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Destination:

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Capital of one the world's fastest-growing economies, Addis Ababa (also spelled Addis Abeba) is a city in motion, catching up to Ethiopia's zooming commercial development in its stride. At times gauche and somewhat rough around the edges, it is nonetheless worth more than a single night in transit, if only for the country's finest dining, shopping, and of-the-moment urban developments.

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Addis Ababa
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Ethnological Museum

The capital's Ethnological Museum is considered to be one of the finest on the continent. Intricately arranged exhibits narrate the story of Ethiopia and its peoples, all spanning two floors of the former residence of Emperor Haile Selassie, whose rooms are preserved in nearly their original state and open to visitors. Detailed written explanations are provided.

Address
Algeria St, Addis Ababa
National Museum

Although the National Museum contains a plethora of cultural artefacts, its most notable exhibit is the cast of Lucy, a female skeleton of the Australopithecus afarensis species, discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and dating back as far as 3.2 million years. The museum also contains Ethiopian art from the 14th to the 20th centuries.

Address
King George VI St, Addis Ababa
Yod Abyssinia

A stone's throw away from the airport is Yod Abyssinia, an experience restaurant known equally for its culinary offerings and traditional performances (the latter start at 7.30pm and gather a sizeable audience). The menu is illustrated to help guide you to the desired dish.

Address
Cameroon St, Addis Ababa
La Mandoline

French dining doesn't get any better than this in Addis Ababa, a state of affairs carefully maintained by the restaurant's skilled French chef and owner. The menu lists everything from beef carpaccio to crepe suzette to specialities like beef fondue. Credit cards not accepted.

Address
Off Mickey Leland St, Addis Ababa
Merkato

It takes heart to venture into the chaotic-looking, sprawling marketplace of Addis Ababa, but despite what it may seem at first glance, the market is very much organised, subdivided into "quarters" dedicated to a specific kind of ware. Come with a guide to help you navigate; many vendors keep goods inside permanent stalls, so what it is that is being sold might not be apparent at first glance. Items worth browsing for are leather goods, silver jewellery, spices, and more.

Address
Addis Mercato, Addis Ababa
soleRebels

The first footwear producer to receive certification from the World Fair Trade Organisation, soleRebels' cause is to provide its workers with honest compensation and contribute to sustainable development by using recycled car tires and natural fabrics in shoe production. And it's not just shoes, but clothing and accessories too.

Address
Roosevelt St, Addis Ababa

Travel Advice

Addis Ababa is a rather safe city where violent crime is uncommon, but travellers are advised to exercise vigilance and be weary of pick-pocketing and muggings which occur fairly frequently, and are not exclusively targeted at tourists (these have been especially common along Churchill Ave, in Piazza and Meskal Square). If invited for an unsolicited "culture show" decline politely but firmly, and continue on your way; this is one scam to which tourists have often fallen prey. Avoid talking to anyone approaching to sell you things in the street. Homosexuality remains both illegal (with punishments of up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted) and severely morally condemned in Ethiopia. So strong is the sentiment, that some hotels may refuse business to clients suspected of being in a same-sex relationship. It is strongly advised that same-sex couples keep a very low profile and avoid any form of public displays of affection.

Passport / Visa

Entry visas to Ethiopia are necessary for citizens of all countries with the exception of Djibouti and Kenya. Travellers must apply for visas in advance, but visas on arrival are issued at the Addis Ababa International Airport to nationals of 40 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States. As of 2017, nationals of most countries eligible for visa on arrival can also apply for eVisa (first point of entry for eVisa holders must be Addis Ababa Bole International Airport).