There are some times when you need to go with your gut and not traditional wisdom. That’s exactly what I had to do when I got into a stranger’s car in Addis Ababa while I was visiting the capital of Ethiopia. Exploring Addis Ababa ended up being one of the highlights of my trip. Here is what happened:
This article is part of my Trip Report: Starting Summer in East Africa including:
Exploring Addis Ababa
After the tour I had booked to visit, the city was canceled, followed by the backup tour I booked was canceled for very sad reasons. In need of someone to show me around Addis Ababa, I enlisted the help of the hotel concierge, who was friendly and offered me a connection to someone he recommended. I agreed, but I was not expecting the day I had in Ethiopia.
I have to give a massive shout-out to Sami, who was a phenomenal guide in Addis Ababa. Thank you for taking the time to show me around and telling me some of your stories.
After getting picked up, we first visited the National Museum in Addis Ababa, which was fascinating to learn about both the history of Ethiopia and the ancient history of our ancestors. The museum was certainly interesting, but it was not a top attraction for me.
Next, we visited a small clothing market which was beautiful and cool to see. We then proceeded to drive up to Entoto Park, a gorgeous park that overlooks the city. After reaching the park and enjoying the views, we continued to explore other areas. There was archery, gocarts, a trampoline park, and even horseback riding.
We also had a look at the spa because why not. Definitely worth a treatment, given both the beauty and price (it is relatively affordable), but I wish I had time to do that.
After that, I asked Sami if he was getting hungry, thinking that I would take him out to lunch. He asked me what I wanted to eat, and I suggested authentic Ethiopian food, whatever he recommended. We went to a nearby restaurant where I had one of the most incredible meals, truly delicious, along with two of his friends.
When it came time to pay, I tried to and really insisted, but it turns out I had been dining with the manager of the restaurant, who comped our meal. This was the kindness that I experienced in throughout my time in Addis Ababa, which is incredible.
I loved every minute I was in Ethiopia. While I stayed inside Addis Ababa, which is safer relative to other more conflict-torn areas, there were people who said I should not visit. I enjoyed my time, and although I was originally somewhat hesitant, I received some of the best hospitality I have felt around the globe.
I had an amazing time exploring the city with Sami, who I keep in touch with to this day. If you are looking for a tour guide in the city, feel free to contact me (form linked below), and I will gladly connect you.
The Last Point
Say yes. Step outside your comfort zone. It is worth it, I promise.
I took a risk and said yes to exploring Addis Ababa with a complete stranger, and it ended up being one of my favorite days of the entire trip. It opened my eyes to new perspectives and led me to learn new perspectives.
When have you taken a step outside your comfort zone? Comment below!