Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jun 13, 2012 1:06 PM Last Post By: trekker_forever
Jun 8, 2012 9:36 AM
ATM'sHi, been to Ethiopia lately?
I was wondering weather I should bring a Visa card, traveler's checks or just cash?
Are there ATM's in every city?
Jun 8, 2012 12:03 PM
1It all depends on which part of Ethiopia you are travelling to. If to the North, then ATMs are available at Bahir Dar, Gondar and Mekele. Not at Axum and Lalibela where Dashen Bank branches (the designated private bank to provide Visa card services) are not available.
To the South, Awassa, Wolaita Sodo, Arbaminch, Dilla and Jimma have Dashen Bank branches. Not in Jinka as there is no Dashen Bank there. For those locations without ATM facilities, cash and traveler's checks will be of help. Traveler's checks - make sure you bring over your original application authorized papers from the bank that has issued you the T/checks. Same is mostly asked for to control counterfeits....etc.
Jun 8, 2012 2:13 PM
Jun 8, 2012 2:17 PM
Jun 9, 2012 12:01 AM
4Noam, if I can intercede here I will try to answer your question in a more broad fashion. First, ATM's are not common throughout Ethiopia. In most small towns (and even some larger ones) there is no service whatsoever. As you will have noted from the comments above it does make a difference which city you are in and which bank you are dealing with. Yet Ethiopia is a huge country with more than 83 million people. Do not go with the expectation that you can just use your Visa or Mastercard anywhere like you can in Europe, America or the Middle East. It is not like that. There are cities where only one or two ATM machines are available and these are often NOT working or out of funds. The vast majority of Ethiopians do not have bank accounts, never mind Visa or Debit cards. I suggest you seriously consider taking extra cash or travelers cheques in addition to your plastic. Use US dollars, English pound notes or Euros in most situations as these are all readily recognized. Even in small communities. Avoid most other currencies and keep in mind you must bring freshly printed and current notes with you. Old worn USD bills will not work and will not be exchanged due to all the past counterfit problems........I hope this has helped. Ask if you need more info.
Jun 9, 2012 12:36 AM
Jun 9, 2012 2:34 AM
Jun 9, 2012 6:15 PM
7Thanks Addisadvisor2. That is a new one to me by the way. Not being able to transact the new 100 dollar US bills seems crazy but does not really surprise. Good to know. I was usually exchanging in the Hilton for ease so I never had the experience of new bills being rejected. Old ones were another case altogether and anything with a little blemish or tear seemed to bother the bank ladies no end. These days though with inflation being so high there is a steady demand in the black market for any US currency and the rates are often better than those posted by the commercial banks. Next best thing to gold when your own currency si losing buying power so fast.
Jun 10, 2012 6:13 AM
8I saw a Dashen ATM in Bahir Dar but it wasn't working. I ended up exchanging USD in the bank which was a very chaotic process involving going to 4 different crowded counters.
Jun 11, 2012 12:19 PM
Jun 11, 2012 1:12 PM
Jun 13, 2012 3:38 AM
11I always bring crisp Benjamins when traveling in Africa. I bring a VISA credit card and debit card for emergencies/backup. Travelers checks are not commonly used these days. Cash is the safest way to go in my opinion.
Jun 13, 2012 1:06 PM
12Thanks for the updates, a huge help.
Do you have a rough estimate of how much a 34 day trip will cost?
I'm planning on two in-country flights (Addis > Bahir Dar, Lalibela > Addis), 7-day Simien trek, 4-day Danakil depression, 5-day Bale trek, and the entire northern circuit as well.
Please take into consideration that I'm looking for standard accommodation and transportation.
thanks in advance,
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