Unique sense of place
On the plane back from our visit in March 2016 an air hostess told us that there was nothing to do in Addis Abbaba. Possibly true if you’re a young local in need of a cool club scene, but for the inquisitive traveller, Ethiopia’s capital is naturally one of the best places to visit in the country and can be an intriguing and relatively comfortable experience.
It has an identity of its own – a sense of place – that’s lacking in the 20th century cities that have been imposed on other African countries. The climate is comfortable because of the city’s height, and although the usual beggars, pickpockets and hawkers will compete for your cash, the seedy areas are not as sinister as they might first appear.
It covers a large area – some 220 square km – and it feels at once modern (in parts) and Ethiopian. Addis Abbaba means ‘new flower.’ Travellers come here especially for the live music, including ‘Ethio-jazz’: favourite spots to enjoy it are Mama’s Kitchen, Jams Addis or trendy Fendika Azmari Bet.
Everyone enjoys the excellent dining out scene. A convenient way to experience this is to book a food tour with Addis Eats. There are some worthwhile museums: The Red Terror Martyrs’ Museum is outstanding and so is the National Museum of Ethiopia which has fascinating artefacts from earliest times in Tigrai – before the Axumite Empire.
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