Getting around

By plane

Ethiopian Airlines is the sole operator and has fairly comprehensive domestic services and network. Flights are often overbooked and schedule adjustment occurs frequently, so show up at the airport on time! As of 2017 you don’t need to reconfirm but if you have one give Ethiopian Airlines your mobile number. They will text updates. Planes often suddenly show as due to depart early and then don’t leave for hours after they are supposed to!

By bus

There is a comprehensive network of cheap buses along the major roads, although these are slow and basic. Buses travelling shorter distances generally leave whenever they have filled up with passengers (in practice, this means once an hour or so); nearly all long-distance buses leave at dawn (06:00, and 12 o’clock according to the Ethiopian way of reckoning time). Buses do not travel at night; they will stop before sundown in a town or village with accommodation for the passengers, or, between Dire Dawa and Djibouti, by the roadside in the country. Between some cities (e.g. Adama and Addis Ababa), minibuses will run after the larger buses have stopped for the night. Everyone on the bus must have a seat by law — this prevents overcrowding, but often makes it difficult to catch a bus from an intermediate point on a route. If planning to travel by bus, keep in mind that the vehicles are old and very dusty and the roads are bad. Ethiopians do not like opening the bus windows, so it gets hot and stuffy inside by afternoon. If you like fresh air, sit as close to the driver or one of the doors as possible as the driver keeps his window open and the conductor and his assistant often have the door windows open.

By car

A good way to tour Ethiopia is by car. You can take small air planes to expedite your tour, but you will take in more of scenery if you travel by car. Reasonable touring companies include Galaxy Express Services, [ NTO], Dinknesh, Focus Tours Ethiopia, Ethiopia Safaris and Journeys Abyssinia with Zawdu, Gamo Travel (specializing in southern Ethiopia)
[1] and Ecotravel Ethiopia ☎ ++251 (0) 911-440-915″
[2]. They can take you off the beaten track so you can see the beauty and attractions of Ethiopia. Nevertheless, hiring a car is quite expensive (starting from 600-900 birr depending on condition and quality of model. 600 Birr for cheap car with driver). But if you want a car for at least 8 persons it costs from 1000-3000 Birr per day.

There are a several highways in Ethiopia, majority of the roads in Ethiopia are in good condition:

Road 1: Addis Ababa-Asmara via Dessie and Mekelle

Road 3: Addis Ababa-Axum via Bahir Dar and Gonder

Road 4: Addis Ababa-Djibouti via Nazret (Adama), Awash and Dire Dawa

Road 5: Addis Ababa-Gambela via Alem Zena and Nekemte

Road 6: Addis Ababa-Jimma via Giyon

Road 48: Nekemte-Gambela National Park via Gambela

TAH 4 to the north: Cairo via Khartoum and Bahir Dar

TAH 4 to the south: Cape Town via Gaborone, Lusaka, Dodoma, Nairobi and Awasa

TAH 6 to the east: Djibouti via Dessie

TAH 6 to the west: Ndjamena via Darfur

By bicycle

Road conditions vary considerably around Ethiopia; some roads are smoothly sealed while others consist mostly of large stones. Accommodation is cheap and available in almost every village (although these “hotels” usually double as bars and brothels). Food and drink are also easily available. You will attract considerable attention (it is not uncommon for whole schools to empty out as the children chase you).

By train

Ethiopia is undergoing a vast modernisation of its railways, with significant Chinese, Turkish and Brazilian investment. A new electric standard-gauge railway has recently been built from Addis Ababa to Djibouti; limited freight operations commenced on the line in 2015. The line fully opened in October 2016, and started carrying passengers in January 2018. The line includes stops at Adama, Awash, Dire Dawa and Ali Sabieh, among others. EDIT: As of July 2017 there is still no timetable or information. Probably be the end of the Wet Season before any announcement is made.


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