Addis Ababa

This is a new city compared to other cities in Ethiopia. It was chosen by Empress Taytu Betul and the city was founded in 1886 by her husband, Emperor Menelik II.

One of my lasting memories of Addis is the smell of Eucalyptus trees. There was a severe shortage of fire wood soon after the Royal family settled here and the Emperor had acres of Eucalyptus trees planted.

It is the worlds third highest capital city at 2,400 metres. This is the starting point for all expeditions and if you are here for an afternoon or day there are some interesting things to see.

The mercado(market) is huge and can be a bit whiffy, but it is bustling with gorgeous women floating around in their white cotton gabbis or shamas buying and selling vegetables. There are sacks of chillies, garlic ginger and onions, reproduced Christian crosses and blaring Ethiopian music - some of which is really excellent.

Another interesting place is the basement of the Museum where the original Lucy was kept – she is no longer there, but there is information relating to our first ancestor who walked on two legs.

Try dinner at Castellis run by the same Italian family for fifty years. It has the best food and ambience to match and yes, there are photos of them standing with Angelina and Brad!

If you do wander around do not take much notice of the heckling that goes on as you will find that it is all bark and no bite. Compared to Nairobi or Johannesburg, Addis is tame and the people are fun and their spirit of life is infectious. The downside are huge numbers of loonies, polio victims, beggars and homeless children - not unlike a scene from Calcutta.



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Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
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Olly Williams

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All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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