Addis Ababa Warnings and Dangers
Addis Abada, the capital of Ethiopia, is both the cultural and commercial hub of the country. Tourists from all over the world go to Addis Ababa to learn more about Ethiopian culture and get a taste of the delicious cuisine. Even though Addis Abada is one of the top destinations in Africa among tourists, it is always important to keep safety in mind.
Addis Abada is a fairly safe place, but you should be on the lookout for pickpockets in the market. A common tactic that pickpockets will resort to is bumping into you as a distraction so that a partner can pick your pockets for valuables. You should be prepared to encounter pickpockets in the marketplace. Carry cash and other valuables in unusual places, such as the cuffs of your pants. Make purchases quickly and move on to your next destination. One tip that is always a good idea is to “Look like you know you’re not to be messed with.” If you notice someone trailing you suspiciously, you can say “Tew” to a male or “Tay” to a female. Both words mean “Stop it” in Amharic.
In some parts of Ethiopia, males will practice public urination. This is particularly true in the countryside. Some men and boys will urinate at a nearby bush or tree. However, oftentimes, a male will simply turn their back and urinate wherever they’re standing or on the sides of roads. Public urination is common despite the toilets in many bars and restaurants. Therefore, be prepared to see men and boys urinating and public and be sure to watch your step for urine.
Cultural Show Scam
One common scam in Ethiopia that you should be aware of is the Cultural Show. This is locally known as “Fird Biet.” A child or a gentlemen will approach you and tell you that you are invited to a Cultural Show made possible by the local community. You will be told that dancers in authentic costumes will do traditional dancing, such as the snake dance. No matter how great the Cultural Show may sound, you should keep in mind that it’s a scam.
The child or gentlemen will take you to the location of the supposed Cultural Dance. You will be able to watch a few dances and then you will be offered drinks. However, at the end, you will be charged $100 or more for every person. They will demand that you pay because they were “true to their word.” If you refuse to pay for your attendance to the Cultural Show, they could become violent with you. Never agree to go to any Cultural Show in Ethiopia. Instead, you can go out to eat at a restaurant and you will get to see traditional dancing for free. If a child or gentlemen approaches you about the Cultural Show, simply say “Fird Bet.” This term means something along the lines of “appearance in criminal court.”
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Addis Abada warnings or dangers.