Traveling to what’s commonly referred to as the “capital of Africa” requires packing layers, as Addis Ababa’s high altitude results in cooler temperatures than elsewhere in Ethiopia. The bustling city serves up unexpectedly good Italian food due to an Italian invasion in the 1930s, while the surrounding area has plenty of striking natural scenery to explore by car.Most Worthwhile Day Trips
Major Highways In Addis Ababa
- Rising 3,200 meters above sea level, Mount Entoto encompasses historical as well as atmospheric significance. Entoto Hill, as it’s sometimes called, offers serene hiking among the eucalyptus trees; now empty, the former palace of Emperor Menelik II sits at the summit, where travelers can catch stunning panoramic views of Addis Ababa below.
It’s pure bliss to take the verdant 200-km drive north of Addis Ababa to the Blue Nile Gorge, a dramatic bridge that straddles the river, offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. On the way back, you can stop at Debre Libanos, a 13th-century monastery site nestled against a waterfall-rich cliff.
- Also starting in Addis Ababa and heading north, the no. 1 highway veers slightly east to pass the city of Mek’ele and makes its way past the active Erta Ale Volcano, where visitors peer over the edge of the crater to see the red-hot lake bubbling below.
The no. 3 highway starts in Addis Ababa and goes northwest to cross the Blue Nile River by the city of Dejen; it eventually tilts passes Bahir Dar and curls up around Lake Tana to run through Gondar.