East Africa's fresh capital of cool

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

(CNN) — Rambunctious, manic, beguiling, exciting — This specific’s hard to accurately describe Addis Ababa.

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Ethiopia’s capital, which translates as “fresh Flower” from the Amharic language, shows little sign of losing its youthful, lusty edge as well as is actually the pulsing heart of This specific eclectic nation’s resurgence among the entire world’s fastest-growing economies.

“Addis,” as This specific’s often simply known, is actually the entire world’s third-highest capital city at 2,400 meters, as well as has worn its heart on its sleeve since This specific was founded by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik about 1892.

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Life is actually lived very much outdoors on its bustling streets thanks to comfortable temperate weather boosted by months of nonstop sunshine in This specific East African destination.

“Perhaps the highest praise one can direct at This specific chaotic, contradictory as well as compelling city is actually This specific: Addis Ababa does feel exactly as the Ethiopia capital should feel — singularly as well as unmistakably Ethiopian,” says travel writer Philip Briggs.

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Here’s 10 of the best things to check out when you travel to Addis.

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

1. Black gold

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Ethiopia is actually famous for its coffee as well as Tomoca is actually one of the oldest joints in town.

East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

James Jeffrey

This specific’s impossible to separate Ethiopian culture — that will unparalleled Ethiopian-ness — by coffee.

This specific is actually the land of the finest Arabica coffee — as legend could have This specific, discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd boy as well as his goats sometime around the sixth century.

as well as Addis is actually the city of cafés, traditional coffee stalls in bars as well as restaurants, as well as women walking the streets with thermos flasks — all dispensing potent high-quality coffee.

All modes of coffee distribution are worth trying, though you may struggle to sleep for some time afterward.

One of the city’s first roasters as well as deserving of legendary status is actually the original Tomoca Coffee shop off Churchill Avenue (Tomoca, Wawel St, Addis Ababa; +251 91 122 1412).
Alem Bunna off Bole Road is actually another traditional favourite, while Kaldi’s Coffee chain offers a more modern, Starbucks-esque experience, common with hip as well as trendy young things. (Kaldi’s Coffee, Sarbet Adams Pavillion Building, Roosevelt St, Addis Ababa; +251 11 371 4258)

Extra tip: The delicious Ethiopian variation of a macchiato is actually worth a try — many foreigners confess to being unable to start their days without two of them. Or you could ask for a spriss, which is actually half coffee as well as half tea.

2, Local art as well as fashion

Addis Ababa best things art - East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Addis Ababa’s arts scene is actually thriving. Makush Art Gallery is actually a common draw.

James Jeffrey

Ethiopia’s expanding art scene is actually aptly demonstrated by the 0-plus painting collection at Makush Art Gallery off Bole Road.
Another Great spot is actually Asni Gallery as well as Café in Kebena. Many hotels, such as the Hilton as well as Radisson Blu, do a Great job of displaying impressive works by local artists.

When This specific comes to fashion, Ethiopian designers like to combine the old with the fresh as illustrated by the Mafi label of Mahlet Afework, one of the best known as well as most daring designers.

Yefikir Design specializes in Ethiopia’s traditional style of white cotton with strips of intricate colourful patterns along edges. (Yefikir Design, Africa Ave, Addis Ababa; +251 93 003 5109)

Extra tip: When This specific comes to shopping, the Mercato market — one of Africa’s largest — occupies a swathe of the city easily missed by tourists. This specific’s an eyeful to say the least, in which anything appears to be available, though This specific’s best go with an Ethiopian guide, as well as having a watchful eye on your pockets.

3. Dancing

Ethiopians are superb dancers. Regardless of age, all Ethiopians appear to relish the chance to hit the dance floor (or turn any location into a dance floor). as well as they love This specific when a foreigner joins in, or at least tries to.

At night — especially at the weekend — the city’s old central Piazza neighborhood becomes a hedonistic warren of tight alleys throbbing with neon lit bars emitting booming music styles by across the country. Ask for Jambo House or Arada if you want to see locals letting their hair down in style (the latter being particularly common with boisterous, energetic student-types)

You can’t beat finding a so-called “azmari bet” for live music as well as to witness the wild, eye-popping traditional iskista dance of the Amhara people.

The city’s evolving music scene will keep you guessing with its variety, ranging by Ethio-Jazz — the African Jazz Village bar at the Ghion Hotel close to Meskal Square offers one of the best examples of This specific Ethiopian speciality — to Amharic rap pumping out of bars as well as nightclubs. (Ghion Hotel, Ras Desta Damtew Av. Addis Ababa; +251 115 513 222)
Extra tip: The easy-to-miss Fendika asmari bet near the Radisson Blu is actually a long-time favorite, where you can also try a glass of Ethiopia’s fabled tej honey wine. (Fendika, Zweditu Street, Addis Ababa; +251 91 154 7577)

4. Ethiopian history

Ethiopians take their history very seriously, as well as they have Great reason: Ethiopia has one of the entire world’s oldest Christian traditions. This specific was one of only two African countries not colonized, plus This specific’s widely accepted that will the first humans came by the Rift Valley running through Ethiopia.

Hence, from the National Museum of Ethiopia, you’ll find the legendary Lucy, the oldest as well as most complete hominid skeleton ever discovered, which was found from the northeastern Danakil desert (an amazing travel experience itself). (National Museum of Ethiopia, King George VI St., Addis Abab; +251 11 111 7150).

Then there’s the treasure trove of the Ethnological Museum, on the Addis Ababa University main campus (Algeria Street, Addis Ababa; +251 92 074 7162), showing the full sweep of Ethiopia’s cultural as well as social history across two floors filled with all sorts of ancient artifacts, Ethiopian art as well as religious icons.

Extra tip: Addis Ababa serves as the hub of Ethiopian Airlines, which provides an excellent domestic service to visit the historic marvels around the country such as Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches as well as Harar’s ancient walled city.

5. Local food

Addis Ababa best things injera - East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Injera is actually Ethiopia’s national dish — a grey, spongy bread with vegetables as well as sauce toppings.

James Jeffery

This specific’s a rite of passage to try local staple injera — a spongy pancake-like bread piled with various meats, vegetables as well as delicious hot sauces.

Addis has several well-known traditional restaurant options, which typically also put on traditional dancing displays while you eat.

Farther by the city center is actually Totot Restaurant (+251 11 646 0718) in Mebrat Hail, specializing in kitfo, a spicy minced beef dish often praised by Ethiopian supermodels for its nutritional powers.

Extra tip: This specific’s well worth diving into any of the thousands of local eateries serving traditional Ethiopian fare — This specific’s relatively safe to go truly local as food is actually well prepared. You shouldn’t be deterred by windows full of carcasses that will accompany most local restaurants: meat doesn’t come fresher, served straight by the fire.

6. Food that will’s not injera

If you end up feeling the need for some more familiar sustenance, there are plenty of Western-styled restaurant options in Addis because of the city’s role as a diplomatic hub having a large expat community working for international organizations.

Ristorante Castelli (Mahatma Gandhi St, Addis Ababa; +251 11 157 1757) is actually one of the most famous, an Italian restaurant from the old Piazza area that will has fed royalty, film stars as well as ex-US presidents.
different restaurants frequently recommended by Addis residents include Italian restaurant Grani di Pepe (28th Roundabout Abuare, Addis Ababa; +251 93 370 6647) as well as Belgium-themed Le Grand Rêve (+251 94 670 7892).
At Sky Steak House on the 8th floor of Dreamliner Hotel you can enjoy a Great steak while watching airplanes taking off as well as landing at Bole International airport. Sichuan Restaurant (Oda Bldg. 3rd Floor; Kassanchis; +251 91 0 3926) is actually recommended for quality Chinese food.
Extra tip: If you’re simply after a Great old-fashioned burger then most say you can’t beat Sishu Restaurant (+251 92 006 1063) on Alexander Pushkin Street.

7. Sports

Addis Ababa best things sport - East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Cycling, running as well as soccer are the favorite sports in Addis.

James Jeffrey

Most weekends there’s usually a cycle race somewhere in Addis, drawing enthusiastic crowds as well as a festive atmosphere as people sit outside bars as well as cafes drinking beers under the sun.

The soccer stadium at Meskal Square is actually a raucous experience — Ethiopians are soccer mad. Any weekend bars across the city are full of impassioned Ethiopians watching the English Premiership soccer league, clasping their heads in horror or cheering the goals.

as well as of course there’s running — the Great Ethiopian Run is actually an annual 10-kilometer road-running event growing in reputation as well as popularity that will takes place in late November.

Extra tip: Ethiopian sport is actually getting more diverse all the time — rally car driving is actually taking off, with several events held throughout the year.

8. Decent accommodation

For those after sheer luxury, Sheraton Hotel (Taitu Street, Addis Ababa; +251 11 517171), built by Ethiopian billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, remains an expensive treat, occupying a parallel dimension in central Addis. Even if not staying, This specific’s worth wandering round the palatial grounds.
There’s longstanding favorite the Hilton (Menelik II Ave., Addis Ababa: +251 11 517 0000), where the journalists who camped out during former days of tumult as well as revolution are right now replaced by business folk gathering at the poolside bar as well as restaurant to thrash out deals.
If you’re after cheaper as well as more traditional, then the Itegue Taitu hotel (+251 11 1 560787), the city’s oldest, deep from the boisterous warren that will is actually the Piazza, still offers great deals. The hospitable Ghion Hotel close to Meskal Square is actually a time warp back to the 1960s with its décor as well as old fashioned manners. (Ghion Hotel, Ras Desta Damtew Ave., Addis Ababa; +251 11 551 3222)
Extra tip: Ras Hotel (Gambia St, Addis Ababa; +251 11 551 7060) occupies a superb central location on Churchill Avenue. Its patio bar as well as restaurant is actually a long established common rendezvous spot for locals, as well as a Great central spot for a pit stop when exploring the city.

9. Attractions off the beaten track

There’s bound to be a few surprises in a city of about 5 million people that will’s capital of a country having a cultural, historical as well as linguistic identity quite distinct by the rest of Africa.

You can watch the sun rise by a rocky outcrop atop Yeka hill overlooking the area of Megananya to the east of the city before visiting the nearby 700-year-old rock-hewn church of Washa Michael.

Or there’s the Horn of Africa’s first space observatory high from the Entoto hills encircling the northern reaches of the city. As well as offering great panoramic views over Addis, This specific’s an indication of how far Ethiopian development wants to go.

Extra tip: At street level, another local custom is actually the tiny juice bars dotted all over the city serving delicious mixes of freshly squeezed juices.

10. Amharic language

addis Ababa best things people - East Africa's Fresh Capital Of Cool

Learning a few words of Amharic will go a long way with the locals.

Ian Swithinbank/Flickr

Similar to dancing, Ethiopians, young as well as old, love This specific when foreigners try to speak their language. Just one word is actually usually a great way to break the ice. This specific can be a mind-bogglingly diverse country for linguists with more than 80 dialects, although in Addis Ababa, Amharic is actually the most applicable.

Here are 5 essential phrases:

Selam: Hello

Ameseginalew: Thank you

Yirkirta: Excuse me or sorry

Konjo! Beautiful (a Great word to use in reply to the many Ethiopians who will ask you how things are or how you are finding Ethiopia)

Yeut no? Where is actually …?

James Jeffrey is actually a freelance journalist based in Addis Ababa, by where he writes about Ethiopia as well as the Horn of Africa for various international media. Twitter: @jamesinaddis.

East Africa's fresh capital of cool