Roads are bad, but there is a good internal flight system.
Credit cards are normally accepted in the Hilton and Sheraton hotels only. You’ll need dollar travellers cheques and cash.
Communications are OK, but email is limited. There are not enough phone lines to meet demand so there is a waiting list of up to four years nowadays!
Sockets are two round pin similar to European type. Power supply is supposed to be 220/240V, but rarely at that level and often with huge fluctuations which can blow equipment.
The postal service for letters seems reliable, but parcels often go astray or are held by Customs.
Begging can be stressful – it is very common all over Addis and serious disfigurement among beggars is not uncommon.
The weather consists of sunshine generally from October to May. High altitude can cause problems for some people, especially those taking larium. Malaria tablets are not needed in Addis – only if travelling outside. The rainy season can make travel outside the city difficult.
For those coming on longer term assignments Customs can be difficult and slow. This city doesn’t really have an address system. (Which is why only phone numbers are given below.)
At the moment [January 2014] the rate of exchange is £1 = 29 birr as a guideline. The birr is a non-convertible currency.
Top end – Hilton (518400) & Sheraton (171717): approx US$100+ single.
Cheaper – Axum (613916) & Ras Amba (556634): approx Birr 100 single.
There are lots more and rates vary enormously even at the hotels named, where one can negotiate depending on status.
Castellis, Italian (111058); Blue Tops, Italian (550934); Le Petit Paris, French (204880); Sangams, Indian (518976); Shanghai, Chinese (655290). Costs around 50-100 birr per head without imported wine.
Supply of goods can be intermittent, but most basics are available.
Tennis, swimming, very limited cinemas, no library except British Council and generally facilities are non-existent.
Caledonian Society, Hash House Harriers at Hilton on Saturday pms, Historical Society & Horticultural Soc c/o Elizabeth Asfaw (164045)
All contact details correct as of original date of publication