Selam & Sky Bus to Jimma

Chuck writes:

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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4 thoughts on “Selam & Sky Bus to Jimma

  1. alistair says:

    I loved Bonga and the only drawback was the regular power cuts and the lack of running water.Well worth a visit. If you try and avoid selam and Sky who do you use?

    • chuckwriter says:

      There is a daily direct bus between Addis-Bonga that departs at 6:00am, costs 140 birr, and is typically on a “first-level” bus. The trip takes 9-11 hours. You must purchase your tickets a day in advance at either Autobus Terra Merkato (to Bonga) or Bonga Bus Station (to Addis), ideally prior to 10am. Honestly I don’t often have to conduct any business in Jimma, so don’t spend much time there, which is probably good advice to any traveler. The last time I tried to get Selam/Sky bus tickets from Addis to Jimma, Selam bus had suspended the route for 10+ days and Sky bus didn’t ply the route on Mondays. Instead I just went the local way from Merkato.

  2. Anshu Banerjee says:

    Chuck,
    If you try to avoid both buses, which one do you take to travel to Jimma? And any idea where to find a cheap car + driver for hire who can drive me to Jimma and what the cost is?
    Thanks,
    Anshu

  3. chuckwriter says:

    I apologize for missing this last post. I figured I answered the question in my previous comment. The most reliable way to get to Jimma, if you need to go on a particularly day, is to go to Autobus Terra before 10am and tell someone “Jimma.” You may end up on an official bus, or you may end up in a back alley waiting for an illegal minivan. Of course these options aren’t as “safe” as Sky/Selam bus, but this is Ethiopia, not Thailand.

    Of course, I’ve been back in the U.S. the past year and a half, so things have probably changed. I’ll be returning to Ethiopia in May and can report on what I find out. I’m sure there will be yet another new ticket office and bus terminal location for Sky and Selam buses…

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