My video on getting around in Ethiopia was really useful for many of you, so today I’m breaking down all the important things you need to know when you land into Addis Ababa. This is the first part of two, and I’ll talk about phone, internet, electricity, customs, cheap flights, and an incident with Ethiopia Airlines. In the second part, I will go into toilets, showers, laundry, vaccinations, language, and useful gear.
Here are the notes from my vlog:
– If you want to use your phone, get a SIM card from Ethio Telecom. Prepare for line ups
– It’s only 30 birr ($2) for 300mb on sign up. For most people, good enough to stay in touch, maybe an IG post a day. After that, you have to fill, and I can’t remember how much you get, but it’s definitely expensive for Ethiopians. Refill cards are sold literally everywhere. Guys on corners, etc. Enter a code and that’s it.
– Ethiopia Telecom is a government monopoly. Social media is often blocked. Get a VPN: get one that works for PC and has an app for the Phone. I’ll dig up the one I used and put it in the description. Note: you don’t need to connect to a VPN server in the country, which is hard fo find, but just to a neighbouring one.
– Use LINE or Wechat since they’re usually not blocked.
– Voice over IP is often blocked too.
– It’s expensive. Go to a hotel and buy a coffee or breakfast.
– There are some new co-working spaces now.
– Circle ones used in Europe, Type C, 220V
– Customs is fairly strict.
– Don’t bring two laptops; you might get away with 2 phones or 2 cameras.
Cheap Local Flights
– Ethiopia Airlines: hit and miss. International high quality. Local can be a mess. I showed up a hour before a flight one time and it took off before I checked in. The next day, I got on a flight and it left over an hour after the departure time. To be safe, show up 2 hours before. Also note that the check-in lines can be chaotic “non lines”
– BUT you have to fly into the country on Ethiopia airlines, because you get a steep 30% off or more on local flights booked a week or so in advance. I got a one-way ticket to Lalibela for $30.
– You definitely don’t want to take a bus to Lalibela since it’s a mountainous region. Even the bajaj or tuk-tuk that I took to get to the Lalibela airport was a rough ride.
Here are some extra things I recommend for Ethiopia Travel.
– Small Gorilla Tape for on the road repairs
– Compact, non-hanging mosquito net for sleeping. This one takes more “building work”, but is compact. while this one and this one are pop-up style