Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Africa > Africa
Reload this Page >

Four days in Addis Ababa

Four days in Addis Ababa

Old Dec 30, 19, 12:28 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 146
Four days in Addis Ababa

I will be in Addis for four days (2+2), with a stay in Lalibela in between. Actually, it's more like three days that are usuable, as I will be arriving late in the evening on day 1. I will be in Addis during Epiphany / Timkat.

Can you advice me on travel safety? My travel guide (Bradt) suggests using tour guides in most places in Ethiopia. Is this necessary even in ADD? Or can I walk around the city center and Piazza alone?

Given that I have around three days total for sightseeing, do you recommend to do any day trips out of town?
If you are suggesting using tour guides for all or part of the sightseeing, any operator you can recommend?
R.O. is offline  
Old Jan 3, 20, 1:20 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 146
Nobody with insights on Addis Ababa?
R.O. is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 9:32 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: NBO,DXB,CMN,TXL,CDG
Programs: Flying Blue Platinum
Posts: 230
Originally Posted by R.O. View Post
I will be in Addis for four days (2+2), with a stay in Lalibela in between. Actually, it's more like three days that are usuable, as I will be arriving late in the evening on day 1. I will be in Addis during Epiphany / Timkat.

Can you advice me on travel safety? My travel guide (Bradt) suggests using tour guides in most places in Ethiopia. Is this necessary even in ADD? Or can I walk around the city center and Piazza alone?

Given that I have around three days total for sightseeing, do you recommend to do any day trips out of town?
If you are suggesting using tour guides for all or part of the sightseeing, any operator you can recommend?
Don't have an awful lot of information, but here are my two cents: came back from a weekend there a few weeks ago. It's generally safe walking around during day time, but don't stop for anyone as Addis is unfortunately very scam-prone toward foreigners (I've been spit on twice in 3 days - common scam to relieve you from what's in your pocket, you can look it up). If you have a bit more distance to cover within the city, I'd recommend using an app, Uber-like, called RIDE (the app logo is RIDE written in black over a yellow semi circle), found it quite convenient. Overall you can walk around safely but don't do long walks by yourself, especially evening/Sunday, and if you ever feel like being followed, just get in a shop/restaurant. TBH, I was there visiting a friend - had have I been by myself, I'd have preferred to have a guide - the fact that we were by ourselves clearly marked ut somehow, as we did see plenty of tourists with guides, but somehow we were the only ones being hustled.
R.O. and bitterproffit like this.
offvoice is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 2:12 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: somewhere between Europe and Africa, from SFO
Programs: A3*G, EY Silver
Posts: 7,902
Granted this was a few years ago, but Addis Ababa felt safe to walk around by myself. I had no issues whatsoever. I was only there for 1.5 days, so can't comment on day trips.
Jan 7 is Christmas in Ethiopia, so be aware that things may shut down.
Palal is offline  
Old Jan 8, 20, 2:28 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: DAR/ADD/CPH
Programs: TK Gold
Posts: 356
Let me try and answer some of these questions for you.
Generally, on an African standard, Addis Ababa is a safe city. However not as safe as a few years ago, quite a lot has changed. As Offvoice mention in his post, there are quite a few scams on the streets and pick pocketing is very common, especially in Bole on the main roads, e.g. in front of Edna Mall.
Yes, you can walk around Addis and many people do so (including myself), most without any issues.


About walking around the city, I have a few advices:
- Only walk on the streets during daytime. At night, take a registered taxi.
- Don't carry valuables such as a laptop/laptop or a massive camera on the street
- Keep your hands in your pockets if you keep your phone/wallet there.
- If you are approached by a stranger(s) on the street, ignore them and keep walking. It seems harsh, but this is how you avoid getting scammed/robbed.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- By a new law, it is illegal to give cash to beggars on the streets (however seems not to be enforced yet)
- Certain areas in the outskirts of Addis Ababa (outside the city limits) are not considered safe due to the ever present tribal conflicts, I would consult/bring a tour guide if venturing to such a place.

- If driving: Like most places in Africa, roll up your windows and lock your doors when driving, especially when stuck in traffic/at a light.
- I would not recommend going hiking in the nearby forests alone.
- Avoid large gatherings/crowds.

I always walk with my hands in my pockets as a safety measure, but had a street boy grab my arm and violently pull it out of my pocket, while another street boy (probably 15-16 years old) snatched my phone. He grabbed my arm so hard that it hurt for about an hour afterwards. I called them out on it immediately and got my phone back, but you need to pay attention to your surroundings.This happened right in front of Edna Mall on a busy street with many people around.
There have been multiple recent stories of foreigners getting "strangled" in e.g. Bole (but not only Bole) area at night. They will strangle their victims until they pass out, then rob them. So do not walk the streets at night.

I would recommend passing by the new Unity Park. You can spend half a day there (though only half the park is completed yet). It is a beautiful place with a nice view of the city.
As for a day trip, you could consider going to Debrezeit. But check Tripadvisor, lots of information about what to do in Addis there.
Also, if you just want to relax, you can go to Sheraton Hotel and use their pool area, will cost about ETB 700 if I remember correctly. (About $ 20-25). Sheraton is the nicest hotel in Addis Ababa.

Last but not least, driving in Ethiopia outside Addis Ababa is not as safe as it was before. Road closures/blocks can happen with no warning by either locals or the government. (Debrezeit should be fine though). Best to consult a professional tour guide, of course.
offvoice, R.O. and flatdawgs like this.

Last edited by Goaguy; Jan 8, 20 at 2:39 am
Goaguy is offline  
Old Jan 9, 20, 8:53 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 87
I've walked around Addis on at least 4 visits as a single woman, with no negative repercussions. Have been approached by plenty of hustlers, some a bit harder to shake off than others (mostly in Piazza, and more so when I looked younger than I do now), but not dangerous. As others note, however, stay aware.

Timkat is really cool. People will be out in their finery walking to church. Be aware, however, that this can cause traffic jams getting out of the city (I don't see a real reason for you to leave if you are already spending some time in Lalibela), as the roads are packed with people and vehicles. Many restaurants and buildings may be closed for Timkat too.

Addis things I enjoy/find worthwhile:
--The ethnographic museum at the university. Very well done, and far better than the national museum.
--Red Terror Museum
--Lunch at the Taitu, in the Piazza area
--Coffee, coffee and more coffee
--The Armenian old quarter behind the national museum - pretty area
--Entoto
R.O. and flatdawgs like this.
jenae is offline  
Old Jan 9, 20, 10:03 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 146
After no replies for the first few days, I thought FT would let me down. I was wrong!

Many thanks for the detailed responses and suggestions. I'm flying in about a week. I will update the thread with what I did and what I particularly enjoyed. I'm staying at the Radisson, btw.
offvoice and Goaguy like this.
R.O. is offline  
Old Jan 12, 20, 10:47 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: DAR/ADD/CPH
Programs: TK Gold
Posts: 356
Originally Posted by R.O. View Post
After no replies for the first few days, I thought FT would let me down. I was wrong!

Many thanks for the detailed responses and suggestions. I'm flying in about a week. I will update the thread with what I did and what I particularly enjoyed. I'm staying at the Radisson, btw.
From Radisson you can easily walk to Sheraton hotel and Unity Park, which are right next to each other. That area is fairly safe during daytime, not like e.g. Bole in terms of scamming/pick pocketing.
Hilton is also close (on the way to Sheraton/Unity Park) they have a small well-stocked grocery store on their premises, should you need anything for your upcountry trip.
The Red Terror Museum is also within walking distance, the opposite direction though.
Have fun!
R.O. likes this.
Goaguy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: