Addis Ababa (Amharic: አዲስ አበባ, Oromo: Finfinne) is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. It had a population of 3.4 million in 2007 and it is growing very rapidly like many Africa 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.
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 and . The average lows are between and . 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 of rainfalls annually.
Temperatures in Addis Ababa are remarkably constant from month to month: the annual temperature variation is low with around . However, due to its altitude of , the diurnal temperature variation is high with around difference between day and night in average: It is often at lunchtime and at night; always take a second layer with you during the evening.
- The dry season is from mid-September to mid-June.
- The rainy season is from mid-June to mid-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 "small rainy season" around April is almost unnoticeable in Addis Ababa (more visible in other parts of Ethiopia).
(ADD) 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, offering superior service on international flights to any of the US carrier members of the Star Alliance. The airport also hosts Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, 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. Travellers' cheques and cash can usually be exchanged at the airport.
Access into the terminals is restricted, as of July 2012. 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 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.
By carMost 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.
- Autobus Terra, 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.
- Ras Mekonin Avenue near the railway station. Buses to/from Adama (Nazret), Debre Zeyit, 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).
- 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.
Addis Ababa Furi-Lebu railway stationThis impressive new station is unfortunately located almost 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.
- Short trips 1.50–3 birr
- Medium trips 3.80 birr
- Long trips 7 birr
- Very long trips 8 birr
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
By taxiUber 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.
- Other short trips 60–80 birr
- Medium trips 80–120 birr
- Long trips 120–180 birr
- Very long trips 180+ birr
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
- 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).
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 before you arrive.
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.
Addis Ababa Museumaddress: Bole Rd / Airport Rd / Africa AveFocuses on artefacts and exhibits from Addis Ababa. The building was once a palace where Ras Biru Habte-Gabriel, a former Minister of War, resided.
Ethiopian Railway Museum
Ethnological Museumaddress: Algeria StAlso 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.
National Museum of Ethiopiaaddress: King George VI StA world-class 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.
National Postal MuseumA small but good collection of Ethiopian stamps.
Natural History Museumaddress: Queen Elizabeth II St
phone: +251 11 850 6730address: Bole Rd, Meskel SqAbout those who lost their lives in the time of the Derg. Opened in 2010 with an excellent, modern style of display.
Churches and mosques
Anwar Mosqueaddress: Mercato districtIt's quite impressive.
Gola Saint Michael Churchaddress: city centreVery 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.
Holy Trinity Cathedraladdress: off Niger St, Arat Kilo area, Arada subcityIt 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. It was once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox cathedral. Includes a small museum. Shoes must be left outside.
Medhane Alemaddress: Cameroon St, Bole subcityThis cathedral, whose name means "Saviour of the World", is the second largest church in Africa.
Roman Catholic Cathedral of Nativityaddress: Wawel St, Mercato district
St George's Cathedraladdress: north end of Churchill Rd, Piazza area, Arada subcityBuilt 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 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.
- Bata Maryam Church, also known as the Menelik mausoleum, is located just south of the Menelik palace in Addis Ababa.
Africa HallThis 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.
Tiglachin ("Our Struggle") monumentSometimes 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.
Lion of Judah of MenelikCommemorates 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.
Lion of Judah of Haile Selassieaddress: Gambia StA carved statue commemorating the silver jubilee of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1955.
Menelik's old Imperial PalaceIt remains the official seat of government.
National PalaceBuilt 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.
Netsa Art VillageAuthentic and interesting art in a beautiful park across from the French Embassy.
Parliament BuildingBuilt during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, with its clock tower, it continues to serve as the seat of Parliament today. Photography is prohibited.
Shengo HallBuilt 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.
Hager Fikir Theatreaddress: John Melly St, Piazza districtThe oldest theatre in Ethiopia.
Jan Meda Race Ground
Bihere Tsige Recreation Center
Addis Ababa Golf Club
Entoto MountainWalk from St. Mary church, the first church of Addis, and St Urael church and see the city from the top of the mountain.
Fendika Azmari Betaddress: Zewditu St, KazanchesMusic, song and dance including including a traditional azmari minstrel.
Yewedaleaddress: Zewditu St, KazanchesPerformances by traditional azmari minstrels.
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 Debre Zeit, 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.
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.
Shiromeda MarketIf 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.
Friendship SupermarketWell-stocked western-style supermarket, and they accept Visa.
phone: +251 11 661 6874 (Info), +251 11 661 6278 (Cinema)address: Cameroon St, Bole Medhanealem areaContains 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, 7D 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.
Dembel City Centerphone: +251 11 552 6304, +251 11 552 5267, +251 11 515 1035, +251 11 554 7824address: Bole Rd, Olompia area, POBox 9517Build around 2000, the mall clam 105 stores and a total surface of , with numerous jewellery.
Getu Commercial centre
Addis Sheraton Shopping
Loyal Shopping centre
Arat Kilo Shopping centre
Piassa Shopping centre
Bambis department storeexpensive 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.
New York Supermarket
Shoa Supermarketaddress: Bole Rd
Novis SupermarketHas a lot of high quality products mostly imported from Italy or Dubai.
Fantu SupermarketHas relatively cheaper products of the same quality and is located on Bole road and also near the Canadian Embassy in Old Airport.
Lafto Mallphone: +251 11 372 8777address: South Africa StreetA 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.
Get moneyEthiopia 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. 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.
BudgetAddis 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.
Yemi Burgeraddress: Haya HuletBurger, fries & Mirinda/Coca Cola for 23 birr. Wonderful staff and known by many expats and the 'best chips in Addis'.
Cafe Chocolataaddress: Victory RdServes 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 Bolehas 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 Cafeaddress: at the end of Churchill AveReasonable prices and good food. From injera to club sandwich.
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.
Addis Cuisineaddress: Wollo SeferGood Western and Ethiopian food.
Anticaaddress: off Cape Verde St / EU Rd, BoleDecent pizza, and one of the only delivery services available in Addis that does not require bulk orders. Pizza tends to arrive cold.
Brick-oven PizzaHas an amazing green chili sauce.
Bruno'saddress: Meskel Flower Rd, across from the Dreamliner hotelA 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.
Buffet de la Gare Hotelphone: +251 11 551 7125, +251 11 551 7888address: south of Churcill Ave, off Ras Mekonen Ave, Leghar area, Kirkos subcityQuiet ambiance remaining from decades when railway was working, with old Italian regulars. Fair quality/price ratio.
CanaanVery nice pizza. Less than mid-range, a bit more than budget
Giordana's/Capri restaurantThe friendly Giordana is a well known TV chef. This place is worth seeking out for its excellent pasta and other Italian food.
2000 Habesha Cultural Restaurantaddress: TeleBole RdOne 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.
Kaldi Coffeeaddress: Bole RdWith a sign similar to Starbucks. Has great porridge.
Lime Treeaddress: Boston Partners Building, Bole RdWhile 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.
Meda Bar and GrillBar and restaurant, clean with many selections of meals, cocktails and a wine bar.
Sana'a Restaurantphone: +251 911 51 4899, +251 11 466 8237address: KL_02_246 St, Gabon St, Olympia area, Kirkos SubcityA very popular restaurant with amazing Yemeni food, visited by locals and middle-east customers. But indoor room can be a little bit noisy.
Sishuaddress: Churchill AveFabulous burgers (often called the best in Addis), nice salads and juices. Designed like a living room, with little bookstore. They only serve American coffee.
Team Miniaddress: Bole RdFriendly, 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.
Trianon Cafe and Restaurantaddress: Piazza Area, Cunnigham StHuge hall where the locals gather to enjoy pizza, pasta and meat dishes. Decent price.
Yod AbyssiniaA 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).
Island Breezeaddress: Cunningham Street, PiassaA tropical island themed restaurant serving Mexican food and pizza. Pizzas are made with high quality cheese, lacking at most other places.
Cupcake Delight Bakeryaddress: Djibouti St, BoleA bright, vibrant, bustling cafe serving cupcakes, cakes, fruit juices and coffees.
Rodeo Addisphone: +251 11 551 0694, +251 911 39 2868address: Bole Rd, Wollo Sefer area, near crossing Ethio-China Friendship RdTexas-style restaurant with meat and American specialities. Good ambiance at night.
Istanbul International Restaurantphone: +251 91 017 4728, +251 91 047 4717address: BL_03_646 St, off Bole Rd, Bole subcityTurkish cuisine with various dishes, feature classical "mixed kebab" as well as less known specialities like "tray kebab". The appetisers are tasty.
Asli Mendi Ethio-Arabic Restaurantphone: +251 91 182 0129address: Zimbabwe St, off Bole Rd, Rwanda area, Bole subcityYemeni-style cuisine, decorated as a Bedouin tent, quiet ambiance.
Five Loaves Bistro and Bakeryphone: +251 91 122 2976, +251 91 341 6161 (Theo), +251 91 120 3207 (Lili)address: Côte d'Ivoire St, Aware area, Yeka subcityA bakery which also propose lunch with high quality product, including strawberry tartlets, French cheese, hams and a "Gorgonzola burger". Brunch on Sunday.
phone: +251 11 554 1437, +251 91 120 1723, +251 93 251 3395address: D.A.R Sahara St, Aware area, Yeka subcityHigh-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
Yilmaphone: +251 91 149 0909address: BL_03_519 St, off Mike Leyland St, Chechenia area, Bole subcityThe 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.
phone: +251 11 618 7755, +251 91 191 9382, +251 91 082 8747address: Louvre Grand Hotel, off Togo St, Aware area, Yeka subcityA French restaurant decoration them on old Paris. Special dish is Coucous every Thursday for 350 birr.
Aladdin restaurantphone: +251 11 661 4109, +251 11 861 7731, +251 92 992 3492address: Zimbabwe St, off Bole Rd, Rwanda area, Bole subcityArmenian 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.
Castellis in Piazzaaddress: Churchill St/Piazza areaTop 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.
Fisherman Restaurantaddress: Mickey Leland StA half-Chinese, half-Tibetan restaurant specialising in seafood and serving an excellent range of Asian cuisine.
Green View Italian Restaurant / Pizzeriaaddress: Bole Mickey Leland StExcellent pizza. There is another location near CMC.
Sangam Restaurantaddress: Bole RdExcellent 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.
Top View Restaurantaddress: Megenagna area, above the Diaspora Roundabout, crossing of Ring Rd with Fikre mariam Aba Techan StVery good food but can be expensive for dinner. But the view is not so "top" since new buildings.
La Mandolineaddress: Chechenia, next to Caravan HotelDelicious French cuisine. Great outdoor seating area. Breakfast on weekends.
phone: +251 91 152 8585address: National Tower 4F, General Abebe Damtew St, LegharOpen in 2017, held by a French-Mexican chief and a French owner.
phone: +251 11 126 2126, +251 93 449 7861, +251 93 449 7862address: ZTE Tower, 3F, Churchill Ave, Posta Bet areaA luxury Italian restaurant, with meats pizzas and seafood.
phone: +251 11 557 2510, +251 91 121 3795, +251 91 121 4320, +251 91 120 0230address: KL_02_246 St, Gabon St, Olympia area, Kirkos SubcityIndian restaurant with 500+ entry on it menu. Eating is possible inside and in terrace.
China Bar and Restaurantphone: +251 11 551 3772, +251 11 552 6650address: Ras Desta Damtew St, Meskel Sq, POBox 3601Chinese restaurant with various dishes and soups, sometimes pork is also available.
phone: +251 11 467 4000address: Dreamliner Hotel, 8F, Gabon St, Meskel Flower area, Kirkos subcityBest 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.
AffoyThe upstairs, where the bar and hookah are, is a little run-down but the pizzas are good.
Bailamosaddress: Bole RdClub 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 targeted to those with a limited budget such as college students.
Black Roseaddress: Boston Bldg, Bole RdThe energetic atmosphere is dark yet comfortable and fashionable, and the bar serves a variety of drinks. Live jazz jam session every Th night.
Club DeepThere is a small entrance fee, but the drinks are inexpensive. Avoid the toilets as they are filthy beyond belief.
Divineaddress: Bole RdVery Western-oriented playlist, with ample space for relaxing and a pumping dance floor on weekends.
Dome Club. Concorde.address: Debre Zeyit RdDebre Zeyit Rd. Sticky and dark, more of a dive bar/club.
GaslightFancy 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.
Illusionaddress: cnr Ras Desta Damtew St & Itegue Taitu StDance till 05:00. Very crowded on weekends, yet that adds to its charm.
Kaldi's Coffeephone: +251 11 371 4258This is a coffee shop similar in many aspects to Starbucks. Kaldis has 22 locations around the city and sell a a variety of products including coffee, tea, burgers, sandwiches, fruit juice and pancakes.
Meda Sports Bar and GrillLarge, spacious bar which is comfortable for chatting or watching a game. The downstairs lounge provides a more intimate setting for quiet conversations. Upstairs, the loft has a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere.
MemoThis club is popular for its late night atmosphere. It is one of the few clubs that charges admission, and drinks are expensive. But the music is loud and good, the kitchen is open late and it makes for a great night.
Tastyaddress: Congo RdA small, stylish bar with excellent snacks and breakfast. The owner lived abroad for a long time and enjoys chatting with everybody, especially foreigners.
BudgetSome of the prices below are still a few years old. As of 2013, it is still possible to find "rooms" for 50 birr, but a somewhat decent room will cost about 100 birr, and most cost 150 birr and up. Most tourists stay in the piazza area, where there are many hotels ranging from very cheap to moderately cheap. Except for the cheapest, most of them have running hot water.
Addis Guest HouseThe 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.
phone: +251 11 156 0787address: St between Cunningham St and Dejazemach Jote St, Piazza area, Arada subcityRooms are about 380 birr in the main building and 150 birr in the cheapest annex building. A large room with balcony is 177 birr. Rooms are mostly clean and have good and large beds. Good value for money, very quiet. Large restaurant and nice outside cafe. 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. Vegan lunch buffet for 70 birr every day (2016).
Baro Hotelphone: +251 11 155 1447, +251 11 157 4157One 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.
Wutma HotelSome 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.
Worku Bikila Hoteladdress: Dukem (about 20 km south-west of Addis Ababa).Thriving hotel for budget to mid-range travellers.
address: Congo Road, Bole AreaOpened in Spring 2016. Clean hotel with helpful staff. Very good value.
Park HotelA cheapy starting at 20 birr but the rooms aren't exactly clean
Filwoha Hotelphone: +251 11 511404Near the hot springs.
Hawiaddress: Debre Zeit Rd
Holiday Hoteladdress: Haile Gebresilassie Rd
Yordanos Hotelphone: +251 11 515711Haile Gebresilassie Rd.
Axum Hotelphone: +251 11 188832address: Haile Gebresilassie Rd
Beer Garden InnNear 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.
Desalegn Hotelphone: +251 11 6624524
phone: +251 11 629 5546, +251 91 166 2894address: Gerji Area, Bole sub-city, House No.234Modern guest house has large clean rooms with balconies and home cooked food.
phone: +251 922 451639address: Sierra Leone StProvides accommodation for business, leisure travellers, families and groups.
Martin's Cozy Place-German GuesthousePopular 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.
Maskal Flower Hotel
Ras Hotelphone: +251 11 517060, +251 11 447060address: Churchill Ave/Gambia StOne of the oldest hotels in Addis.
Wabe Shebelle Hotelphone: +251 11 551 7187
Yilma HotelCosts 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.
Z Guest HouseThis 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.
phone: +251 11 518400address: Central Menelik AveAirline agents, money changing, restaurant, bar, gym, sauna, swimming pool, internet access.
Carrera Lodgephone: +251 11 517400, +251 11 447400address: Rossevelt St
Dimitri HotelYeka district. Peaceful surroundings in contemporary city area. Many free services, including in-room wireless internet and premium satellite TV.
Faro Hotelphone: +251 11 6621186Brand 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.
phone: +251 11 513222, +251 11 443170address: Ras Dasta Damtew St
phone: +251 11 618 3100address: Bole Sub city Kebele 03 House # NewComfortable 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.
International HotelAbout 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.
phone: +251 11 661696 (Bole), +251 11 5526418 (Cazanchise)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.
Panorama HotelNice, clean rooms. 4-star dining and bar. Very nice lobby area.
phone: +251 11 517 1717address: Central Yohanis StKnown 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.
phone: +251 11 661 0059address: Bole RdComfortable 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.
- 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 . 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.
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 country side). If you prepare yourself before arrival, you will be better able to cope.
- phone: +251 11 371 3022address: Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub-City, Kebeli 04, House No. 122
- phone: +251 11 122 6422address: Sidist Kilo, Gulele Sub-City, Kebela 02
- phone: +251 11 320 5920address: Mauritania Street, Nifas Silk Lafto Kifle Ketema (Old Airport Area), Kebele 12, House No 1431
- phone: +251 11 140 0000, +251 935 998 535address: Angola Street, KabanaSecurity GSM phone (emergency only): +251 911 210 087 or +251 911 210 056 or +251 911 208 894.
- phone: +251 11 123 5139 (Chancery), +251 11 123 5162 (Consular), +251 911 20 4020 (24h emergency)address: Yeka Kifle Ketema (Khebena)
Greecephone: +251 11 465 4911address: Off Debre Zeit Road
- phone: +251 11 518 0500address: Kazanches, Guinea Conakry Street
- phone: +251 11 123 5717address: Villa Italia, Kebena'
- phone: +251-11-66110033address: Fikre Mariam Road, High 16 Kebelle 01
- phone: +251 11 515 1269address: Apt 381, Hilton Hotel, Menelik II Ave, Kirkos subcityEmergency outside of office hours: +251 93 502 1436.
- phone: +251 11 518 0000address: Ras Tessema Sefer, Higher 3, K-53, House No. 891
Serbiaphone: +251 11 551 7804address: W15 K26, House No.923
- phone: +251 11 661 2354address: Comoros Street
- phone: +251 11 130 6000
TelephoneThe country code for calling Ethiopia is 251. The city code for Addis Ababa is 011 (or +251 11 from outside Ethiopia).
MobileEthiopia 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. 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 a 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.
An easy third 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. It is not unusual for the entire network to go down for an hour every day or two. 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
InternetIn 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.