A great way to pass some time while waiting to travel is to do some reading about the sights and activities in the Addis area and plan some things that you would like to do. Most people choose to do some shopping. You can read about bargaining here. I found a beautiful mesob that I was able to bring home. There are also museums, restaurants, and other tourist stops. An afternoon of swimming at the Hilton or the Sheraton is a common stop for many families. You may also find it helpful to learn some Amharic phrases.
If you’ve been in Addis before and have some familiarity with the city, you may be able retrace some of your steps using this detailed photo of Addis. Unfortunately nothing is marked, but even if you can’t figure out a thing, it is interesting to see some of the layout in the city and note the extreme contrasts and the seemingly random placement of huge buildings next to small shacks.
Another great tool to try out Google Earth. You’ll have to download and install some things onto your computer. If you have dial-up like I do, that process will be painfully slow. But the service is free and allows you to plug in coordinates and ‘visit’ anyplace on the globe. I’ve listed some common Addis stops here, and you can zoom in and zoom out to get a better idea of the landmarks in and around Addis.
I also found several travel guides to be helpful. The
Lonely Planet Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook (Paperback) by Tilahun Kebede, Catherine Snow is a phrase book that help you with some simple words and pronunciation. My favorite part of this book was the cultural information and basic travel tips.
Ethiopia, 4th : The Bradt Travel Guide (Paperback) by Philip Briggs is very interesting and accurate. Briggs is an entertaining writer, and there’s lots to make this book a worthwhile purchase.
The Spectrum Guide to Ethiopia is excellent and very detailed, not just as a travel guide, but also for those just interested in knowing more about Ethiopia. This book covers history, geography, food, art, religion, visitors’ needs, wildlife. Lots of pictures make this book really awesome.
The Lonely Planet Ethiopia Eritrea and Djibouti (Paperback) by Pertti Hamalainen is my favorite out of all my Ethiopia travel books– I can tell by all the dog-eared pages! The book features dozens of maps including detailed maps of portions of Addis. There is info on how to stay healthy, restaurant recommendations, and lots of other information, including special sections on Ethiopia’s diverse birdlife, Red Sea diving, and a comprehensive language section. If I was going to buy only one travel guide, this would be it.
Whatever you decide to do, have a great time planning your trip. It is sure to be one you will not forget.