Getting to EthiopiaMost people will arrive in Ethiopia by air at the Bole International Airport. Taxis are available as well as a regular minibuses and coaches to and from the city center. The airport lies 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the city center (Addis Ababa).
Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa's best airlines with many destinations both regionally and overseas. Ethiopian has a direct flight to and from the US (Dulles International Airport in Washington DC). There's a brief stop in Rome for a change of crew, but passengers don't disembark. If you catch the new Boeing Dreamliner it's a non-stop flight.
Ethiopian Airlines also flies direct to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Rome, Paris, Dubai, Beirut, Bombay, Bangkok, Cairo, Nairobi, Accra, Lusaka and Johannesburg. The cheapest flights from Europe to Addis Ababa tend to be via Rome. Other European airlines that fly to Ethiopia include Lufthansa, KLM and British Mediterranean Airlines.
If you are planning to fly within Ethiopia, there are discounts offered by Ethiopian Airlines if you use the national carrier on your long-haul flight as well. Call the airline directly with your itinerary to find out how much you can save.
Given the security situation along much of Ethiopia's borders, it is advisable to check with your Embassy and find out which borders can be safely crossed.
The border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is still closed. If you wish to travel to Eritrea from Ethiopia (or vice versa) you will have to go through Djibouti, by land or air (see below).
You have to get a visa before you enter Ethiopia by land -- border officials do not issue visas.
The official border post between Ethiopia and Kenya is at Moyale. Getting from the border to Addis Ababa is no problem, since buses travel the route quite frequently. Getting to this border post in Kenya can be quite harrowing.
Dewele is the official border post between Djibouti and Ethiopia. Daily buses link Djibouti City to Dire Dawa (Ethiopia) and the journey usually takes about 12 hours. You change buses at the border. It is advisable to get a ticket a day in advance.
Sudan has border controls to Ethiopia at Humera and Metema. The crossing through Metema (Ethiopia) is the most popular and from there you can catch a bus to Gonder. In Sudan, travel to Gedaref and get an early morning start to the border town of Gallabat.
The route between Ethiopia and Somaliland is becoming more popular as food aid and khat trucks ply the roads. The border town of Wajaale in Somaliland has several buses running to Jijiga in Ethiopia. From Jijiga you can get transport to Harar. Check the news before you go, as attacks on this border have been known to occur.
Officially there's a regular passenger train from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa and on to Djibouti. However, the line between Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa is occasionally out of commission (things may improve in the next few years).
The train between Dire Dawa and Djibouti City takes around 14 hours. The journey is slow, often delayed and usually leaves every 2-3 days. The Lonely Planet Guide recommends you buy a first class ticket (and they don't often do that). Read an account of the train journey here.
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