Visas on arrival – tentative good news

I’ve just heard from two reliable local sources, one working in tourism and the other with the government, that according to the immigration department, a 3-month single-entry visa should be available on arrival at US$70 (as opposed to US$50 for the 30-day visa) starting today (28 Jan 2015).

I would not recommend that anybody rely on this information until it is verified. However, if anybody flying into Addis Ababa is able to verify or refute it by checking with the visa desk at the airport arrivals hall, that would be most useful – please comment below!

Visa extensions

John writes:

You have certainly heard that visa procedures have been toughened.  It now costs USD 50.- to have the visa delivered
upon arrival at the airport, and only one month visas are issued. (see also https://bradtethiopiaupdate.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/visa-on-arrival/)

I do not know what the normal procedure for extension is – queuing up endlessly at immigration? – but the procedure if you overstay is complicated. You first have to go to immigration to state that you overstayed, then you have to appear in front of a magistrate who will decide upon the fine, usualy 20-25 USD (though I was told that an Italian fellow who had seriously overstayed was fined 500 USD) and you will have to pay an additional 100 USD to get a one-month extension.

Fire at Itegue Taitu Hotel

We were saddened to hear the the historic old main building of the Itegue Taitu, the oldest hotel in Addis Ababa, and the most characterful, was partially destroyed by fire over the weekend – see http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/travel-and-tourism/2015/01/12/Fire-guts-Itegue-Taitu-Hotel-Ethiopian-hotel-made-famous-by-scoop-.html.

Our understanding is that the bedrooms on the 1st floor of the main building, the roof, many historic pieces and a bank office were completely lost to the fire. The Jazz Amba club was also completely destroyed.

However, the two outbuildings that house most of the accommodation were unaffected and we’ve heard reliably that these rooms are still functional. Reception is still operating out of the left hand side of the old main building, and the ground floor restaurant in the main building reopened on 14 Jan. .

For further details see http://taituhotel.com

Hopefully the rest of this lovely old building will be restored in due course!

Trip report December/January 2014/15

Franka writes:

I would like to share some advise and news from Ethiopia where I spent a couple of weeks between December and January 2015.

Addis Ababa
I would not recommend the Itegue Taitu hotel. The single room was quite dirty and with no hot water.

Gondar
I would recommend Michael Hotel. It is clean, there is a wifi free, hot water and a fair price (300 birr for a room with twin bed)
I would not recommend the tour operator “Siemen_Trekking”, especially to a single traveller women.
Generally speaking, Gondar was the only place in ethiopia, where I didn’t feel safe.

Mekele
I would not recommend the Atse Yohannis Hotel. I spent there two nights, in two different room, and both where not so clean, very old structure. I also had a reservation but they completely ignore it and I had some problem in finding an available room.

ETT Tour Operator is good, altought we had a problem with the car (air conditioning) while we were travelling towards Erta Ale. Be sure the driver will check the air conditioning system before leaving Mekele and always ask for the newest model of jeep (there are more then one).

Lalibela
We had a reservation at Alef Paradise. Altought the reservation was reconfirmed the day before our arrival, when there, there was no room available. Had to change place, stayed in The Villa guesthouse. Very Good accommodation.

Wanza and Bata Hotels, Addis Ababa

Frank writes:

1. The WANZA HOTEL has been demolished…… New mall going up on the site.

2. A good new recommendation is the BATA HOTEL. Addis lacks decent hotels in the 45$ bracket. BATA is 4 months old.. Lovely rooms from $45 to 80. Because its new and not yet well known prices may be negotiable…

Great family apartment for 80$ with double bedroom, twin bedroom, lounge, bathroom, kitchen.
Spacoius restaurant upstairs. Reception upstairs 5th floor i think.

Hotel is on Haile Gebre Sellassie Ave inside the BATA BUILDING opposite Rebecca Bdg Mall and new Debra Damo Hotel block.
When the light railway is finished next year it is 200 metres from Axum Hotel station so 10 mins in to Maskal sq.