How to get around Ethiopia safely

Africa is notoriously difficult to get around. The lack of infrastructure, public transport and good roads makes most of the continent a nightmare for travellers.

But that's half the challenge of being in Africa; nothing is easy and nothing worthwhile should be.

So get ready to embrace difficult roads; some of the toughest exist in Ethiopia, and some of the most dangerous. So be careful.

Hitting the Road - Ethiopia Style

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia has the highest rate of traffic fatalities per vehicle in the world.

This is mainly due to roads that are poorly maintained, badly marked and have almost no lighting when it comes to driving at night.

So if you do decide to use a car as your main mode of transport prepare for some bumpy rides and some trips that will test your nerves.

If you are thinking of travelling at night just keep in mind that outside urban areas it can be very hazardous.

Obstacles like animals, broken-down vehicles and people can just appear in front of you. There is also the threat of bandits at night. Armed robbery in a badly lit area is not a pleasant experience.

Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of adherence to basic safety standards for vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads.

So keep your wits about you, which is a good lesson for driving anywhere in Africa.

Public Transport

Public transport in Ethiopia is best described as unregulated and unsafe, which is the norm in most of Africa.

If you do decide to use public transport, then you should use taxis, not minibuses or large buses and should ensure they are the only passengers in the vehicle.

The small mini-buses used as public transport can be death traps, as you will see when you arrive.

Other Tips While Behind The Wheel

This is a region where your car can take an absolute beating. So be smart if you getting behind the wheel.

Drivers should always carry spare tires, fuel, and tools on long trips as there is no roadside assistance.

While in a vehicle, keep your doors locked and the windows rolled up at all times. Keep bags, purses, and valuables out of sight - in the trunk, on the floor, or in the glove compartment.

This extra safety measure includes not opening your doors or windows to give to beggars. This is a nasty habit that has been developed over the years and should be avoided.

Giving money to passing kids won't stop the cycle.

Just a Quick Note

While travel during daylight hours on both 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 undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines.

Get a travel insurance quote for Ethiopia

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

No Comments

Add a Comment