big cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Debre Markos, Dese, Gonder, Harar, Mekele, and Nekemete. It is expanding into most small cities.
Roaming charges are very steep. your best option for mobile access is to buy a local SIM card.
An easy option is to buy a SIM card, at 30 birr (June 2019). Ask a cell phone retailer or better still an Ethiotel shop. Be prepared: you will need a passport-sized picture and a photocopy of your passport that the seller will keep. The SIM card has to be registered before it will work properly. The registration can take 24 hours to be completed by the network. The SIM card will need to be cut to size as they are supplied as mini SIM's. Cutting will cost 20 birr in a shop. The Ethiotel service is not 100% reliable. Monthly internet bundles are available - 1GB for 100 birr. Dial *999# and follow the prompts to subscribe. For internet access, the APN is etc.com
In Addis Ababa, especially in Bole Subcity, you can find quite a number of internet cafes. Some still use dial-up connections, but broadband is becoming more popular. Most of the high-end hotels have internet connections (either Ethernet or Wi-Fi), which are reasonably fast and often free for hotel guests.
A general problem with the Internet in Ethiopia is the unstable international high-speed connection. If it is not working, even broadband cafes only deliver dial-up speeds and less. The local definition of highspeed broadband is 128Kb! Another general problem is the shortage of electricity, forcing daytime blackouts of whole areas 1–2 days a week, so it is good to plan ahead where you are going for internet access.
Skype and VoIP service are legal in Ethiopia. According to local press, Ethiopia today has the fourth worst internet in the world.
- Dembel City Center on Bole Rd has "Hut Internet Cafe" on the 2nd floor with over 30 Internet capable computers for use every day 10:00-19:00.
- Arkies Business Center, Piazza, next to 'Taitu Hotels'
- Broadband Internet in DH Geda Tower, next to Friendship City Center / Bole Rd. 128kbit/s, many seats, but mostly completely occupied. The good thing is that it is easy to find.
- Nina Internetcafe, across from Baro Hotels, inside Wutema Hotels
- TG Business Center, Bole, from Airport (big roundabout) to the right, junction with Cameroon Rd (locally known as "Bole-Tele") has broadband but only 3 seats. Most of the time it is not crowded, so a good connection can be expected.
- DMG Internet Center, near Edna Mall next to Kaldi's Cafe just off Djibuti St (the road leading from Tele Bole towards 22), has broadband connection and 11 terminals. 2 MB speed Internet, which translates to pretty decent speed for the country. Open M–Sa 08:30–20:00.
3G Internet services (known as WCDMA or UMTS) are available in many parts of Addis Ababa. A special SIM card and capable phone is needed. Price is 0.04 birr per 100 KB. CDMA is also available, which needs special devices (prices around 0.10 birr per minute, around 128 kbit/s). EV-DO requires a USB device and is faster than CDMA but requires monthly payment of 500 birr for 2 GB data plan. CDMA and EV-DO are also available in all regional and most zonal capitals in Ethiopia.
- Adama and Sodere some 120 km to the southeast are popular weekend destinations for locals. The latter is famous for its hot springs. Adama is accessible by bus and train, from there minibuses go to Sodere.
- Awash National Park, 200 km to the east by road, is a world heritage site where some of the earliest human remains have been found. It's also a good place to see hyenas, and another highlight is the Awash waterfalls.
- Bahir Dar is 550 km to the north, Ethiopia's third largest city and accessible by bus, car or plane. It's next to Lake Tana, and famous for churches and monasteries on islands in the lake as well as the Blue Nile Falls. From there you can continue to other destinations in Northern Ethiopia such as Gondar and Lalibela.
- Dire Dawa is an 11-hour train ride east along the new railway to Djibouti (you can fly here too). It's the only other chartered city in the country. A highlight here is Emperor Haile Selassie's Palace. Further 54 kms away from Dire Dawa is the world heritage listed ancient city of Harar, regarded as Islam's fourth holiest city.
- Tiya, the "Stonehenge of Africa" is a world heritage listed ancient burial grounds, 90 km to the south. Accessible by car or bus.
- Ziway, 162 km south is on the shore of an eponymous lake which is home to many species of birds. It's one of the Rift Valley lakes, and if you travel some 40 km further south, there are more lakes with birds in the Abijatta Shalla Lakes National Park. Accessible by car or bus.