Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

While the country was still somewhat open, we enjoyed hikes to Bishoftu crater lakes and the rift valley, for example. But that's off limits. Travel elsewhere in Africa, although expensive, has been the most rewarding part of living here so far. - Dec 2023

As of this writing, most excursions outside Addis Ababa in Ethiopia are not possible due to security constraints. Most tourist destinations in the country are off-limits. You could pay for an air ticket to Hawassa (lakes), Arba Minch (semi-okay safaris and boat rides, nice views from hotels), and Harar (fly via Dire Dawa for 1 hour ride to Harar desert city). The other places Ethiopia is famous for (Axum, Lalibela, national parks, and Danakil depression salt flats) are off limits now. Some people go overseas for trips, depending on affordability: Zanzibar, Kenya, Tanzania, Djibouti, Seychelles, Egypt, etc). - Aug 2023

R&R has been the highlights :) and all the embassy events! - Aug 2023

Many beautiful places once you leave the city. But you have to travel far distances to reach them! - Aug 2022

Getting to know the people! Experiencing orthodox holidays such as Timkat and Meskal are really interesting. Gondar in the north west is really beautiful, there are really historic castles. - Jul 2022

The only highlights of my tour here have involved my been occasionally being able to get out of the country. - Jun 2021

Golf at the British Embassy. Flying to Cape Town, South Africa for R&R (it's only a six hour flight). - Feb 2021

Bale Mountains were amazing. We loved Bahir Dar for its lake and the ability to just float around in a boat in silence, watching the birds. We haven't seen as much as we would like due to COVID and I don't imagine that's going to change before we leave in 2021. - Aug 2020

The ease of traveling around Africa and to Europe have been huge bonuses. - Mar 2020

The airline is great and flies everywhere. Trips away from Addis are needed every few months for your morale. Many religious sites to see, there is an old castle, a big lake, lots of Wildlife, volcanic areas, etc. That said, you have to check with RSO before you go to see if it's safe to travel at that time. Direct flights to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and many places in Africa. Go for your sanity. - Feb 2020

Amazing trip to Lalibela, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Blue Nile. Felt good after they lifted the security warning to get out of the city. The countryside was beautiful. We found a great place to go horseback riding. Our children have learned to horseback ride here. Love the coffee ceremony and the coffee here. We enjoyed Meskel. ICS does a great job of inviting people to take part in Meskel. - Feb 2019

It's such a beautiful country, with so many different things to do. For Africa, it has a lot of interesting cultural sights that you can visit, in addition to some wildlife excursions. It's by no means a mono-cultural country, so there a lots of different things to experience: Islamic culture in the East (Harar), Orthodox monasteries throughout the country and rock-hewn churches in Lalibella, relics from the Axum kingdom, the tribes in the South enough to fill many holiday breaks. - Oct 2018

So easy to get out of Ethiopia on Ethiopian airlines. You can make this your launchpad to see Africa and Europe. Even though it is a real struggle to be here, you find amazing people to spend your time with and make it good. - Aug 2018

Lalibela, Gondar, Axum, Bahadar, Arba Minch, Harare, Gheralta, Simien, and Bale Mountain. Some say Danakil is the best. Some do camping, trekking. If my children were older, I would have gone to the south to visit some tribes. - Jul 2018

Going to Lalibela and seeing the rock churches. Also Arba minch is nice to see wildlife. - Jan 2018

Ethiopia is a big and beautiful country, and I still haven't made it to all the places I want to go before I leave. For cultural experience you must visit the stone churches in Lalibela. The most amazing natural site I've been to was the Dallol hydrothermic pools in the Danakil Depression, though this trip is quite demanding and not for the faint of heart! The Simien and Bale Mountains are also breathtaking. - Sep 2017

There are aspects I like very much about Ethiopia and the history and culture. People are generally really welcoming and super laid back, which I love (and actually, take that into account if you plan on working here -- overly aggressive and loud people will not get far in the work place. Ethiopians are demure and passive so coming in and just bowling people over and being obnoxious won't work). - Aug 2016

Meeting some of the few cultural figures here - musicians and dancers. The good feeling you get from helping others is readily available here - so many to help. We've tried to travel, although it's really quite expensive for what you get, accommodations are often of mediocre/poor quality and tourist infrastructure non existent. We loved some of the hiking opportunities we've found. Standard tourism - churches at Lalibela, etc. - Aug 2016

Good travel-domestically and internationally. Great weather! - Feb 2016

Lalibela and the stone churches, Arba Minch, Awash Falls National Park and especially camping at Lake Langano, the only Rift Valley lake safe for swimming. - May 2014

There are some beautiful sights if you get out of the city. Our family loves the inexpensive produce and Ethiopian cuisine. You can eat very healthy here. The coffee is wonderful (especially the export grade stuff sold at the commissary). There are great restaurants if you get out and find them (do not rely solely on lists provided by Embassies or NGOs, which are sorely dated). Social events at home tend to be the primary entertainment in town, unless you like the club scene. If you run on the streets, you will likely be met with cheering crowds. Bring your mountain bike for rides in the Entoto mountains, which are just up the hill from the U.S. Embassy. Hiking the mountain is wonderful, save for the kids who pester you at the top for money to watch your car. - Jan 2014

Seeing the cultural sites outside of Addis Ababa: rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, castles at Gondar, stelae and tombs at Axum. - Nov 2013

Easy traveling in and out of country. - Jun 2012

Getting to know the people. Visiting the amazing historical sights. - Aug 2010

Trips to the Lower Omo Valley, Lalibela, Gonder, and the Rift Valley lakes have all been wonderful. The local cuisine is a big plus, too. - Jun 2010

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