Fun things to do in Addis Ababa

  • A typical view of a market street
    A typical view of a market street
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Fron of the museum
    Fron of the museum
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    by GrumpyDiver

Most Viewed Things to Do in Addis Ababa

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    TOURIST INFORMATION

    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    From the outside your first impression is that some of the lettering has fallen off and it could do with a bit of paint. The Tourist Office in Addis is ok. They are helpful and can give you just about any information you need on the city. They can also help you with information about other tourist destinations in Ethiopia. They are open 8:30-12:30 & 13:30-17:30 Monday-Thursday and 8:30-11:30 & 13:30-17:30 on Fridays.

    Update: They got new signs in September 2007 and the office looks very nice now.

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  • Pangeans Safari Simien-Danakil-Erta Ale-Jinka

    by neidi Written Mar 17, 2011

    On our 3 ½ week trip through Ethiopia we started with a 4-days-trek in the Simien Mountains. Back to Gondar for the Timkat-Festival we traveled on to Lalibela and Mekele. From there our route took us to the Danakil Depression, where we visited Dallol, the Saltplaines and Ert Ale. Then we drove to Awash National Park and further south to Arba Minch, Turmi, Omorate, Jinka and Mago National Park, where we visited all the different tribes.

    Our group consisted of three people travelling with Liza, Christos and Wondu. We spent a wonderful time on a really well organized trip and had a lot of fun together.

    Christos’ driving was very good and we felt always safe with him. He proved his skills when we were driving from Mekele down to Danakil. The dirt road along the sheer drop-offs was wet and very muddy. Even under these extreme conditions he always had the vehicle under control. In the desert we had to drive 80km through pure sand and we didn’t get stocked once. Chapeau!

    Also the second driver Binjam (he drove with us to the south) was very good.

    Liza took care of the cooking during the Danakil trip which was a real challenge. First of all the circumstances were not easy at all. Since two of us are vegetarians she had to prepare some adequate food for us. She did this with no problems and we enjoyed the quality of her meals very much.

    During our trip through Danakil we were accompanied by Abu Hussein, our Afar guide. He is a very experienced Pathfinder and we were very lucky to have him with us when we crossed the desert during a sandstorm. With great security he led the way even though we couldn’t see further then a few meters.

    Last but not least we want to warmly recommend our local guide Wondu Haile. He did a wonderful job as our guide. He has a comprehensive knowledge of the local cultures and of the different tribes too. He was very reassuring and patient and he is sensitive and diplomatic so we always felt comfortable in his company. He is a very nice person, always so polite and thoughtful and he takes good care of everything, sometimes even making the impossible possible. Thanks to his high education and the perfect knowledge of the English language we were able to have good conversations so we got a deep insight in the ways of life in Ethiopia and this made our journey an unforgettable experience.

    The company’s Toyota Landcruiser was the ideal vehicle for the desert. In addition he was supplied with special suspensions and mud-tires, which made travelling through the desert very comfortable.

    The camping equipment used by Pangeans Safari was of high quality and in excellent condition. We had big two-man tents (Coleman) one could stand up inside. There was even an outside covered space for the table and the chairs. They provided army camping beds and comfortable chairs and tables. Compared to what we saw other companies were using we can say the equipment of Pangeans is the best.

    All in all Pangeans Safari did everything to make our trip through Ethiopa a fantastic and unforgettable journey. We can highly recommend this company. We want to thank Christos and Liza for everything they did for us.

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    Yekatit 12 Statue

    by georeiser Written Jul 13, 2010

    Yekatit 12 Martyr's monument on the Yekatit 12 Square commemorates the Ethiopians who was killed by the italians in February 19, 1937. (The name "Yekatit 12" is taken from the Ethiopian calandar which is different from the Coptic calendar. The date was Yekatit 12, 1929).

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    City tour

    by georeiser Updated Jul 13, 2010

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    I took a city tour and asked the taxi driver to drive around Addis Ababa for a sightseeing. The taxis in Addis Ababa are old Soviet Lada's, and the cars are really in bad condition. But the drivers are friendly and funny. Remember to bargain the price before you enter the car. A 2-3 hour drive should be aprox 200 Birr.

    The photo is the statue of King Menelik II on a horse to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians at the Battle of Adowa in 1896.

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    BUY MEAL TICKETS FOR THE POOR

    by DAO Updated Jul 10, 2010

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    Ethiopia is a poor country and you will see a lot of beggars on the streets of Addis Ababa. Would you like to help without causing social problems? HOPE Enterprises runs a feeding centre on Churchill Avenue. Just stop by the office and you can buy a book of meal tokens for very little money. For less than 10 US cents you can provide a recipient with a nutritious meal at their feeding centre. If you give beggars on the street money without knowing what you are doing, often the money is spent on something other than food. HOPE makes sure they get the nourishing food the homeless people need to survive. Buy several books.

    HOPE also does developmental project including helping people get an education. You can donate in person or via their website.

    (Please do NOT take pictures of the people eating – it would be terribly rude).

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    Cinema

    by georeiser Written Jun 10, 2010

    Ethiopians like going to cinemas, especially on sundays. The cinema at Harambee Hotel in the downtown of Addis Ababa are among the most popular in Addis Ababa. On the picturers you can see the 50 metres queue in front of the cinema.

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    Ethiopian National Theatre

    by georeiser Written Jun 9, 2010

    The Ethiopian National Theatre (formerly known as Haile Selassie I Theatre) was built during the Italian occupation with 350 seats, but expanded in 1955 to seat 1260 people. A process of giving a modern setting to Ethiopian traditional music should make the tradition survive.

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    The statue of the 1896 Battle of Adwa

    by georeiser Updated Jun 9, 2010

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    The Menelik monument in the middle of a roundabout close to the Piazza area is a symbol of independence and pride, and was erected to commemorate the emperor Menelik II's victory over the Italians at the 1896 Battle of Adwa. The Italians withdraw their troups from Ethiopia after this battle.

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    CITY HALL

    by DAO Updated Mar 12, 2010

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    OK. Don’t get too excited. The Town Hall of Addis Ababa is a massive soviet-style monolith of a building overlooking the whole city. It has a huge tower right in the middle with the tallest clock in Ethiopia at the top. During the Ethiopian Millennium (2007) it was decorated with the number ‘2000’ designating the Millennium according to the Ethiopian Calendar. And that’s where the information really stops. It is a massive office block housing the city government doing routine things like organising the city’s transport, cleaning services, sewers and whatever a city government does. For some reason they guard this place like a top-secret facility and any requests for information on how high the tower is to a tour are viewed as a threat to security. In all my visits to Addis I have never even been allowed to walk towards the entrance r find any information on the building. Their website is notorious for not working as well.

    Oh well, you can still see it from great distances.

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    THE TORTOISES AT BETA MARYAM

    by DAO Updated Mar 4, 2010

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    BETA MARYAM Church is very hard to find, but this sight is a good reason to find it. They have at least 6 Giant Tortoises happily crawling (slowly) around munching on whatever they can get their mouths on. These land turtles can grow up to 2 meters in length and live to be about 150 years old. These guys are worth a look.

    You can find more information and directions about Beta Maryam here.

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    THE SOMALILAND EMBASSY

    by DAO Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    Want to go to Somalia? SOMALILAND is the peaceful and Independent part of Somalia and an excellent place to go for a visit. Before you go you must have a visa PRIOR to arrival by airplane or on a land border. There are only 5 ‘Embassies’ for Somaliland in the world: USA, UK, Italy, Ethiopia and Djibouti. This tip is about my very easy and friendly experience with their office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Their Embassy in Addis Ababa has a few security concerns so they do not advertise their address or have any markings on their building. Do not worry! My Taxi driver knew the general directions off Bole Rd. and we stopped and asked the neighbours until we found it. It is in a very rich neighbourhood. They are open Monday – Friday 8:30am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-3:30pm. I arrived without contacting them beforehand, but I took my passport, 2 passport photos and $40. They finished it in about 10 minutes. That’s it. If you want better directions, just telephone their office ahead of time. They speak English.

    If you live in a country that does not have a representative, either get it in Addis Ababa or contact the closest Embassy by telephone or email and arrange to do it by post. They even have the Visa Form you can download here:

    SOMALILAND GOVERNMENT

    All Passport holders need a visa and they seem to accept everyone without question.

    Due to space limitations on VT I have listed their 5 Embassies on the tip below this one!

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    Addis Ababa zoo

    by georeiser Updated Dec 25, 2008

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    The zoo is not nice. The lions are kept inside cages and are disturbed by people all the time.

    You pay for entrance, but you also have to pay if you choose to go inside with a camera. I heard 150 Birr for a videocamera. That is really a tourist trap. So if you don't want to take photo's of the lions there, you can leave your camera at the entrance for free

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    GET MONEY BY ATM

    by DAO Updated Nov 7, 2008

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    Most ATM Machines in Addis Abbaba you see on the street are not connected to the major ATM worldwide networks. Outside of Addis Ababa you will not find ATM's at all. There are 2 machines (both pictured) that is provided by Dashen Bank and they are connected to major banking networks! They are located in the lobbies of the Sheraton Hotel and the Hilton Hotel. They are on the PLUS and VISA networks.

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    Carvings and Park

    by boltonian Written Aug 3, 2008

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    To the North of Addis is a park area. While we saw no wildlife, we did see the 'famous' carvings in the rock.

    Not sure what the purpose was, or who did it. The park is free, but they charge you 10 Birr to take photos (unless they don't see you).

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    South of Addis

    by boltonian Written Aug 3, 2008

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    About 30 mins South of Addis by car is the historical site museum.

    We got in free but it is usually 20 Birr

    4 huts contain info on tectonics, homo-sapien development and local stone use.

    A little boring unless you have an interest in the particulars of this area.

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Addis Ababa Things to Do

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