Tips for Traveling to Ethiopia and Gondar, our sister city.
Fasil Castle, Gondar
Visas: For information on visa requirements and to download a visa application, please visit the Ethiopian Embassy website (here). https://www.passportsandvisas.com/embassy-consulate/ethiopia
International Air Transportation:
There are many airlines for travel to Gondar, Ethiopia, to mention a few: United-Lufthansa, American, British Air, and Ethiopian. All flights enter from the United States into Addis Abba, the main capitol. Once customs check is completed there, it is only a short connecting flight into Godar. all fly into Budapest, Hungary, which is the closest major airport to Uzhhorod. You may check two bags. Place legible address labels inside as well as outside your luggage. Lost or delayed luggage is not uncommon — be sure to have essentials and a change of clothes in your carry-on.
In the Addis Abba airport baggage claim area, you may want to exchange a small amount of money for birr (the exchange equivalent for the dollar in Ethiopia). In most cases, prior arrangements can be made for pick-up in the Gondar airport with the local hotels and lodges.
Gondar continues to grow at an exponential rate and so do hotels. Our lodging experiences have largely centered on hotels near the center of town. Lodge du Chateau can offer groups and delegation rates, and has been a more frequently used option, with a long-term relationship made over the years with its owner, Seyoum. Other options are the Goha Hotel (a distance from downtown, but with an amazing view of the entire city, high on a hilltop), Halie Resort Gondar (centrally located in the center of Gondar), Inn of the Four Sisters and Taye Bekay Hotel (on the more expensive side).
Ethiopia and Gondar are known for its history. In Gondar (once the capital city of Ethiopia), visiting the Fasil Ghebbi Castle and palace compound is a must, along with Debre Birham Selassie Church, Fasilides Bath House, and the Ploughshare Women’s Handmade Gifts and Training Center. Other cities worth visitng are Bahir Dar and its neighboring Lake Tana, Lalibela and its distinctive12th-13th century rock-cut churches (carved from the underground), the Blue Nile River, Axum,known for its tall carved obelisks, and Addis Abba and its National Museum which houses the remnants of the first discovered humanoid, Lucy. A distance from Gondar but worth a day hiking in the Simeon Mountains (plan a guided tour) will connect you with nature and the wonderful animals of the baboons, unique to the area.
There are state-approved taxis in large cities such as Addis Abba. You are always advised to use caution when choosing transportation and our experiences have always relied on our friends to guide us in our trvel options. For the most part, small three wheeled taxis called “bajabs” or “tuk-tuks” are the most inexpensive and most used form of transportation, but they are limited to 2-3 riders because of their smallness. Vans, called the blue donkeys, are an alternative but you need to know the routes of the various parts of toen so you can choose the correct van. Always check with your hotel and staff for safe ways of travel.
Gondar is primarily a cash economy, although most restaurants and retail shops are beginning to take credit cards. There are ATMs throughout the city. It is easy to change dollars into local currency, birr, as long as the bills are crisp and clean and have no marks or tears. Inflation is a problem, so it is best to only exchange currency for a couple of days at a time.