"Addis Ababa: A City of Belief & Disbelief" Top 5 Page for this destination Addis Ababa by Sami29

Addis Ababa Travel Guide: 408 reviews and 3,013 photos


Ethiopia is an ancient land with rich history and cultural heritage. Ethiopians of every ethnic race or region are proud of their land. My visit to Addis Ababa in April 2009, came after years of speculations and contemplations. Most of the reviews I read, give readers high expectations, which are eventually turned into some sort of fantasies. My advice to all visitors, Europeans, Americans, Asians, Africans or Middle Easterns, not to build an imaginary dream-like and futuristic picture of your visit of Ethiopia. If you have been to the Far East, Thailand, for instance, do not compare them together; in all aspects of life except one, Thailand is much superior and advanced. However, the only credit that we must give to Ethiopia is its great, peaceful and indiscriminate people; here in Addis, all colours and races are treated same and equal. No discrimination at all.


My flight on Ethiopian Airlines started at 4.30 morning from Kuwait airport. It was an exhausting and uncomfortable flight due to the flight time and the seat arrangement (3-3). The plane landed at Bole International Airport at 8.30 Ethiopia time. Immediately, we were instructed to move towards the Immigration counter and stand in line. There is a security guy standing there, preventing the locals from jumping from one line to another. Since I had my visa, the whole procedure did not take more than 2 minutes and I was out of the immigration arena. I exchanged some dollars in the bank at the exit of the immigration counter and asked for a receipt. The clerk thought it was not necessary but I insisted and got it. In the Customs, I got my luggage but before moving towards the exit, a Customs officer who was watching me, came and asked for the luggage tag. I had it ready. He checked and asked me to go out. I could not believe my eyes. No clearance form, no checking of luggage, nothing.
Outside, I saw a sign which read: Tour & Taxi. It is located next to Desalegn Hotel kiosk. I asked for a taxi to Concorde Hotel. The lady said 80 bir but agreed to 70 bir (9$). On the way, the taxi driver tried to convince me that Concorde hotel was not a good one. I told him my friends stayed there and they recommended that to me. I wish I had listened to him.


Contrary to what you hear or read about the strict departure procedures, the ban on taking Ethiopian bir outside and the interrogations by the Customs officers, my departure from Addis Bole Airport was as smooth as a feather. Except for several checking points that you will find everywhere, I did not meet any problems at all.
During my one month stay in Addis, I stayed in three different hotels: Concorde on Debre Zeit Road, La Source on Meskel Flower Road, and Desalegn on EU Road. I visited more than fifty cafes and restaurants. I made friendship with street kids, taxi drivers and hotel bell boys. Will I be back to Addis ? I am not sure but certainly not until these road constructions are over.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It?s a lively city, full of human hearts, big hearts
  • Cons:Such a lively city is overshadowed by all types of pollution.
  • In a nutshell:You Will Always Be on My Mind.
  • Last visit to Addis Ababa: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (17)

Comments (3)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Enjoyed yr pg-u made me laugh!Our hotel had the worst breakfast Ive had in a long time!Took 2 hours!just to get a transit visa to go to our hotel.but we got a taxi&took a night tour-what an experience!...the numbr of people&dogs that live on the streets..

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    May 24, 2009 at 5:48 PM

    You ate at Omar Khayam? You should see my tip on this place. Great tips. All the best!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2009 at 2:29 AM

    Hello, Sami! Thanks for your introduction to that place...


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