Jijiga & Tog Wajaale

Phil King writes:

We stayed in Jijiga for a night on the way to Hargeisa and again on the way back. We stayed at the Bade (sometimes spelled Bada) on the way there. We found it to be unfriendly, gloomy, badly maintained, and very poor value at 250 birr. On the way back we stayed at the Hamda Hotel, which I don’t think is mentioned in your guidebooks. OK, I’m not saying it’s the greatest hotel in the world, but for 368 birr it’s at least 3 times as nice as the Bade, and way more friendly. It’s right on the main highway between Harar and Waajaale.

Tog Wajaale (the border post) has to be one of the most miserable places I’ve ever been to. In a future edition you might want to warn readers not to accept the help of the friendly little boys with wheelbarrows who offer to carry your bags across the border. I did, and when I gave the kid 10 birr, which I thought was generous (at least by Ethiopian standards) for 15 minutes work trundling 2 small bags he demanded $10, and I had a world of hassle from a bunch of hustlers/touts in the parking lot before they allowed me to get away with paying 20 birr.

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!