Culture, Inside Guide
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The Inside Guide III. Addis Ababa

No amount of guidebook research can replace local knowledge so FNND has asked locals about their city and how they interact with it. They live and work in the city and kindly provided their favourite spots.
This is the third in a series, with part 3 focusing on Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. The largest city in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state and is often referred to as “the political capital of Africa” due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. So meet Addis Ababa local – Heleanna Georgalis, a fervent progressive thinker who holds dear – the people, the culture and the city.

What you do for a living?

I export green and roasted coffee. I get stressed and excited.

How long have you been living in Ethiopia?

It now seems like all my life, but personally now I can say 11 years (including my first 4 years of life, when I was born and raised here until the regime brutally changed)


How did you end up there?

My paternal great uncle, had the bright idea to follow his luck in Africa instead of Australia, let us say. He came to Egypt first as a mason for the Suez Canal, and then moved literally to the middle of nowhere in Hirna, East Harar, 107 years ago, to trade coffee. My maternal grandfather moved to Djibouti and established a food trading company.


Both my parents were born in Ethiopia and the rest is history. I moved back eight years ago, and I’m very happy to have done that, as I lost my father and had to take over the business.

What do you love about Addis? Why do you love exploring it?

Addis is a gem for whoever is a food lover, art and music lover, as well as a person that enjoys cultural diversity. You have amazing painters, clothes designers that use local material, great pottery and jewellery of ethnic notes, unique Ethiopian food, Ethiopian -‘impossible to anyone Caucasian’- dancing which is called Kiskista dancing, as well as beautiful jazz – like African Village, a jazz club created by Dr Mulatu Astatke – a legend of Ethio-Jazz. What else would anyone want.

How would you sum up Addis?

Total chaos!

What’s your favourite place in the city?  What do you love about it?

Entoto mountains, that gaze above Addis. It reaches 3,200 meters above sea level and it is sometimes referred to as the “lung of Addis Ababa”. Air is fresh and clean, and you are surrounded by hills, and ancient eucalyptus trees.


The Entoto Mountains

Finish this sentence: “You can’t go home before you’ve…

Picked my amazing daughter up from her school”

Describe a perfect day in the city.

The smell and taste of good coffee, breakfast with multi-culti friends from literally the four corners of the world, driving through a city with no traffic, sun, fresh spring wind, swimming in the pool, and dinner at Sishu burger, the burgers here, unlike most in Ethiopia, are thick and juicy and not filled with breadcrumbs or odd spices. It’s by far the best in the city.

Sishu burger bar

Sishu burger bar

One piece of advice for a visitor?

There is much more than meets the eye, in EVERY possible aspect.


Flights to Addis Ababa are around four hours and you can get really cheap deals with Fly Dubai. Regular, direct flights are operated by Emirates and Ethiopian Airways


Addissinia Hotel $$
Djibouti St | Bole Sub City, Woreda 03, House No. 172, Addis Ababa 3187, Ethiopia. Tel, 00 251 91 151 1569

Sheraton Addis $$$
Taitu Street, PO Box 6002, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tel, 00 251 11 517 1717

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