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Dec 15, 2021

Awasa (also Awassa or Hawassa) is in Southern Ethiopia.

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Awasa is on the eastern shore of Lake Awasa and is a growing resort town with two luxurious resorts directly on the lake, and a large number of cheap and middle priced hotels. In 2013, many of the streets in Awasa and the walking path on the lake were fixed up with cobble stone, and there is a growing number of good cafes, small bars, and good Ethiopian and European restaurants. Tourism here is mostly local, but Awasa is also a common stop for Cairo-to-Cape Town travelers and foreign tourists.

It is home to renowed Hawassa university.

Map of Awasa

Awasa is 5 hours by road from Addis Ababa.

Sky Bus has good and relatively modern Neoplan buses, and runs from Meskel Square in Addis Ababa every day (except Mondays) around 13:00h for 149 birr for a one-way trip. Buy tickets a day or two before you leave as they often sell out for the day. Get them at the Sky Bus office at Taitu Hotel or on Meskel Square. The bus often leaves late, so expect to arrive around 21:00 or later in Awasa.

Another option is to take Selam bus (Yutong bus) that runs every day and costs 145 Birr. If you want to do this, you should buy (a) ticket(s) in advance at Meskel Square (opposite to the huge parking lot). The trip takes about 5 1/2 hours.

There are also many village buses running between Awasa and surrounding towns, including to Addis Ababa, all day long. They are usually faster and leave whenever they have enough passengers, but they are also less safe.

Awasa is a small town and walking is the best way to get around. The town center is Piazza Road that goes from the shore of Awasa Lake eastwards. There is Dashen Bank (Visa and MasterCard ATM) and many hotels and restaurants on Piazza.

If you need transportation, there are countless blue motorbike rickshaws everywhere in town and a ride should never cost more than a few Birr.

  • 7.0538.4333331 Hippos in Lake Awasa (Walk Piazza Rd to the lake, there are plenty of boats that carry tourists to see one of the Hippo groups.). The tours seem popular with locals and foreign tourists alike. If you are lucky, you see many hippos, or you may just see their ears if they are resting. Its about 500 Birr for a boat (as of 2013), but you can fit several people to share the cost. Alternatively, if you have the time, sit on a quiet spot next to the lake, sometimes the hippos come over for food.  

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