Transportation - Get In
Bole International Airport , the busiest airport in East Africa and the hub of Ethiopian Airlines, is serviced by several international airlines with daily flights to Europe, United States, Asia, and many African cities including Accra, Bamako, Brazzaville, Cairo,Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Khartoum, Harare, Johannesburg, Nairobi. There are two terminals. T1 (the older, smaller one) is for all domestic flights and most flights to neighbouring nations (but not Kenya). T2 (the newer 2003 building) is for all other international flights – arrangements may change so check first.
As of July 2012 access into the terminals is restricted. Anyone at the airport to meet you, plus taxis, will be out in the carpark. A dozen of the top hotels still have a booth inside the arrivals area. Similar rules apply at the other airports in the country, for both arrivals and departures. As of July 2011 a taxi to the city costs 100-150 birr. If you have a prior arrangement, many hotels will send a vehicle to pick up pre-booked guests from the airport. The Sheraton Addis, Dreamliner, Hilton Addis, and most other hotels provide regular shuttle service for guests. This is also the case with many popular guesthouses.
- Autobus Terra, corner of Fitawrari Habte Giyorgis St and Central African Republic St / Somalia St, on the north-west side of Mercato. This is the main bus terminal where most of the national buses arrive and depart.
- Ras Mekonin Avenue near the railway station. Buses to/from Adama (Nazret), Debre Zeyit, Dire Dawa, Nairobi, Lalibela, Shahemene, Awasa and Bahir Dar are or were here. July 2011 - Ras Makonnen - or La Gare - closed and moved to the Akaki Kality District on Sierra Leone St (Debre Zeit Rd).
- Buses west to Nekempte and beyond go from Asco on the old Ambo Road.
Most of the major roads are in good condition.
Transportation - Get Around
Very few streets have names and when they do, they may not be named correctly on a map; use landmarks to navigate the city.
Blue and white minibuses
Blue and white minibuses/taxis travel quite efficiently around town. Since they are full with people most of the time, it is very cheap too; usually between 1-3 birr depending on how far you are going. To catch a minibus, stand on the side of the road and hail it. This can be done anywhere it is possible for the bus to stop. The conductor inside will call out the destination, and if that's where you want to go: get on. You pay the conductor when he signals to you that he wants money (which might take a few minutes). To get change. To get out say "woraj alle", or just "woraj". It is worth having an Ethiopian guide with you if it is your first time using these taxis, since it can be quite chaotic to find out what minibuses go where, and from what places.
Small blue Lada taxis
Small blue Lada taxis are more expensive. Negotiation is the norm and you often have to press quite hard to get a bargain as a foreigner. They can be contracted for a single trip, an hour, or a full day; just negotiate. Do not be surprised if the price of the taxi increases at night for the same trip.
Yellow and green taxis usually hang around hotels like Sheraton. They are more expensive, but reliable. If you're willing to pay for peace of mind, slightly better drivers and a car that wasn't featured in the Flintstones, use these cars.
Light Rail Transit (LRT)
There is two lines of Light Rail in Addis Ababa, crossing near Meskel square:
- West-East green line 1 is from Tor Hailoch station to Ayat.
- North-South blue line 2 is from Kality station toMenelik II Square station (aka Piazza).
Cost is 2 birr for a 8-stations trip and up to 6 birr to go everywhere. Both are open since November 2015.
If you need an airport shuttle to your hotels or other destination, there are some taxis parked outside the airport. They probably take you anywhere you want to go but negotiate the fee before you board. If you want a peace of mind, you can reserve a shuttle service called iEthio.com before you arrive.