Luxury bus services

We’ve just had news of two companies offering luxury coach services (or what passes for luxury in Ethiopia) along several major routers. In both cases the coach are meant to provide a compromise between expensive flights and rough local buses, and they are aimed at middle class Ethiopian as much as tourists, so not madly expensive.  Both have useful websites, if you want to explore further.  

Sky Bus started up in Dec 2008 and offers services from Addis Ababa to six major cities, namely Bahir Dar, Gonder, Jimma, Awassa, Harer and Dire Dawa.

Selam Bus runs services to Bahir Dar, Gonder, Jimma, Harer, Dire Dawa, Jijiga, Dessie and Mekele, and even has an online reservation system.

Any feedback from travellers who use these services will be greatly appreciated!

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7 thoughts on “Luxury bus services

  1. Bridget says:

    Hi
    I took the Skybus from Addis to Gondar. It was brilliant. They served us coffee or tea and a muffin around breakfast time.
    The new offices (On Bole side of Meskel Sq, next to a new book world)seem to be coming along. As of August 2009 the office is in Friendship building close to the cafe. I think it’s 4th Floor. You do need to buy in advance.
    They had air conditioning and even showed a film! Far Far more impressive than the local bus.
    We arrived in Gondar by 4pm and had already dropped in Bahir Dar. I believe that both routes to Bahir Dar are now Asphalt which isn’t stated on the map in the most recent re-print.
    Thanks for the great books and site.
    Bridget

  2. Tim Weglewski says:

    I took the Selam bus from Dessie to Addis. It was recommended to me by a local who explained that the owner lived in Europe and was trying to bring “European quality” to Ethiopian busses.
    Also for me the ride was quite nice. Not faster than the other buses on that same stretch, but some drinks and snacks were indeed served, a film and music videos were showed and most importantly they have nice reclining seats.
    Perhaps not yet as good as the ones in Argentina, but certainly worth the extra money!

  3. Gustavo says:

    Somebody knows if Selam or Sky makes the route between Addis and Shashemene or Awassa?
    In that case, from Terra Station or Meskal Square?

  4. philipbriggs says:

    Sky bus booking office at Taitu Hotel. Selam bus booking office in front of railway station. Both buses actually depart from Meskal square.

  5. Gustavo says:

    Thank you.
    I have sent an email to Selam Bus about route to the south, Shashemene and Awassa, but they haven’t answered.

  6. Chuck says:

    I’ve lived in Ethiopia (in Bonga, just 3 hours past Jimma) for most of 2011 and 2012 and can share some tips:

    Both Selam Bus and Sky Bus travel the route between Addis and Jimma, but stick to no consistent schedule and frequently cancel buses the morning of departure (and expect you to just stick around for another day in Addis, as they offer no refunds). They use their most decrepit buses for this journey, but reserve their nicest buses for the North.

    In Addis: Selam’s ticket station is across from Meskel Square down an alley. Sky Bus’s ticketing is done next to Taitu Hotel in Piazza. Both buses depart from Meskel Square. Selam only departs in the morning, but you may find that Sky Bus alternately departs at 1 pm in the afternoon (as it tries to do a round-trip journey to/from Jimma).

    In Jimma: Selam’s ticket office is in same building as Central Jimma Hotel. Sky Bus office is next to Syf Hotel. Both buses depart from these ticket offices.

    I could write in which days which bus travels between Addis and Jimma and vice versa, but that information will be completely obsolete by tomorrow. I’m dead serious. Your best bet is to get to the ticket offices two days in advance and check both Sky and Selam. My guess is that these luxury buses don’t understand the first thing about customer service: that you stick to a schedule and maintain reliability and consistency over the loss of a few birr here and there. Instead they would rather inconvenience you as much as possible.

    I have to make the trip between Jimma and Addis quite often and will always try to avoid Selam and Sky bus if possible.

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