We arrived into Addis Ababa on the 26th and had an early evening. The next day we prepped for the next 9 days of driving, relaxed a little and then headed out for some very excellent traditional food and entertainment at a restaurant nearby. The food and entertainment was superb!
Before departing in the morning we needed to get a SIM card. When we arrived in Addis we figured we had all day Sunday to look after this and save time on Monday when we were heading off to Hawassa. The only telecom provider in Ethiopia is Ethio Telecom (government owned) and they are not open on Sundays. Damn! We were picked up by our Driver, Sophie, at 8:45 Monday morning and off we went to the Ethio Telecom office to get our communications lifeline organized. It was your typical government run organization and after 45 minutes of discussing our needs, a photo of me for their records, passport info and only 4 days of data (data plans work from the 1st of the month to the last day of the month, not for one month from the day you start) I left the office with 1Gb of data and was assured their network was 4G. Traffic was horrendous and this city of 7 million is very spread out and suffering the same auto pollution and traffic issues (chaos) as most African cities. It was about 10:45 when we finally hit the outskirts of town.
We had three stops planned before our final stop for the night in Hawassa.
Tiya, an ancient stelae (grave marker) site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adadi Maryam, an ancient rock-hewn church and Melka Kunture, a prehistoric tool making site. Luck wasn’t on our side. Melka Kunture was closed for “renovations” and a large funeral was being held at Adadi Maryam so we couldn’t visit that site so we had a short 1/2 visit at Tiya.
We arrived at our hotel just before sunset. We had a very late lunch so after we checked in we had a beer and some nuts, skipped dinner and decided to crash early. Hawassa is located on the shores of Lake Hawassa and our hotel room balcony had a nice sunset and early morning views of the lake.
The next morning we drove a short distance to the local fish market to check out the catch of the day then proceeded to a boat launch for a one hour “hippo viewing” tour on lake Hawassa, saw a few hippo heads and then headed back to start our journey Arba Minch, our next stop.