Streets increasingly have names, but the names are not widely known or mapped; use landmarks to navigate the city.
Addis Ababa’s light rail transportation system – the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa – opened in 2015. There are two lines – an east-west line (Green Line) and a north-south line (Blue Line). The Green Line stretches 17.4km from Ayat Village to Torhailoch, and passes through Megenagna, Meskel Square, Legehar and Mexico Square. The Blue Line stretches 16.9km from Menelik II Square to Kality, passing through Merkato, Lideta, Legehar, Meskel Square and Gotera and also serving Autobus Tera.
Trams operate frequently 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tickets are exceptionally cheap – costing 2-6 ETB depending on distance travelled – and can be bought at orange-coloured kiosks next to each station.
All signs and pre-recorded announcements are in Amharic and English, so there are no language barriers for the English-speaking traveller.
Blue and white minibuses/taxis travel quite efficiently around the town. Since they are full of people most of the time, it is very cheap too, 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 experienced guide with you if it is your first time using these taxis, since it can be quite chaotic to find out which minibuses go where, and from what places. It is acceptable to ask if the taxi (minibus) will go by your destination on its way. For example, if you want to take a taxi from Bole road to Black Lion Hospital (Tikur Anbessa) you can hail a taxi headed to Piazza (which the conductor will be yelling out the window but it might sound like ‘assa! assa!’) and when he stops ask ‘Tikur Anbessa?’ using a rising tone to indicate the question.
Usually he or another passenger will nod. Often if you do this the conductor will stop the taxi at your destination without you even needing to request the stop. It also serves to allow the conductor to determine how much to charge you. Indeed, one of the main challenges to using the taxis is recognizing the name of your destination being yelled from the window. Don’t hesitate to ask folks on the street: “Taxi to Stadium?” and watch where they point.
Small, blue coloured 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 (haggle!).
Yellow and green taxis usually hang around hotels like the Sheraton. They are more expensive, but reliable, and if you’re willing to pay for peace of mind, slightly better drivers and a more modern car (comfortable ride and vehicle usually in good working order). Use these cars.
Walking in Addis Ababa is a pleasant and sensible way of getting around. Locals will happily greet you, ask you how you are doing and so on.
Hiring a car for a day-trip will be quite expensive as well: 600 birr. Remember, it’s only 20birr / liter for gasoline.
Addis Ababa is the starting point of the famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit. Reasonable service providers include Ecotravel Ethiopia ++251 (0) 911-440-915″