On February 12th, I left Accra en-route to Nairobi to work on a project by Blogging Ghana on Ethiopian Airways with a 3hr lay-over in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
We touched down at Bole International Airport (formerly known as Haile Selassie I International Airport) at approximately 20:45 GMT+1 local time.
I was very impressed with the clean nature of the airport and how the security guards were available to assist with any questions ranging from transfers/transits to baggage area. Although I had heard that Bole international airport is one of the busiest airports in Africa, I was totally unprepared for the scene that greeted me.
Upon getting to passport control, I saw a crowd of Muslim women and children queued up and chattering in Amharic (a language spoken in Ethiopia) and I asked where they were going and was told, Jeddah a city in Saudi Arabia.
I arrived at the point where the scanners were installed. I passed through without any beep from the metal detectors. Afterward, I located Gate 7 where my onward flight to Nairobi was waiting for boarding. I presented my boarding pass to the airport official at the counter who looked at me and said; â€œSorry Ghana was booted out of the tournamentâ€¦â€ I laughed at that comment and just waited for him to be done with my passport and boarding pass.
The flight was on time so, I decided to stick around so as not to miss it. Upon settling on those metallic airport chairs, I started searching for free wireless link. Luckily, I found ADDIS-ABABA-BOLE network which was free and open to the public.
Started checking my email and was on Skype for about 3mins when I overheard from the PA Systems, â€œPassengers to Nairobi, weâ€™re ready for boardingâ€¦â€ Quickly, I had to shut everything I was doing and proceed to the bus on the terminal.
Observations at Bole International Airport:
- Bole International Airport is the larger of the two international airports located in Addis Ababa, the second being the Lideta Airport.
- Theyâ€™ve implemented a 2D bar-coded boarding passes for all international and domestic flights.
- The airport officials use Amharic as a first language before English but surprisingly, I saw a couple of notices on the walls in only Amharic.
- Most of the Policemen at the airport were yielding machine guns as compared to Ghana where the AK 47â€™s arenâ€™t even loaded with bullets.
With my constant jet-setting within Ghana (on the Accra â€“ Takoradi â€“ Accra route) I have always been very careful when it comes to smaller planes. Upon know that, our onward flight to Nairobi will be via a smaller plane, I became nervous but kept praying for us to get to our destination safely which we did eventually.
Within a couple of minutes, we were air-borne heading to Nairobi.
The noise from the propellers of the plane coupled with the heat from the inside of the plane made me stuck my ear-phones into my ear and started listening to some Azonto music.
Traveling in Africa can be scary, exhausting and fun at the same time but worth the experience.
Ever been to Addis Ababa? What was your experience like? Do you mind sharing in the comments section?