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Addis Ababa

6:19 PM

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 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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Ethnological Museum
Algeria Street, Addis Ababa

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. The museum spans 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.

National Museum of Ethiopia
King George VI Street, Addis Ababa

The National Museum of Ethiopia contains a plethora of cultural artefacts. Its most notable exhibit, however, 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. Art lovers will appreciate the museum's collection of Ethiopian art from the 14th to the 20th centuries.

Yod Abyssinia
Cameroon Street, Addis Ababa

A stone's throw away from the airport is Yod Abyssinia, an experience restaurant known equally for its culinary offerings and traditional performances. The performances start at 7:30 pm and gather a sizeable audience. The menu is illustrated to help guide you to the desired dish.

La Mandoline
Off Mickey Leland Street, Addis Ababa

French dining doesn't get any better than this in Addis Ababa. The high standards are 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. If you are lucky, you'll get live entertainment from an accordion player.

Roosevelt Street, Addis Ababa

SoleRebels was the first footwear producer to receive certification from the World Fair Trade Organisation. Their 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.

St George Gallery
Taitu Street, Addis Ababa

The art gallery and shop hybrid, St George is definitely not for travellers on a budget, but those looking to purchase Ethiopian antiques or artworks. Anything from scarves and bed linens to paintings by celebrated artists. Also stocks jewellery and books.

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 Avenue, 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).

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