The 4th largest African City, located on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains, in the geographic center of the country, the world’s third-highest capital city at 2,400 meters, wears its heart on its sleeve since it was founded by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik about 1892. “Addis,” as it’s often simply known, is the diplomatic Capital of the Continent, housing the headquarters of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA).
It is also the base city to the largest airlinein Africa connecting the African continent to the world with 125 destinations. The city is coming up as a hub of African art and fashion with several art galleries housing local paintings and fashion shows spread across the year.
Among the top spots to visit while in Addis are the Ethnological museum showcasing Ethiopia’s cultural and social history and the National museum housing the fossilized skeleton of Lucy.
There are also numerous religious monuments like St George’s Cathedral museum as well as the Holy trinity cathedral which is the burial place of those who resisted the Italian occupation of Ethiopia and the resting place of the tomb of Emperor Haile Selassie.
Addis Ababa is also the best place to taste local foods and culture from across the country, all in one place, in several local food restaurants with live cultural music and dancing.
Merkato, one of Africa’s largest open-air markets, is also found in Addis Ababa. There, you can find everything from the variety of unique spices that are used to make Ethiopian dishes to cloths and furniture all the way to used goods of any kind.
In 2014 government passed on the decision to turn The National Jubilee Palace the, house of the prime minister, and the beautiful surrounding park inside the compound into a museum. The National Jubilee Palace was built in 1955 to mark the silver jubilee of Emperor Haile Selassie. It was also in this palace that the Emperor was dethroned by the Dergue government which then used it to hold State Ceremonies. Later The Federal Republic government made it house of the Prime Minister. It is expected to be open to the public by the beginning of October 2019.
45km south of Addis Ababa is found the resort town of Bishoftu. The town consists of five crater lakes, one seasonal lake and the volcanic Yerer Mountain.
The five Crator lakes are the Green Crater lake; Lake Kuriftu, the smallest of the five and home to the beautiful Kuriftu resort and spa; Lake Bishoftu which is the second deepest lake in Ethiopia; the scenic Lake Babogaya with the area’s high end resorts spread across its parameter and Lake Hora which is the destination for the annual Irecha festival of the Oromo people.
Seasonal lake Cheleklaka is a bird watcher’s favorite with flamingos, pelicans and waterfowl often seen on it. One can also consider hikes on Yerer Mountain or horse-riding while in Bishoftu.
A must see while in Bishoftu is the newly opened, first in east Africa, water park. The park consists of a circus ground, a cultural center with 123 shops selling local items, an art gallery with a DHL office attached to ship sold items and an in-house restaurant. Between the fresh air and the constant sound of flowing water the place has an unforgettable paradisiac feel.