Addis Ababa in detail

Flights & getting there

Air

Domestic Flights

All domestic flights to/from Addis are operated by Ethiopian Airlines (www.ethiopianairlines.com), with offices at Bole Rd, Gambia St, Hilton Hotel and Piazza. There are more offices scattered across the city.

Be alert: schedules change quite frequently and flight durations vary depending on which stopovers the plane is making en route.

Major Domestic Flights from Addis Ababa

DestinationFare (Birr)Duration (hr)Frequency (daily)
Aksum520021 direct, several nondirect
Arba Minch32742
Bahir Dar41921up to 6
Dire Dawa32481up to 5
Gambela37912
Gonder45152 direct, several nondirect
Jimma262112
Lalibela42952-2½1 direct, several nondirect
Mekele402613-5

International Flights

International flights and international airlines serve Addis Ababa, connecting the city with destinations across Africa, the Middle East and further afield.

Bus

Long-Distance Bus

Numerous long-distance buses depart from Addis' Autobus Terra, northwest of Merkato. They're significantly cheaper than the newer 'luxury' services, but as most travel extremely fast and often at night, you take your life in your hands by travelling in them. Departures for most destinations leave around 5am, but you should be at the station by 4am if you’ve any hope for a ticket. Be very wary of pickpockets and bag snatchers.

‘Luxury buses’ now fly down the country’s highways and they are proving immensely popular with both foreign visitors and locals. These services have reclining seats, air-con, on-board toilets and even free snacks and drinks. Book tickets up to a week beforehand if possible.

The best-established company is Selam Bus, whose station and ticket office is on Meskal Sq. It has the following daily services (all departing at 4.30am or 5am).

DestinationFare (Birr)Duration (hr)
Bahir Dar34010
Dessie2458
Dire Dawa320
Gonder42013
Harar330
Jijiga30014
Jimma2055
Mekele48536

Possibly even slicker is Sky Bus, which also leaves from Meskal Sq, but the ticket office is inside the Itegue Taitu Hotel. These buses are air-conditioned and have toilets, and breakfast is included in the ticket price. Book tickets up to a week beforehand if possible.

Sky Bus runs to the following services:

DestinationFare (Birr)Duration (hr)Time
Bahir Dar340105am
Dire Dawa2936am
Gonder422134.30am
Harar3004.30am
Jimma22059.30am Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat

Short-Distance Bus

Short-distance buses run when full from Addis' short-distance bus station to Awasa (Birr165, four to five hours), Debre Zeyit (Birr75, 45 minutes), Lake Langano (Birr38, 4½ hours), Nazret (Birr90, two hours) and Shashemene (Birr165, four to five hours). For both Lake Langano and Ziway, take a bus to Shashemene and jump off at the turn-off. Awasa and Shashemene are also serviced from the long-distance bus station.

There are several services to Shashemene and Awasa after the first 6.30am departure, though they all leave before noon.

Car & 4WD

Although it’s possible to hire a self-drive car, you’re usually restricted to driving only in Addis itself. Hiring a chauffeured 4WD, although expensive, removes most limits on where you can travel. Four-wheel drives are rented by almost all of Addis’ travel agents.

Minibus

With sealed roads now all but connecting Addis Ababa with Bahir Dar and Gonder, private minibus services are starting to crop up. They’re very fast (not always a good thing!) and cut journey times down to eight hours for Bahir Dar and 10 hours for Gonder. Head to Autobus Terra for services.

Minibuses from Piazza, Mexico Sq and Meskal Sq serve the airport daily from 6am to 8pm (Birr10). Some charge an additional Birr5 for excess luggage.