Exclusive Ethiopia - Addis and Surroundings

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, the country’s largest city, and site of the headquarters of the African Union. Highlights include Entoto Mountain on which stands the Palace of Menelik II, the National Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, Trinity Cathedral, St George Cathedral, Merkato and the Piazza.


Overview

Addis Ababa, or ‘new flower’ in Amharic, was founded in 1886 by Emperor Menekik II with the encouragement of his wife, the Empress Taitu Betul, and remains the centre of government today. The city was occupied by the Italians from 1936 until 1941. In 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie helped form the Organisation of African Unity, headquartered in Addis, which was dissolved in 2002 and replaced by the African Union.

Entoto Mountain, the highest peak overlooking Addis, is 3,200m above sea level. Emperor Menelik II built his palace here when we founded the city of Addis Ababa, and lived here until the end of his life. The mountain is considered sacred, and has many churches and monasteries including Saint Raguel and Saint Mary. The eucalyptus trees on the slopes, planted by Emperor Haile Selassiek have given rise to the name: the lung of Addis.

The National Museum has a selection of historical, archaeological, anthropological and artistic exhibits, the most famous of which is Lucy. Discovered by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson in 1974, and apparently named after the Beatles’ song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds which was a hit at the time, Lucy’s skeleton is dated to about 3.2 million years ago.

The Ethnographic Museum, the first university museum in Ethiopia, is located at Addis Ababa University. The museum houses a diverse and interesting collection of memorabilia of Ethiopian history, and the life cycles and rites of passages of the Ethiopian peoples. Built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from the Italian occupiers, Holy Trinity Cathedral is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia. It is the burial place of Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen Asfaw, and those who assisted them during their exile. Also buried here is the famous British suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst who spent much of her life in Ethiopia. The octagonal St George’s Cathedral was built on the ruins of a church of the 15th century. Emperor Haile Selassie was crowned in the cathedral in 1930, which then became a pilgrimage site for Rastafarians who revere Haile Selassie as a messianic figure. A museum and an Imperial throne are also found here.

Merkato, Italian for ‘market’, is the largest open-air market in Africa. With products from around Ethiopia and beyond, including agricultural, gastronomy, textiles and artefacts, this is a wonderful place to spend a day. The Piazza, originally the economic heart of Addis and home to the 1905 stone Bank of Abyssinia building, is an interesting place to stay, eat, shop and experience Addis’ nightlife. Bole, one of the more upmarket parts of the capital, stretches from Bole International Airport to Meskel Square, and is where most of the international restaurants, hotels, gyms, shops and malls are found.

Other more unusual activities on offer include an art day, visiting Addis’ fascinating art galleries and photography exhibitions; a food tour, sampling Ethiopia’s famed cuisine in a selection of the best restaurants; or a horse riding expedition up to a hill overlooking Addis on which a picnic will be served.

Sites of interest around Addis include the 13th century rock-hewn church of Adady Mariam; the Tiya Stele Field of an ancient civilisation, one of the most important of about 160 archaeological sites in Soddo region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and a bridge constructed of ostrich shells and rock over the Blue Nile with fabulous views, that might have been built by the Portuguese in the 16th century or by the Ras Darge Sahle Selassie in the 19th century. To the south of Addis, Bishoftu, also known as Debre Zeit, and Adama, also known as Nasret, are resort towns popular with residents of Addis for weekends away from the city.


Highlights In The Addis and Surroundings Region

Addis Ababa has an interesting collection of museums, covering its history, politics, archaeological findings, and more. While none of them have modern interactive displays, their collections and exhibits are impressive if a little dusty. The National Museum of Ethiopia has a collection of exhibitions mostly dedicated to ancient history. Lucy,...

This unique, individual and insular branch of the Christian Church is widely respected all over the country, and has several awe-inspiring monuments in the city of Addis Ababa. The Holy Trinity Cathedral, also known as Kidist Selassie and as Menbere Tsebaot, is the highest-ranking religious site in Addis. Large and...

While Addis Ababa is at a high altitude, situated at an altitude of nearly 2,400m, it’s actually in a bowl surrounded by mountains of even higher altitudes. Many of the surrounding mountains are over 3,000m, and several of the viewpoints on the peaks are well worth a visit....

Addis boasts an interesting range of things to buy. Traditionally it was known for silver jewellery, woven scarves, religious icons, coffee, crafts and curios – and these are all still available and good value today. However, in the last few years, local designers have burst onto the scene with a...

There are a surprising number of sites within an easy drive of Addis of historical, geographical or visual interest that can be visited as day-trips while staying in the city. There are also a few nearby towns that are popular with residents of Addis for weekends away from the city....

Addis Ababa has a number of dining options that are well worth trying. The traditional restaurants, many of which have cultural shows and Ethiopian dancing, offer the famed Ethiopian cuisine. There’s also a host of Italian restaurants that hark back to the time of the Italian occupation. More...


Listings In The Addis and Surroundings Region

Haile Gebrselassie is arguably the best runner Ethiopia has ever produced – and that’s quite a feat! With two Olympic gold medals, four World Championship titles and too many marathon wins to count, Haile has broken national and international records time and time again. Now President of Ethiopian Athletics, the ...

In the Bole district of Addis, Saro-Maria Hotel is well positioned for both business travellers and tourists. The 96 en-suite rooms comprise king standard, twin, king extra, family, junior delux and superior delux. All rooms are decorated in cream and gold with polished wooden floors, daybed, satellite TV, intercom telephone, minibar, ...

With a terrace with views of the mountains, Getfam Hotel offers comfortable accommodation in Addis Ababa. There are standard double rooms, standard twin rooms, junior suites, suites and a presidential suite. All rooms have Wifi and cable internet, tea and coffee, safe, satellite TV, mini bar, iron with ironing board ...

Marriott International, based near Washington DC, is a leading hotel company with more than 6,000 hotels in 122 countries and territories. It has over 30 brands including JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, Design Hotels, Renaissance Hotels and Four Points. Marriott Executive Apartments is located on African Avenue, near the African Union Headquarters. ...

This tall structure has views over the city of Addis Ababa, and offers accommodation for business and leisure travellers. The 96 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, delux king, delux premium, delux twin and suites. All rooms have a satellite TV, aircon, Wifi, safe, minibar, iron, hairdryer, toiletries and balcony. ...

The Louvre Grand Hotel is situated in the Yeka district of Addis near a number of embassies. The hotel is French-owned and its restaurant and terrace bar are in Parisian style. There are 15 en-suite rooms on four floors, comprising standard, studio and apartment. All rooms have desk, satellite TV, safe, ...

A multi-level hotel set into the side of the hills sloping down to Lake Bishoftu, Pyramid Hotel has lovely views of the water and the surrounding hills. Bishoftu, also known as Debra Zeit, is popular with residents of Addis who often visit at weekends. The 42 en-suite rooms are decorated in ...

Decorated in the renaissance style, Abyssinia Renaissance Hotel is conveniently located near the centre of Addis. The 32 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, twin, classic, delux and junior suite. All rooms have TV, intercom telephone and desk. The suites are more spacious and have armchairs and coffee tables. The ...

A friendly refuge near the heart of Addis, Ghion Hotel has a history of hosting reputable guests including heads of state and VIPs. The hotel opened in 1951 and is set in a spacious tropical garden next to what was once the Jubilee Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie. The 195 en-suite rooms ...

In the Bole district of Addis, Momona Hotel’s abstract form represents the Momona Tree of Ethiopia’s famed region of Tigrey. The 63 en-suite rooms comprise standard, delux, twin, junior suite and executive suite. All rooms have armchairs, coffee table, TV, minibar, intercom telephone and toiletries. The suites have a ...

On Lake Babogaya, Liesak Resort has lovely views across the water and plentiful secluded spots from which to soak up the views. The resort is on several levels, with attractive gardens sloping down to the waterfront. There are 45 en-suite rooms, made up of delux, twin, luxury, family, and connecting family ...

In the Bole district of Addis Ababa, Golden Tulip Hotel is a comfortable business hotel. The 90 rooms are made up of 45 delux king doubles, 25 delux king twins, 15 executive and 5 suites. All rooms have 86-channel TVs, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, iron, ironing board, safe, clothes brush, shoe shine kit ...

Located in the Piazza, the Addis Regency Hotel is in the old centre of Addis. Originally the economic centre of Addis, the Piazza, on the peak of Addis, is now known for buzzing nightlife, coffee bars, markets, shops, restaurants and bars. The 33 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, delux, ...

In the prestigious Bole district of Addis, Jupiter Hotel is convenient for both tourists and business travellers. Sister Jupiter Hotel is located nearby, in the Cazanchise, or Kazanchis, district of Addis. The 40 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, twin, delux and junior suite. All rooms have TV, desk, intercom ...

Best Western International operates the Best Western Hotels and Resorts. The international hotel chain was founded in 1946 and currently operates over 4,100 hotels around the world; its headquarters is in Phoenix, Arisona, and the chain offers a loyalty programme. Best Western is located in the prestigious Bole neighbourhood of Addis. The 160 ...

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, an international hotel chain owned by Marriott International, owns the Sheraton Addis Hotel. The luxury hotel is in the centre of Addis near the UN conference centre, and not far from Merkato and Bole International Airport. The 294 en-suite rooms and suites are made up of classic ...

This striking building on the outskirts of Adama blends French influence, Moroccan style, and Ethiopian setting with aplomb. Known familiarly as The White House, the boutique hotel has a unique architectural style that harks back to the days of the spice routes. Adama, also known as Nasret, is less than 10 ...

Close to Bole International Airport, Ambassador Hotel offers accommodation for business and leisure travellers. The 196 en-suite rooms are made up of 65 standard, 58 delux, 53 twins, 14 king suites, 2 executive suites, 2 junior presidential suites and 2 presidential suites. All rooms have satellite TV, Wifi, minibar and safe, and offer room service, laundry and dry ...

Best known for the Brazilian steak house on its rooftop, this hotel is popular with locals and visitors to Addis alike. The hotel is located not far from the African Union and the United Nations offices. The 150 en-suite rooms are made up of superior, delux and executive suites. All rooms ...

The InterContinental Group is an international hotel group. The group’s headquarters is in Buckinghamshire, UK, and it owns around 5,600 hotels in almost 100 countries. The InterContinental Addis is located in the Kazanchis, or Cazanchis, district of Addis. The 194 en-suite rooms are made up of 152 deluxe rooms and 42 furnished apartments. All ...

The Hilton hotel chain was established by Conrad Hilton in 1919, and now has a multitude of brands including Hilton Hotels and Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, and Tru by Hilton. The Addis Ababa Hilton is in the city centre near the ECA Convention Centre. The spacious ...

In the Bole district of Addis, Hotel Siyonat is conveniently located for business travellers and tourists alike. The 40 en-suite rooms comprise twins, doubles and junior suites. All rooms have cream and gold furnishing, and are furnished with desk, TV, fridge, intercom telephone, and toiletries. The junior suites are more spacious, ...

In the prestigious Bole neighbourhood of Addis, Beer Garden Inn is not only a hotel, but a micro-brewery. The indoor brew house and the typically German beer garden make a welcome change in Addis. The beers are brewed under the German ‘Reinheitsgebot’ which dates to the 16th century. Using pure ...

Set in lovely gardens near the centre of Addis, Monarch Hotel has the sense of being an oasis in the bustling city. The 74 en-suite rooms are made up of single, standard, delux, delux studio, twin and junior suite. All rooms are designed in individual colours such as Golden Sand and ...

With a large model of an Ethiopian Airlines plane outside, and a ticket office on site, it’s clear this hotel is owned by Ethiopian Airlines. The 8-floor hotel opened in 2019 and looks out onto Bole International Airport. The 373 en-suite rooms, decorated in cream and white, are made up of ...

The first Radisson hotel was built in 1909 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the international hotel chain is now owned by the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, and operates a number of brands including Radisson Blu, Radisson RED and Park Inn by Radisson. In Kazanchis, or Cazanchise, district of Addis, Radisson Blu is near ...

This iconic hotel on the Piazza opened in 1898 (Ethiopian calendar), and was the first hotel to be established in Ethiopia. The Empress Taitu, 1851-1918, wife of the revered Emperor Menelik II, wanted her namesake establishment to be a place where her guests could rest and dine in tranquillity. She chose ...

In the Cazanchise, or Kazanchis, district of Addis, Jupiter Hotel is near the United Nations compound and convenient for both tourists and business travellers. Sister Jupiter Hotel is located nearby, in the Bole district of Addis Ababa. The 40 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, twin, deluxe and junior suite. ...

The Capital Hotel and Spa has comfortable accommodation near the centre of Addis. The 120 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, superior, studio and suite. All rooms have satellite TV, minibar, Wifi and balcony. The studios have, in addition, Jacuzzis, and the suites include a living room with space for ...

Offering a collection of suites for long or short stay, this hotel aims for the personal touch. Each suite has been individually designed and decorated, with attention to detail. The 19 en-suite suites are made up of standard suites, luxury suites, twin suites and residence suites. All suites have king sized ...

Hyatt Hotels Corporation was established in Los Angeles, USA, in 1957. The luxury hotel group now has 777 hotels in 54 countries; it operates under the brands Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Centric and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, and offers a loyalty programme. The Hyatt Regency in Addis ...

In the centre of Adama, an hour and a half from Addis Ababa, is Kuriftu Resort and Spa. Adama, also known as Nasret, is less than 100km from Addis and is a popular weekend getaway for residents of the city. The resort has 94 en-suite rooms, including two presidential suites. The ...

In the Bole district of Addis, Friendship Hotel is comfortable, convenient and – as the name suggests – friendly. The 104 en-suite rooms, on 7 floors, comprise twin, queen, king, delux and suite. All rooms have desk, cupboard, safe, intercom telephone, TV, kettle, tea and coffee, dressing gowns, and their bathrooms have Jacuzzis. The ...

Set in lush tropical gardens, The Safari Lodge is an oasis favoured by residents of Addis and tourists alike. Adama, also known as Nasret, is less than 100km from Addis and is a popular weekend getaway for residents of the city. The 17 en-suite suites all include a living room furnished ...

Centrally located in Addis, Addissinia is an elegantly designed hotel with décor to suit its quirky name. The 58 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, delux, family suite, executive suite and presidential suite. All rooms have satellite TV, safe, desk, minibar, hairdryer, iron, ironing board, blackout curtains, and tea ...

Adama, also known as Nasret, is less than 100km from Addis and is a popular weekend getaway for residents of the city. Located in the centre of the town, Tokuma Hotel is within easy reach of the cultural centres, restaurants and nightlife of the town. The 28 en-suite rooms are all ...

Centrally located in the Bole district of Addis, Harmony Hotel has a range of services and accommodation suited to business and leisure travellers. The 149 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, Sheba Queen rooms, Royal King rooms, Furnished delux rooms, Emperor suites, junior presidential suites and presidential suites. All rooms ...

On the shores of Lake Kuriftu, Kuriftu Resort is the showpiece of Kuriftu Resorts. Bishoftu, also known as Debre Zeit, is only 50km from Addis, and is a resort town popular with Addis residents, known for its five crater lakes. The 89 en-suite rooms include 4 presidential suites. All rooms have private ...

On the fringe of the Bole district of Addis, Caravan Hotel is a family-run and friendly hotel priding itself on offering the personal touch. There are 37 en-suite rooms, made up of standard, twin and delux, on five floors. All rooms have dressing table, cupboard, hair dryer, TV with international channels, ...

Heyday Hotel is conveniently located near Bole International Airport, and offers accommodation for business travellers and tourists. The 36 en-suite rooms are made up of singles, doubles, twins and suites. All rooms have balconies, and are equipped with satellite TV, desk, minibar, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes, toiletries and tea and coffee. The ...

In the Kazanchis, or Cazanchise, business district of Addis, the twin towers of Elilly Hotel are near the United Nations Conference Centre. The 152 en-suite rooms are made up of standard, delux, junior suites, penthouse and presidential suite. All rooms are equipped with TV, Wifi, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, and tea ...

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