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Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa


With a population of 3,384,569 (2007 census), the city is the largest in the country. Many of the wealthiest people live in the southeast (Bole), southwest (old airport), CMC, Ayat and Lamberet parts of town. 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)[9] 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.


Temperatures in Addis Ababa are remarkably constant from month to month. The average highs are between 17°C (63°F) and 22°C (71°F). The average lows are between 11°C (51°F) and 14°C (58°F). The warmest months are February to May. Temperatures and climate can vary due to elevation. Due to altitude there is a huge day to night range of temperature: it is often 27°C (81°F) at lunchtime and 3°C (37°F) at night: In the Addis evenings always take a second layer with you.

Get in

By plane

Bole International Airport (IATA: ADD), the busiest airport in East Africa and the hub of Ethiopian Airlines[10], is serviced by several international airlines with daily flights to Europe, United States, and Asia as well as inter-African destinations including Accra, Bamako, Brazzaville, Cairo, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Khartoum, Harare, Johannesburg, Nairobi and many more cities in Africa.

There are two terminals. T1 (the older, smaller one) is for all domestic flights and most flights to neighbouring nations (but not Kenya). T2 (the newer 2003 building) is for all other international flights - arrangements may change so check first.

As of July 2012 access into the terminals is restricted. Anyone at the airport to meet you, plus taxis, will be out in the carpark. 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.

By car

Most of the roads are in good condition.

Routes through Addis Ababa

By bus

Bus terminals:

  • Autobus Terra near Mercato. This is the main bus terminal where most of the national buses arrive and depart.

JULY 2011 - Ras Makonnen - or La Gare - closed and moved to somewhere on Debre Zeit Road.

Buses west to Nekempte and beyond go from ASCO on the old Ambo Road.

By train

There is no longer a train service in Ethiopia.

Get around

Sample Minibus prices

  • Very short trips 1 ETB
  • Short trips 2-2,5 ETB
  • Medium trips 4 ETB
  • Large trips 5,5 ETB
  • Very Large trips 8 ETB

Sample Taxi prices

  • Short trips within one area 30 ETB
  • Another Short trips 40-50 ETB
  • Medium trips 60-80 ETB
  • Large trips 80-150 ETB
  • Very Large trips 150+ ETB

As of July 2011

Very few streets have names and when they do, they may not be named correctly on a map; use landmarks to navigate the city.

Blue and white minibuses/taxis travel quite efficiently around the 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.

Small, blue coloured 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. JULY 2011 the taxi prices for contract taxis in the box here ARE WAY out of date. Airport to city now 100-150 birr.

Yellow and green taxis usually hang around hotels like Sheraton. They are more expensive, but reliable, and 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.

Walking in Addis Ababa is a pleasant and sensible way of getting around. Locals will happily greet you, ask you how you are doing and so on.


Walking along the street starting from Meskel Sq. to Sidest Kilo is very comfortable and entertaining. It will give you the chance to see the Africa Hall, the palaces and the Parliament building, the Hilton Hotel, the marvelous architectural adventure of a building hosting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sheraton Hotel, the first modern school (which Menelik the II built in the 1880s), the Trinity Orthodox cathedral, the National Museum, and the Addis Ababa University (which also hosts a former palace and museum). Arat Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue built in commemoration of the Ethiopian V-day during the Second World War, while Sidest Kilo Avenue is marked by a statue commemorating the ~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 laborers). If you want to proceed past Sidest Kilo, the road becomes steeper and much of the attractions will be on the right side of the road. The Entoto college (previously Teferi Mekonnen School) and the American Embassy are found on this side of the street. After the American Embassy there is an open market called Shiro Meda where traditional craftsmen sell their home made fabrics, pots and other crafts. The market place is at the foot of the Entoto Mountains that rises 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 St. Mary and St. Raguel as well as smaller palace of Menelik the II. Walking on the mountain, especially between the churches is refreshing and gives you the chance to see rural life, the city itself, forest and unbelievably beautiful landscape intersected by farmlands and trails of farmers. It is from here that Menelik II and Queen Taitu conceived of the establishment Addis Ababa. You can get a sense of the city plan yourself by looking from here at the current city.

  • Ethiopian National Museum, (Between Arat Kilo Avenue and the University of Addis Ababa Graduate School). Although the museum is unknown to most, the Ethiopian National Museum is a world-class museum; truly a hidden gem! The most famous exhibit is the replica of Lucy, an early hominid, but the museum offers much more. With Ethiopian civilization being one of the oldest in the world, the artifacts within the museum span thousands of years, including some from its earliest days. A wide variety of artifacts are featured, from sculptures to clothing to artwork. Both traditional and modern art are featured.
  • Red Terror Museum (2010), Bole Rd (very near Maskal Square end). About those who lost their lives in Derg Times. Excellent. Free.
  • 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.
  • Parliament Building, (Near Holy Trinity Cathedral). Built during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower, it continues to serve as the seat of Parliament today.
  • Shengo Hall. Built by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as its new 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.
  • Medhane Alem, (Near Bole International Airport). This cathedral, whose name means "Saviour of the World" is the second largest church on the continent.
  • St George's Cathedral, (North end of Churchill Road). 8AM-9AM, noon-2PM. Built in 1896 to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians. The cathedral is a circular building that does not look very impressive when you approach it. As you walk around the building, you will notice people praying besides the walls, but it is unlikely that you will find an entrance. The Cathedral houses a small museum and close to it you will likely meet one of the archdeacons of the Cathedral. If he offers to be a guide, take his offer and visit the Cathedral with him. The interior is beautifully decorated with huge paintings and mosaics, and will make the trip worthwhile. It is worth visiting the museum with a guide as well to see ceremonial clothes and ancient manuscripts.
  • Anwar Mosque. In the Mercato district, which happens to be the largest market in Africa. It's quite impressive.
  • Roman Catholic Cathedral of Nativity. In the Mercato district
  • Menelik's old Imperial Palace. It remains the official seat of government.
  • National Palace. Formerly known as the Jubilee Palace, built to mark Emperor Haile Selassie's Silver Jubilee in 1955, which is the residence of the President of Ethiopia.
  • Ethiopian National Library.
  • Ethiopian Ethnological Museum. A fascinating museum with exhibits relating to 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. A large amount of ethnic outfits, instruments, tools, and other artifacts accompany each ethnic exhibit, making it one of the most interesting museums in the city!
  • Addis Ababa Museum. While the national museum houses artifacts from all over Ethiopia, this museum focuses solely on artifacts and exhibits from Addis Ababa. The building itself was once a palace where Ras Biru Habte-Gabriel, a former Minister of War, resided.
  • Ethiopian National History Museum.
  • Ethiopian Railway Museum.
  • National Postal Museum. Next to the main post office. A small but good collection of Ethiopian stamps.
  • Netsa Art Village. Authentic and interesting art in a beautiful park across from the French Embassy. * <see name="Holy Trinity Cathedral" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">It was once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral. 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. 3 birr entrance. 20birr for cameras.
  • Gola St. Michael Church (See), At the centre of the city (Next to the Federal immigration office). very interesting place to visite and it is one among the many old churches found in addis ababa. one can see old paintings painted by many ethiopian celebre arthists. in addition the church has a museum displaying church articles given by many famous people of the country including the emperor Haile sillassie and his Emperess.

Other features of the city include the large Mercato market, the Jan Meda Race Ground racecourse, Bihere Tsige Recreation Centre and a railway line to Djibouti, while the Entoto Mountains start among the northern suburbs.

  • The Hager Fikir Theatre, the oldest theater in Ethiopia, is located at the Piazza district.
  • Suburbs of the city 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.


  • Jan Moda Race Ground.
  • Bihere Tsige Recreation Center.
  • Addis Ababa Golf Club.
  • Entoto Mountain: walk from St. Marry church, the first church of Addis and St Urael church and see the city itself from the top of the mountain.


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 Debre Zeit, about 45 kilometers 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 center of theological and ecclesiastical study for all Oriental Orthodox Churches as well.

Originally 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 (8% of the population in Addis Abeba are currently unemployed) (2008)
  • Many expatriates work in NGOs and small start-up IT companies.
  • Comparing to other African cities, Addis Ababa has a high number of big, medium and small sized computer training schools, governmental and private learning institutions. Many students who attend there hope to land an IT or consulting job in the very scarce job market of the city.


  • Mercato. The mercato (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.
  • Chiromeda 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 ETB.
  • Friendship Supermarket. Bole Road (airport end). Well-stocked western-style supermarket - and they accept Visa. (Both not to be confirmed in August 2011).
  • Edna Mall on Telebole. Pretty good bookshop here, along with a Cinema stocked with Popcorn & Western Films. The center of the mall features an indoor amusement park with carousel, climbing tubes, and bumper cars; it's a fun place for small children, but really crowded on the weekends and holidays.
  • Dembel City Centre
  • Getu Commercial centre
  • Addis Sheraton Shopping
  • Loyal Shopping centre
  • Arat Kilo Shopping centre
  • Piassa Shopping centre
  • Bambis department store, run by an Italian Lady, very good product
  • New York Supermarket, near Bole Olympia
  • Shoa Supermarket on Bole Rd.
  • Novis Supermarket on Bole Road, near Friendship

Get money

ATMs/cash machines - are found throughout Addis Ababa. Dashen Bank is a principal member of both VISA and MasterCard International and has deployed 55 ATMs in Addis Ababa and around the major cites like Bahirdar, Gondar, Mekelle, Awassa, Dessies, Nazreth, Dire Dawa and Harar. Some of the ATMs found at D.H. Geda Tower (next to Friendship City Center) accept both VISA and Mastercard, Dembel City Center (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 center just at the entrance and some branches of Dashen Bank [11] Please note that not all cards are accepted everywhere, Dashen Bank ATMs accept VISA/Mastercard/Cirrus/Plus. CBE ATMs are now internationalised and have touch screen technolgy.

HILTON is best place to change/get money. It has 4 ATMs (outside near Hair Salons) and inside on ground floor two banks, Nib and United, have forex bureaus that are very quick for changing your hard currency cash. BUT - PROBLEMS again with Travellers Cheques June 2011

Cash on Credit Cards at Dashen Bank in Sheraton but at 6% and US$500 max per day.

Travelers cheques are difficult to cash in Addis Ababa. The banks in the Hilton would not accept them in April 2009.

Abyssinia Bank at Filwoha/Stadium and city end of Bole Rd are also good.

There is a 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.

Working ATM at airport is in Immigration area next to banks. Jan 2011 There is ATM available in the Bole airport at the left side of the customs exit(about 10m away).NOT yet wired in January 2011 !!!!

Dashen Bank is the one setting up a wider ATM network so see their website to keep up to date

At airport CBE bank is in Baggage claim area of the Arrivals hall.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Below 50 ETB
Mid-range 50-250 ETB
Splurge 250 ETB+

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 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.


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' (which is just 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 colorful 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.

  • Yemi Burger- Haya Hulet. Burger, Fries & Mirinda/Coca Cola for 23 ETB. Wonderful staff and known by many expats and the 'best chips in Addis'.
  • Cafe Chocolata on Victory Road (near Shoppers Mart supermarket) serves drinks and snacks and is very nice. All the staff are former street girls and prostitutes who are trying to make something of their lives.
  • City Cafe on Bole has delicious cakes and pastries as well as high quality Ethiopian espresso coffees. You can sit on the porch and watch the activity on one of the main roads in Addis.
  • National Cafe in the National Theater building, at the end of Churchill Ave. Reasonable prices and good food. From Injera to Club Sandwhich.

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 then 20 birr. If you don't have a translator, ordering is a lot of fun.


  • Buffet de la Gare, +251 11 517888 (+251 11 517125, fax: +251 11 515959).
  • Habesha. Bole Rd. This cultural restaurant 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.
  • Sana's place on Gabon Street near Bole road is a very popular restaurant with amazing Yemeni food.
  • Meda Bar and Grill, (on the way from Addis Ababa Stadium to Gotera around Lancha)..Bar and restaurant, clean with many selections of meals, cocktails and A wine bar.
  • Team Mini Bole Rd. Friendly, high quality restaurant with traditional Ethiopian food. Try the mesir besiga (ground meat with lentils). Performances by traditional singers and dancers at night. The entertainment is not as good as that at Habesha, but the food is generally better.
  • The Limetree. Bole Rd, Boston Partners Building. 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.
  • Sishu: Churchill Ave, (by National Bank. Pass through Ministry of Urban Development and Construction and the Ethiopian Teachers' Association). Fabulous burgers, nice salads and juices. Designed like a livingroom, with little bookstore. They online serve american coffee.
  • Addis Cuisine. Wollo Sefer. (Bole end of Ethio Chinese Friendship Rd,on the north side of 6 lane road). Good western and Ethiopian food.
  • Canaan, (from the airport-roundabout, down Bole Rd, turn left (before Bole Mini). Very nice pizza. Less then mid-range, a bit more than budget
  • Pizza Deli Roma. Bole Rd, (coming from airport, go to the right (pass Alizee Club), after about 50 m on the right side; Bole Road on the left side on the way from Demble building to Meskal square). Achain with at least 3 locations. One of the best pizza in town.
  • Brick-oven Pizza across the street from Wanza hotel has an amazing green chili sauce.
  • Kaldi Coffee with a sign similar to starbucks on Bole Road has great porridge.
  • Liquid Lounge* Located at Nigist Towers near the intercontinental hotel at Kazanches, they have taken the approach that people want a quick but delicious lunch with lots of variety. outdoor cooking on the stir fry wok allows you to assemble your own dishes, while the ala carte menu offers a few burgers, sandwiches and other lunch items. The portions are sized to fill you up, and if you want a lighter lunch the soup of the day, or anything from the tapas menu will leave you waiting for lunch time the next day. The food stays great during the night and day but the atmosphere changes from a casual patio lunch with the outdoor bbq and draft beer during the day to a more hip, smart casual lounge at night.


  • 'Fisherman Restaurant. Mickey Leland St, (near Atlas Hotel). Is a half-Chinese, half-Tibetan restaurant specialising in seafood and serving an excellent range of Asian cuisine..
  • Aladdin Restaurant. Bole Rwanda. Serves Middle-Eastern food. Very expensive but authentic and delicious.
  • Castellis in Piazza. Top Italian restaurant here since 1942. With famous guests like Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt, there is a reason that Castelli's manages to draw in such a crowd. Amazing food, amazing desserts, call for a reservation or risk disappointment, even at lunch time, as this is a trendy place to be seen.
  • Top View Restaurant. (past Bole airport near Gutara). Very good food but can be expensive for a dinner meal.
  • Green View Italian Restaurant / Pizzeria Bole Mickey Leland St, (near Atlas Hotel). For an excellent pizza. There is another location near CMC.
  • Serenade Restaurant, (in the Ammest Kilo area, close to Nazareth School, yet a difficult place to find) Will need a reservation. Amazing cous-cous. This has a middle eastern influence, but the desserts western and are amazing.
  • Liquid Lounge: Teppanyaki, Bar and Grill. Opened in 2011. The food is impeccable. Tibs and the beef satay. They also have fresh sushi everyday. This place incorporates Japanese food, Tapas (appetiser plates) and the teppanyaki cooking where the Japanese trained chef cooks in front of you. The kitchen is open all night. Surprisingly, you get more then you pay for here.
  • Sangam Restaurant. (along Bole Rd just before ghettoo commercial centre). Best place for Indian food and sweets. Loads of variety with rice, chapati, naan. Pleasant atmosphere and price is very good.


If you want to drink the national drink of Ethiopia, you have to try the 'tej' which brewed from honey. You can also try 'tela' which is like a beer.

  • Liquid Lounge. Kazanches, Nigist Towers Building, (right next to the Intercontinental hotel). Teppanyaki (food cooked in front of you) Sushi from fish imported everyday. Fairly expensive. This place is very trendy, they have VIP areas upstairs . On the weekends it gets busy.
  • Champions, (across the street from Boston Day Spa building) . Hookah lounge with drinks and Turkish style atmosphere, makes for a nice relaxing night.
  • Affoy. This place, it's a little run down upstairs where the bar is and the hookah, but the pizzas are good.
  • 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.
  • Memo. This club is popular for its late night atmosphere. This club is one of the few that charges admission and be warned about the price they charge you for drinks . However the music is loud and good, the kitchen is open late and it makes for a great night.
  • Club Deep. The cover charge is small, but the drinks are inexpensive. However it is better to not go to the bathrooms here as they are filthy beyond belief.
  • Meda Sports Bar and Grill. Large, spacious bar which is comfortable for chatting or watching a game. The downstairs lounge provides a more intimate setting for quiet conversations. And upstairs, the loft has a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere.
  • The Black Rose. The energetic atmosphere is dark yet comfortable and fashionable, and the bar serves a variety of drinks. Live jazz jam session in Addis every thursday night.
  • Divine. Bole Rd, (on the top floor of Sheger House). Very western-oriented playlist along with ample space for relaxing and a pumping dance floor on weekends.
  • Bailamos. Bole Rd, (on the top floor of the Novis building). Club with a surprisingly vibrant salsa scene on the Weekends. Live music every Saturday, soft rock, salsa, R&B, and the band is surprisingly good. However, this is considered a lower end club, more targetted to those with a limited budge such as college students.
  • Dome Club. Concorde.' Debre Zeyit Rd, Sticky and dark, more of a dive bar/club.
  • Illusions . Dance till 5AM. Very crowded on weekends, yet that adds to its charm.


Travel Warning

NOTE: The Ethiopian dialing plan changed on 17 Sep 2006. Six-digit telephone numbers changed to seven digits. Many of the accommodation listings here appear to still have the older 5 digit numbers following the country code of +251 and the city code of 11. Addis Ababa local numbers should contain 7 digits. Please check the number before calling and please plunge forward and update any numbers that are incomplete.


Please note, many of the prices below are a few years old, you can expect everything to be at least twice more expensive

  • Park Hotel, a cheapy starting at 20 Birr, the rooms aren't exactly clean
  • Filwoha Hotel, near the hot springs, ☎ +251 11 511404.
  • Fin-Fin Hotel, (opposite the Filwoha Hotel).
  • Hawi, Debre Zeit Rd, (south of the city centre).
  • Holiday Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Rd, (near the Plaza Hotel).
  • Yordanos Hotel, Haile Gebresilassie Rd, ☎ +251 11 515711, fax +251 11 516655.
  • Taitu Hotel, Piazza, (opposite the National Lottery Authority Head Quarters). Annexe with cheap rooms, but you have to explicitly ask for it. Excellent value for money, very quiet, but toilets and shower are in despicable condition. The main building is the oldest stone-building in Addis. In the reservation-building they have "one-hour-rooms", so expect strange noises when you sleep in this building. From doubles from Birr 151.
  • Worku Bikila Hotel Dukem, (about 20 km south-west of Addis Ababa) [12],, Thriving hotel for budget to mid-range travellers.
  • Baro Hotel, Piazza, ☎ +251 11 155 1447. +251 11 157 4157 Fax +251 11 553 7439, ([email protected]). Marvellous courtyard, very friendly staff and a bit of a meeting place. Restaurant on site, and hot water mostly in the mornings. Old decor and cramped, but decent value. They now take VISA without commission.. They only check email a couple of times a week. And might not actually "confirm" your booking till you get there anyway. Though that may be the case even if you phone instead. From Birr 95 (single) 130 (double),
  • Wutma Hotel, Piazza, (across the Baro Hotel). Not much better rooms than the Baro and less company. From Birr 100 (single)
  • Abrehams Hotel, Piazza. A dump, but has rooms when the others are fully booked. Rrom Birr 25 (single).


  • Axum, Haile Gebresilassie Rd, ☎ +251 11 188832.
  • GT Guest House, Sierra Leone St (a mile from Mesqel Sq), +251 922 451639 (), [1]. Provides accommodation for business, leisure travellers, families and groups.
  • Balu, Near Piazza.
  • 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.
  • Ethio Comfort Guest House, Gerji Area, Bole sub-city, House No.234, +251 11 629 5546 (+251 91 166 2894, ), [2]. Recently built modern guest house has large clean rooms with balconies and home cooked food.
  • Maskal Flower Hotel, (near Debre Zeit Rd), ☎ +251 xxxxxxx.
  • Tourist, near the Grand Palace and Trinity Cathedral.
  • Martin's Cozy Place-German Guesthouse, (near the Atlas and almost opposite the side of the hotel). A favorite for business people or expats having to base themselves in Addis. Martin offers a range of services for tourists and it is a homey place to shack up for a few nights. It costs around Birr 150/170/250 single/double/triple or 345 for a family room.
  • Bourgainvillier guest house, ☎+251 911 627898, []. Has small rooms but it is clean and athlete Haile Gebre Selassie sister, Azaltich Gebre-Selassie offers nice hospitality. You need to book in advance. .
  • Yilma Hotel, Mekanessa area. This hotel is about US$25 per night for tourists. Restaurant/cafe with cableTV that plays news and sports channels. They serve food until 10PM-11PM. 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. Ask for "Fish" the manager and you will surely be treated well.
  • Z Guest House, [13]. This a nice family-run bed & breakfast in a quiet residential area of Addis Ababa offering clean rooms and beautiful furnished apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and satellite TV. It’s located less than one mile from Piassa, only about 12 minutes from the airport. From US$29.95/night for a single suite.
  • The RAS Single rooms costing around 120br
  • Damu-Damu Hotel.
  • Wabe Shebelle Hotel, +251 (0) 11 551 7187. $52.


  • Addis Ababa Hilton Central Menelik Ave, ☎ +251 11 518400, fax +251 11 510064, [14],. Airline agents, money changing, restaurant, bar, gym, sauna, swimming pool, internet access.
  • Carrera Lodge, Rossevelt St, ☎ +251 11 517400, +251 11 447400.
  • Dimitri Hotel, Yeka district, [15]. Peaceful surroundings in contemporary city area, opened 2008. Many free services,including in-room wireless internet and premium satelliteTV.
  • Faro Hotel, ☎ +251 11 6621186. Brand new Ethiopian/Euro-style "boutique" hotel, minutes away from Bole Airport, Bole Rock Gym, Boston Day Spa, Friendship Center and Lime Tree restaurant. Woman-owned, with a welcoming staff. Internet and kitchenette in each room, new bathrooms with modern steam shower units,very comfortable new beds with duvets. Full dining facilities; a bar & juice counter in the lobby and will soon have a swimming pool on its roof. Some rooms have good views. The Faro takes cash or Visa. From US$100 per night plus 25% tax and service charge
  • Ghion, central Menelik Ave near Maskal/Abbiott Square, [16], ☎ +251 11 513222, +251 11 443170. It is not on Menelik Ave. It is on Ras Dasta Damtew just out of Maskal Square.
  • International Hotel, downtown near beginning of Bole Road. 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 as well as views of Mt. Entoto. A great place to stay if you need easy access to the Bole Airport without risking traffic delays. Upwards of US$65 for a single, US$85 for a small double, payment in cash only, no Visa (2008 prices)
  • Jupiter Internationa Hotel, Bole +251 11 661696; Cazanchise +251 11 5526418 (), [3]. a brand new aspiring four 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. US$90-200.
  • Ras, Church Rd, (just North of the railway station), ☎ +251 11 517060, +251 11 447060. One of the oldest hotels in Addis.
  • Panorama Hotel. Nice, clean rooms. 4 star dining and bar. Very nice lobby area. From US$59/night
  • Sheraton Addis, Central Yohanis St, +251 11 5171717 (, fax: +251 11 5172727), [4]. This obscenely 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.

Stay safe

  • 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 areas. Keep your belongings close, and pay attention to your surroundings. The good news is most of these pick-pockets are unarmed and very young boys. If they know that you are aware of what they are up to, they get intimidated and go away.
  • 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.
  • In a total difference of 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 registration (booking) and other similar and few instances. (It is important to have your ID with you at all times, however.) Many visitors appreciate that they don't have to be questioned who they are or where they are from by a police officer who wants to extract bribe money from them, every time they turn around. This could be one of Addis-Ababa's appeals.


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. Most travelers should be 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.

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!

Your emotions are real. 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 foreign travelers who are black, especially American, although possibly able to "blend in", precautions are the order of the day (depending where you are, in Addis on Bole road they are used to seeing foreigners compared to the country side). If you prepare your mindset before arrival, you will be better able to cope.


  • Ca-flag.png Canada, Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City, Kebeli 04, House No. 122, +251 11 3713022, [5].
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, Off Debre Zeit Road, (P.O.Box 1168, Addis Ababa), +251 11 465 4911 (, fax: +251 11 466 5588).
  • Ie-flag.png Ireland, Kazanches,Guinea Conakry Street, +251 11 518 0500, [6].
  • It-flag.png Italy, Villa Italia, Kebena', (P. O. Box 1105, Addis Ababa), +251 11 123 5717, [7].
  • Sw-flag.png Sweden, Ras Tessema Sefer, Higher 3, K-53, House No. 891, +251 11 518 0000, [8].
  • Flag of Serbia (state).png Serbia, W15 K26, House No.923, (P.O.Box 1341, Addis Ababa), +251 11 5517804 (fax: +251 11 5514192).



The country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The Ethiopian dialing plan changed on 17 Sep 2005, such that the two-digit city code changed to three digits (or, from outside the country, one to two digits) and six-digit telephone numbers changed to seven digits. The city code for Addis Ababa, as of Sep 2005, is 011 (or 11 from outside Ethiopia).


Ethiopia uses GSM network and operated by Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation. Currently there are 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. For a short visit, your best option for mobile access is to rent a SIM card with a phone. Only a few stores rent SIM cards: You can rent SIM card and phone inside Addis Ababa Sheraton hotel but is it very expensive. Another option is to rent a SIM card and mobile phone from local stores (for example Red Zebraes, [17]).

A third option is to buy a sim card that will cost you about 60 birr (August 2011). Ask a cell phone retailer (there are many of them, especially in the piazza). If the retailer does not sell them, he or she will point you in the right direction. Be prepared: you will need a passport sized picture and a photocopy of your passport that the seller will keep. The quickest way to get an own SIM card is probably in Hilton Hotel. If you have all needed documents (photocopy of your passport and two passport sized pictures), it will take you less than 5 minutes to get your SIM card.


In Addis Ababa, especially in Bole Subcity, you can find quite a number of internet cafes. Some cafes still use Dial-Up connections, but broadband becomes more popular. Most of the high-end hotels have internet connections (either Ethernet or WiFi), which are reasonably fast and often free for hotel guests.

A general problem about 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 128kbits. 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. During the winter months of 2009 (Jun-Aug), electricity had gone off on one side of the city for one day, and another side for the next.

Skype and similar services are forbidden by the government. 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 Mon-Sun 10AM-7PM
  • Arkies Business Center, Piazza, next to 'Taitu Hotels'
  • Broadband Internet in DH Geda Tower, next to Friendship City Center / Bole Road. 128kbps, many seats, but mostly completely occupied. The good thing is, that is is easy to find.
  • Nina Internetcafe, across from Baro Hotels, inside Wutema Hotels
  • TG Business Center [18], Bole, from Airport (Big Roundabout) to the right, junction with Cameroon Road (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 Street (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 Mon-Sat 8:30 am - 8:00 pm.

Wireless internet

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 ETB Cents per 100 KB. Also CDMA is available, that needs special devices (prices around 0,10 ETB per Minute, around 128kbits). EVDO requires a USB device and is faster than CDMA but requires monthly payment of 500 ETB/month for 2 GB data plan. CDMA and EVDO are also available in all regional and most zonal capitals in Ethiopia.

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This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!