by Virginia Barder
A guide to first time visitors…
- Many passports don’t need visas in advance of visiting (http://www.ethioembassy.org.uk/consular/Visa.htm) – if you arrive without a visa, follow the signs to “baggage reclaim” and you’ll come to a sign saying ‘Visa on Arrival’ and go into a little office. I had a $20 note with me – I don’t know if they accept other currency or credit cards. They say you need passport photos, but didn’t use mine. As well to have them just in case.
- You then come out the other door of the office, and then join the queue for passport control where you will get a stamp on your visa.
- You are then in the baggage hall.
- I picked up some Birr here while waiting for the baggage – I changed some cash (sterling) and don’t know if they accept credit cards here.
- There are free baggage trolleys.
- Once you have collected your baggage, you will be approached by men who look like porters, but who in fact check your baggage tags against your baggage.
- You then arrive at customs. Here you have to put all your luggage through a scanner. They are mainly checking for electronic items or other things you might be going to sell in Ethiopia.
- It says you also need to fill in currency forms here, but I didn’t have to.
- You then come out into the arrivals hall, and Owen will be found on your left in the yellow café drinking coffee and mixing with other ex pats.
(Note by Owen: many of the international hotels such as the Sheraton, Hilton, Queen of Sheba, Jupiter etc have booths after customs where you can get a hotel shuttle bus to your hotel. And there are plenty of taxis outside – the yellow taxis tend to be a bit better maintained, and bit more expensive, than the blue and white ones.)