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Addis Abeba

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IFLY tips

Lake Awassa (2 days)

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Lake Awassa is one of the most beautiful places in Ethiopia. A few hours drive south of Addis Abeba. Don’t forget to stop at some places during the ride, as the scenery is breathtaking and the people washing and swimming in the river will give you wonderful picturesque moments.

When you go to Awassa you should stay there for at least one night. If you like to stay in a real hotel we suggest Lewi Hotel. If you like to be in the nature you should try to get a room at Aregash Lodge, which is found in the forest area. From the lodge you can walk in the forest to see different types of monkeys, hyenas. You can also visit a local family to see how they prepare their main dish made from a banana tree. Don’t forget to try a real Ethiopian coffee ceremony in the afternoon. At night you can spend time at the lodge besides a campfire.

The next day you can spend some time in Awassa itself to see a fish market. Then go to lake Awassa to see different types of birds and take a very local boat to see the hippos.

There are several tour operators who can arrange this tour for you, but they have to make a booking for the hotel or lodge in advance. You can do that yourself as well and only arrange a driver. Make sure the driver is familiar with the area. The whole trip shouldn’t cost you more then 90 to 130 Euro per person for two days, depending on how many people are in your group.

Horse riding (½ day - 1 week)

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A little more then 30 minutes drive outside Addis Abeba you will find Equus Ethiopia, where you can ride a horse. You can ride through the high plateaus of Abyssinia, from the edge of the Blue Nile to the Rift Valley escarpment, accompanied by bilingual guides and local horsemen.

There are several day trips, but a short track or even longer tracks are also an option. For more information and bookings, visit their website.

For a trail ride, being a complete beginner is fine. For treks you should be comfortable on a horse and be able to control him walking, trotting and galloping. You should also be reasonably fit as you are expected to stay in the saddle for up to six hours a day and shouldn’t weigh more than 90 kilos.

Wenchi Crater Lake (1 - 2 days)

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Wenchi is a highland area (malaria free), situated in Oromia Regional state in South West Shewa Zone, 155 km west of Addis Ababa. This is about three hours drive from the city. The area is famed for its beautiful mountainous landscape, used partly as farmland and partly covered by natural forest. An old monastery with a church is situated on one of the lake islands. Other attractions included the hot mineral springs, waterfalls and dramatic valleys around the lake.

Trekking is a must do in Wenchi as the scenery is absolutely stunning. There are several trails, which can be done by horse. And don’t forget to do a boat tour across the lake to the small monastery island from where you can observe the beauty of the lake and the Kirkos church.

A tour can be day as a daytrip, but if you have time you should spend some more time there and stay overnight in a hotel in Ambo or Weliso. There are no tour operators to book this tour so you’ll have to arrange the trip and a driver yourself. A 4x4 or other appropriate vehicle is suggested for the journey. For more information about Wenchi, visit the website.

Local market: Merkato (2 hrs)

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The largest open-air market in Africa, Merkato in Addis Abeba, is well worth a visit. You can buy anything here and the experience is unforgettable. Dress casual with a good pair of shoes or boots, keep your money well out of site and leave any valuables in the hotel safe.

Don't be put off by guidebooks saying Merkato is unsafe. It is no more safe or unsafe than other parts of Addis. Don't invite opportunist snatchers or pickpockets by displaying cash, cameras or gold chains.

If you see something you want, you have to bargain a lot. Normally you can get down to around 20 percent or less of the starting price. Some of the clothing items are a good buy and if you want some good coffee this is also the place. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time, as there is so much to see.

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Language of the world

Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Addis Abeba.