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This is what you need to know about getting around Ethiopia safely.
Ethiopia has a high rate of traffic fatalities, and driving is not for the inexperienced or nervous driver. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock make driving in Ethiopia dangerous. There is also very little concern for the safety standards of vehicles in the country, which leads to further hazards on Ethiopian roads.
Ethiopian roads are poorly maintained, badly marked and have limited lighting for drivers at night.
If you choose to rent a car and drive around Ethiopia, prepare for some nerve-wracking, bumpy rides.
Avoid driving at night outside urban areas, as it can be dangerous due to broken down vehicles, animals crossing the roads, and potential roadblocks, plus the threat of armed robbery.
Be extra cautious and study the route you intend on driving before setting out to avoid any distractions. Ask locals or accommodation staff for advice on the best routes to take if offline, downloaded maps are unreliable.
Rideshare apps aren't popular in Ethiopia due to poor internet connectivity, so taxis are still one of the best ways to get around. Try to use metered yellow taxis, which are in a better condition than blue or white taxis.
Minibusses run like taxis and are a cheap and fast way to get around cities. However, they are often in disrepair and aren't the safest method of transport. Try to avoid using minibusses at night for your own safety.
Be smart if you get behind the wheel in Ethiopia. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are driving:
While traveling during the day, on paved and unpaved roads, is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts, especially along the Eritrean border.
Before you do any off-road travel in Ethiopia, it is important you ask locals authorities to ensure the area has been cleared of mines. Better yet, avoid going off-road on your own – this is best done with a reliable, trustworthy tour operator.
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