Nestled in the heart of Ethiopia, the vibrant metropolis of Addis Ababa, affectionately known as Addis, proudly serves as the nation’s capital. In recent years, it has become a standout city in Africa, celebrated for its exceptional cuisine, renowned coffee culture, and lively nightlife… read more
Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia, covering over 300 square miles. It lies at the foot of Mount Entoto, and according to a 2007 census, the city has a population of over four million.
Addisababans are friendly and hospitable, and are not shy to express the pride they have for their nation and its history.
Addis is one of the safest cities to visit, hence the rapid growth of the tourism industry. The city has a lot to offer to tourists – ranging from historical cathedrals and imperial museums to fascinating open markets and colourful festivals.
Amharic is the official language here, but most people also speak English, Arabic and Oromiffa. The two main religions are Christianity and Islam, and something that should tell you a lot about the openness and acceptance of the people, is that interfaith marriage is considered normal here.
The city is home to the headquarters of the African Union and several global organisations. Due to the city being a diplomatic hub and gateway to Africa, there are hundreds of international and local hotels, restaurants and attractions, and plenty of things to do.
You may have a hot and dry picture of Ethiopia in your mind, but the reality is different. With a subtropical highland climate, Addis Ababa has pleasantly warm weather throughout the year – never unbearably hot or cold.
The average temperature is around 16°C and the hottest month is May. In June to September, the rainy season comes to visit and the night temperatures can be as low as eight °C.
Ethiopia was named ‘World’s Best Tourism Destination 2015’ by the the European Council on Tourism and Trade. As Addis is the gateway to this great country, it is quickly becoming one of the best cities to visit in Africa.
According to figures from the Addis Ababa city administration, Addis attracted over 650 thousand tourists in the first three quarters of 2016. These figures keep growing year on year, helped by the city’s infrastructure improvements and the increasing number of local and international flights to and from the city.
Ethiopia is a conservative country, and many people treasure the old values. Elders are held in high esteem, there is always time to say hello and grab a cup of coffee, and there are opportunities to build great friendships. Addis is very much the same, although with a slightly urban touch to everything.
Addisababans hold on to the old values, while melding their lives to meet the demands of life in a modern city. While you will not find people living in traditional tukuls or wearing the national dress every day, you will have plenty of opportunities to experience them firsthand.
In addition, Addis also offers everything you’d expect of a modern city – the nightlife is vibrant and fun, and there are plenty of exciting places to hang out.
Best time to go
Because of its all-year pleasant weather, Addis is a pleasure to visit anytime. However, if you do not like the rain, avoid the rainy season (although these months have their own charm).
If you want to witness the Meskel festival (and enjoy the preceding New Year festivities), then visit in September.
There are several events that happen in Addis Ababa, so keep an eye open for those before you plan your trip. To name a few – the Great Ethiopian Run, a number of exhibitions and fairs, numerous concerts (especially around the end or beginning of the year).
Whenever you plan to visit, rest assured the city will welcome you with open arms.
Find things to do in Addis, must see attractions, tours, sightseeing, theatres, cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and essential information.
Addis Ababa Time
Facts About Addis Ababa
|Local government districts
|Ethiopian emperors in the 15th century
|• Type: Mayor-council system
• Body: Addis Ababa City Council
• Mayor: Adanech Abebe (as of 2023)
|• Total: 527 km2 (204 sq mi)
|2,355 meters (7,726 feet)
|• Total: 5,005,524 (2023 estimate)
• Density: 9,500/km2 (24,500/sq mi)
|Addis Ababa resident
|• Total: ETB 154 billion (2022 estimate)
• Per capita: ETB 30,800
|East Africa Time (UTC+3)