Asking directions in Ethiopia

Don’t ask for help from people who approach you at bus stations, hotels, closed banks etc – they will most certainly be forcing the hotel for commission which will be added to your bill; Birr 10 to show you where the nearest ATM is in case the bank is closed etc. If you do speak to these “helpful strangers”, then don’t let them follow you around, just thank them and say that you know where the place is. Tell waiting delegations that you have the hotel booked, but don’t reveal the name – you’ll be followed and the commission will be added to your bill. Go as you know where you’re heading to and stop someone in the street if you need directions – sometimes is good to ask a few people before making your decision on where to go.

Goran Jovetic, London, UK

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One thought on “Asking directions in Ethiopia

  1. Becca says:

    I’ve been in the Addis area for four months, and have not had any problems with this sort of ‘helpful stranger’. In fact, quite the opposite – a man who approached us at a bus station, as we were looking confused and asking others for help, walked with us for 10 minutes to the correct bus station and then refused the few birr we offered him for his time. Most Ethiopians I’ve had contact with in similar situations have been very kind and helpful. Of course, I’m not on the ‘tourist circuit’ or around touristy areas, for the most part, so maybe that makes a difference.

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