Friday, February 25, 2011

Moving To Ethiopia - There is food and water!

Are you moving to Ethiopia? Then congratulations, you are embarking on the adventure of a life time. This is going to be the beginning of the stories you will be telling your grandchildren over and over again. This is a land of fairy tales that actually happened.

About Ethiopia

Ethiopia is located in the Eastern part of Africa, more commonly called the ‘Horn of Africa’ because it looks like Africa has a jutting, rhino-like horn. Ethiopia shares its borders with The Sudan (soon to be split into North and South Sudan) in the west, Kenya in the south, Somalia in the east, Djibouti in the northeast and Eritrea in the north.

What You Will Need

The first thing that pops into first time visitors or people that are planning on moving to Ethiopia is that there is no food. Some even go so far as to ask whether they should bring their own supplies of canned food and bottled water. Well, as amusing as it seems the answer is still a big resounding ‘No!’  

There is food in Ethiopia. No, seriously! There IS food in Ethiopia. Food, whether traditional or foreign, is served in the overflowing number of restaurants that are all over the city of Addis Ababa. There even international restaurants like Indian, Thai and Korean. There are restaurants that exhibit dishes from all over the world by actually inviting chefs from the respective countries. If you don’t want to eat out, there are supermarkets (Friendship Supermarket is recommended), butchers, vegetable and fruit vendors all over the city.

The same thing goes for watered bottle. There are over five well-known brands of bottled water that are known for their brands and quality. The tap water is can be used for drinking – just buy a $10 water purifying jug and you’re set.

Getting Here

The best way to get to Addis Ababa is to jump on the first available flight. The national carrier Ethiopian Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world and covers around 60 destinations worldwide – this would be the best way to go.

While Ethiopia is known for its ‘13 months of sunshine’ – a slogan for the National Tour Operator, making note of the fact that Ethiopia follows the Julian Calendar and has 13 months – there are two main seasons: from September to May it is mainly dry with some months cold and others hot. And from June to August is the rainy season. Therefore most visitors to Ethiopia would enjoy their move to Ethiopia much more if they didn’t have the rain and mud to dim their views of their new home.

Finding Accommodation

Addis Ababa is a city full of hotels, guesthouses and rooms or houses for rent. From the luxury of the Sheraton to the guesthouses around 22 Mazoria, there are places that can meet each and every single person’s budget. The easiest thing to do would be to search online for hotels. If that doesn’t work out the next thing to do would be to try and contact someone already in Ethiopia to look for a place and/or make a reservation. There are websites that cater to real estate, but the prices listed there are a bit too far -fetched and do not leave any room for bargaining – a must in the Ethiopian market.

Life in Addis

Addis Ababans are usually a relaxed lot. There just is no rush. People can actually sit at a cafĂ© and sip the same cup of coffee or macchiato for over an hour. After hours the most crowded places are cafes and pubs. Walking along the city’s main road, Bole Road, can prove to be a little difficult once the population hits the streets – but it is a refreshing experience. It is the chance to look at cross-section of the Ethiopian society. The yuppies, the expats, the migrants … everyone can be seen on that single road.

Nightlife in Addis Ababa is truly amazing. When the whole city gears up to party nothing can get in the way! This is especially noticeable on Fridays and eves of holidays. The greatest party the whole city had was on the eve of the New Ethiopian Millennium (Ethiopia has a different calendar – the Julian calendar).  Everyone starts heading to his or her favorite waterhole at around 18:00. After a couple of hours getting in the mood, it is off the nightclubs around Addis. The rest, let’s just say, is ecstatic.

Night Life in Addis Ababa

If there is anything to add under this topic it is the fact that Addis Ababa is a city that is growing by leaps and bounds. And as the city grows, so too does the number of night clubs. For any person living in Ethiopia or just coming for a short visit, the best bet would be to find a taxi driver that has been driving for a year or too. They are the best guides to the nightlife in Addis Ababa as people tend to hire them to take them to and from the clubs or even as they go bar hopping. So if you are thinking of having a great night, hire one of the small Lada taxis for the night and just let your driver worry about it all.

Finally, because nightclubs in Addis Ababa keeping opening, closing or moving their premises around the city it would need a dedicated blog to keep track of them.

Mixing With the People

Ethiopians like mixing with foreigners. And unlike most of Africa, there are no colonial hang-ups that create uncomfortable vibes between a foreigner and a local. For the most part what foreigners find a little bit annoying is the shooing off of beggars. It could get a little more annoying when travelling out of the city, like the historical places of Axum and Lalibela, or on the way to the many resorts in the south of the country, like Langano. But, the trick to getting out of it is to simply shake your head as you keep repeating ‘No’, and keep walking. They tend to give up after a few paces.

Places To Avoid

It may seem quite unbelievable, but there is nothing that needs to be avoided in Addis Ababa. You just have to be prepared for it. For example, Merkato is Africa’s biggest open air market. With patience and tenacity, it is said you can find anything you want. But there’s one problem, it is VERY crowded. On shopping days, you could be walking in the middle of a crowd for stretches of time without even being able to see the road or your feet. It is THAT crowded. Now in a place like that, you would expect some mischief to happen. There are pickpockets and purse snatchers. So, if you really want to enjoy the experience go dressed for it. Wear jeans, sneakers that you wouldn’t mind being trod on … and get right into it. But apart from these places, you wouldn’t find any place per se where you need to avoid. So put on your walking shoes and start a’walking.

Other cares that you might need to take would be locking doors to cars and homes when leaving them unattended. If you drive to a place and you see kids playing around the streets call one (only one – dealing is better with one kid than the whole bunch, let them figure out a way to split the money) of the over and say you will give him a couple of bucks to keep an eye on your car. If you come back three hours later, you will still find him there.

Places To Visit

The whole city is a place to visit. Like when going to nightclubs, you might also want to hire a taxi driver for your daily jaunts across the city – at least until you can figure your way around. As for places of interest, any guide book or a simple search on Google can show where you should be and at what time.

Expats and You

Being the center for many international organizations and the home of many embassies from all over the world, Addis Ababa is blessed with a thriving expat community. So, any worries that you might miss speaking your language with your countryman can be allayed. There are hangouts that the expats prefer and to get the inside information all you’d need to do is stop one in the street and ask him or her which is what and where it is – that’s all.

Finally – Closing

If you are planning on moving to Ethiopia, do not change your mind, feel anxious or even think of changing your mind because of what you had seen in on TV in 1970’s. Those images do not exist in Ethiopia anymore – all that cannot be said about the archives of the BBC, which looks for excuses to show it at every possible mention of the word ‘Ethiopia’.
You will find ample food, peace and love and relaxing environment. 

So, welcome to Addis Ababa!


  1. Just love the article, you make people want to come visit Ethiopia, it sounds like one can find anything there: culture, fun, nature and lovely people....Go Adis Abeba!

  2. Thank you and I'm glad you loved it. Ethiopia is all that and more. Maybe you will see for yourself when YOU move to Ethiopia! Go Addis Ababa!


  3. Hello:

    I enjoyed your article immensely because I am thinking about moving to Addis Ababa. Could you tell me about the accessibility to Internet because I work online.

    Your insight would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  4. Hi Suneva Lightfoot,

    thank you for your kind words. While the internet is on the slower side you can get access by either opting for CDMA, wireless or mobile connection. I do work online and have found it to be more than adequate...just don't expect to stream movies online. :O)

    Make sure you hit me up when you get here, maybe we can work together.


    Deep E.

  5. It's an exotic location to travel. Pack up your things for an exciting adventure.

  6. There are several activities you can choose. It depends on your preferred adventure.

  7. Great article. Thank you from the U.S.A.

  8. Thank you and you're very welcome!


  9. I wish i could go to ethiopia. my parents were born there but i wasn't, never saw it before :(. Great article!!!!!

  10. Maybe one day you will be able to come, I sure hope so! Thank you very much for the kind words.


  11. Hi,

    I am an Indian... I just visited Addis... I really like the people and the culture... Addis does not look like a 3rd world city... Great place!

  12. Thank you for your kind words, and I sure hope you come back again!

  13. I've been hired for a teaching job in Addis, but I'm somewhat hesitant because of the pay rate (10,000bir) although this a lot by local standards. It's not enough to take care of debt obligations back home, however I feel that this may be a once in a life time opportunity so I'm feeling a bit torn. But thanks for this article. It gives me a little bit more encouragement to follow my original plan of going to Ethiopia

    1. Hi! I hope everything works out fine for you and you DO decide to come. Always remember that it is the lifestyle that you decide to lead that will determine the amount of money you have left at the end of the month.
      Thank you for visiting.

  14. Hello!

    My husband is from Ethiopia (we currently live in Sweden with our 2 kids), and we are considering moving there. I have always felt I belong elsewhere, in a land where the sun shines most of the time... =)

    My concerns are, is it safe to live there? I don't think we would be living in a major city like Addis Abeba - more likely a small town - and considering the politic conflict between the amharic and oromo people I am hesitating. I have heard it is getting worse, do you know anything about it?

    Also, are there any amusement parks? I've tried googling it but I'm not really finding any relevant info.


  15. Hi Sarah,

    Please email me at Deep(dot)Ethiopian(at)Gmail(dot)com. I will try to answer as many questions as possible.


  16. LOL!!! I laughed so hard at the opening my tea came right out of my nose!!! I am looking at moving to Ethiopia or somewhere in Africa to teach... and after ten years in China... I think you've hit the nail on the head when you said no colonial hang ups. It would be such a change to see and learn all about a new culture!!!

    Are you in Ethiopia now? Is it possible to ask you a few questions about the availability of some Western Products?

    1. Hi Barb,

      :O) Glad you loved it. You can send me any inquiries at:


      Look forward to hearing from you.

      Warmest regards,

  17. My husband and I are moving to Addis for all of September and October and will be in need of an English speaking baby sitter/tutor for three six year old boys. We are Americans. Will be staying at the ILRI campus on Bole Road. Any help/advice?

    Email me: [email protected]

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for visiting. I've sent you an email.


  18. Hi to all!

    Im moving to South Omo in ethiopia the end of this month. my company are setting up a campus there for a minimum of 6 months. i will be flying into Addis and stayin there for a few days.

    your article was very interesting and helpful so thanks for your help and advice.

    i am 23 years old from liverpool in england and would love to meet up with a few other people n av a few drinks out somewhere. looking forward to moving here but still a bit nervous so would be good to meet some other people in the same position who are up for a laugh n help settle in nicely.

    if any1s keen email me at [email protected]

    1. sorry [email protected]

      ... not



    2. Hi Ben,

      I'm sure that you won't be short of company here in Addis Ababa and that you will still have a circle of friends (albeit a smaller one) in South Omo too.

      But, I hope that someone reads your comment here and gets to hook up with you.


  19. Hi there! Great Article! I am originally from Ethiopia but I live in Maryland. I went to Ethiopia for vacation recently and I just came from there two weeks ago. I was there for 4 weeks. I left home six years ago and it’s my first time going back home. I am so amazed and surprised by how Ethiopia has been changed so fast. I could not even able to locate some of the places. The road constructions, the new buildings, the new restaurants and so on…. just took my breath away. The country was not as good as now six years ago and it’s just unbelievable how things have been changed so fast. The country is indeed growing so fast!! I have asked myself for the first time why I left my homeland if I can get all the things this country offers me. Even if I’m from Ethiopia, needless to say, considering Ethiopia for living never came to my mind. Because, by the time I left home things were not so good. But now I am really thinking to move to Ethiopia for good. Are you still in there? Before I made my decision, I would love to learn a lot about the current situation of the country and I thought I might get a good answer for some of my questions from you. Is there a better way to keep in touch with you (may be Email address)???

    I Hope to hear from you soon!


    1. Hi Eliana,
      I'm glad you had a great time back in your home country and that you have a change of heart so soon after leaving it.

      I'll try to answer as many of your questions about Ethiopia as I can. Email me at deep.ethiopian (at) gmail (dot) com.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Thank you for visiting and regards,

  20. Thanks for your reply. I will definitely keep in touch.

    Stay Well!

  21. Hi my name is tsega I live in usa for 10 years and I have 3 kids they where born in usa and never been to Ethiopia ..I am hoping they gonna like it when they go there and I am thinking to move back to Ethiopia for good but first I want to know if is ther any good school like usa ..if you can please let me know you can email me tsega.keros @ thank you very much.

  22. Hi I am shampa From India, my husband has last week moved to Addis Abba on an official assignment for atleast two years currently hez in a hotel. Within six months we r also planning to move there. Can anyone help me with agood and reasonable house and how to get my son admitted in school in class 8th . thanks

  23. Very encouraging article, as I am heading to Addis for a three month assignment as a volunteer for an NGO. I will be there in about ten days. I am a lifelong entrepreneur and hope to bring some of my skills to help the NGO and the Ethiopian people they try to help.

    I am single and would be interested in meeting nice single expats in Addis. I am also very interested in meeting and collaborating with other entrepreneurs.

    Any thoughts? Many thanks.


  24. Btw, I can be reached at [email protected] if anyone has any insights to share with me.

    Many thanks!

  25. Hi,

    Great blog!

    Like many of the people that have posted on your blog, I will be moving to Ethiopia. I currently reside in Maryland and before I uproot myself and move to Ethiopia permanently, I would like to find employment.

    I have an MS degree in Health Sconce and Applied Information Technology- focusing on Database Management. As I am a recent college graduate, i don’t have an extensive professional work history.

    I was hoping you can inform me of any organizations in the business of health promotion that are looking to hire.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    1. Hi Feb,you can find many job infos with these sites

  26. Hey There, love you article. i am an Ethiopian dreaming to come home and raise my kids there. The problem is my husband is an IT engineer and we cant find a jobs there. any tips on company's hiring?

  27. A friend that I met in Costa Rica was telling me about Ethiopia. Do you think someone could live there on a retired military salary. How much would a furnished apartment cost a month?

    1. Hi Zero Drama,

      I'd estimate from $300 - $500. Of course it could go above or below that depending on the level of comfort you'd want. I don't know what your retirement salary is, but I'd say that anyone with $1,000 / month could live a modest bachelor's life in the middle of the city. The further you go away from Addis, the cheaper it all gets.

      Wish you luck, sir.

  28. Hai i am from India, i have got an offer to work in AASTU, but the site is not fully functional and seems to bit slow. Well do have any indian friends in ethiopia if so please mail me.

  29. It seems to me that this article is extremely useful, especially if you have long wanted to move to Ethiopia. I also advise you to look for other resources, since this information may not be enough for you to make a decision about moving to this place. I remember my experience in such matters, when my husband and I bought a house in the USA. We have been looking for various tips and information for a long time, but then we turned to the guys who make the moves They did their job qualitatively and quickly, and most importantly they gave us a lot of recommendations that helped us to assimilate in the new country and in the new house.

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