Travel Tip Of The Day: Getting Around Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As you can see in this video, getting around in Addis Ababa can sometimes be a bit scary and confusing.

But never fear, we have a few tips to help you get around the city easily.

Addis is currently undergoing a major regeneration project with new roads being laid and the first light railway in Africa is being built, as well as numerous new shopping centres, business districts and hotels.

This sounds great, but it’s making large parts of the city look like a construction site, and leading to severe traffic congestion. The light railway is due for completion by mid-2015.

Getting around Addis has traditionally been by either taxi or minibus.

Taxis are cheap (a journey across the city centre in daylight hours won’t cost more than US$3) and easy to find.

Minibuses serve set routes and run from dawn to around 9 p.m. Journeys cost less than US$.10 and can be found at almost every junction.

While finding a minibus is easy, finding out which one is heading your way is harder – ask a local, or listen for the driver’s assistant shouting the destination out the window.

To catch a minibus, you can just stand on the side of the road and hail it.

The two main bus terminals are Autobus Terra near Mercato, and Meskel Square (the former railway station).

You should be especially vigilant on public transport including the Piazaa area and Meskal Square areas, as well as around the Mercato, which has a terrible reputation for pickpockets.

On foot, Addis isn’t that difficult to get around and is a fairly safe city, although pickpocketing is common while walking, too.

Tour company guides are also readily available throughout the city. If you happen to go on one, the guides and drivers should be tipped around US$10 per day per person.

Getting around the city doesn’t have to be difficult, and if you follow the tips above you should be fine. Just expect a headache from the traffic for years to come until all the projects are worked out.

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