Adama wass the previous capital of Ethiopia’s fertile Oromia region. It is the second largest city, Adama occupies a powerful position within the country.
Adama has a vibrant community of nearly 300,000 people. Th landscape is brimming with educational, cultural, hospitality and medical facilities. The city is also defined by its significant economic development potential. There are investments being made in manufacturing, banking, agriculture, tourism and especially wind energy production. Additionally, it serves as a critical transportation hub for the region. It is situated on the road that connects Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa to the river city of Dire Dawa.
Adama is spread across nearly 30 square kilometers. It is located directly west of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley. Adama is approximately 90 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.
The city enjoys close proximity to a number of different tourist destinations. They include Awash National Park, Lake Zewaye, Sof Omar Caves (soon to be a registered UNESCO site) and Dill Fekar Regional Park.
Residents of Adama are hospitable, friendly and proud of their diverse, multi-cultural community. Citizens value historical traditions, family life and cultural celebrations such as marriage.
Getting to Adama in Ethiopia
Adama lies approximately 100 km southeast of Addis Ababa, along the main highway that leads to Djibouti via Dire Dawa. If coming from Addis Ababa, it's probably better to ask the best way to go to Adama at the place where you stay. This is because the buses no longer depart from Le Gare in downtown.
The main southern/eastern terminal is inconveniently located in Kality suburb 10 km from the downtown. This is still far from the southernmost LRT station of the same name. It is more than half an hour and 15 birr (2019) by very crowded minivan from the city center. If you want to go faster probably get a taxi for at least 300-350 birr.
When going from Adama, you're likely to be asked where are you going to in Addis. The places offered, e.g. Megenagna, are both much closer to the city center and near the LRT station. The trip from the Kality bus terminal to Adama was 50 birr (2019), while the return trip to Megenagna was 60 birr.
The buses do not follow a strict timetable. Generally the driver waits for the entire bus to fill with passengers. This means that buses leave at least once an hour or less in case of a minibus.
Make sure the bus/minibus you're going to take is "Express". This means it goes non-stop via the toll road connecting Addis Ababa and Adama. This way, 80 km trip between Addis outskirts and Adama will take just over an hour. However, the traffic in Addis could easily double that.
On arrival to Adama, the minibus will likely stop a few times on the main road offloading some of the passengers. This is before turning to the right at the town center. You will need to choose the stop nearest to the place/area where you intend to stay. This is because the bus terminal is a few kilometers away from the center.
The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway runs through the city, with daily trains in both directions.
Sights and Landmarks in Adama Ethiopia
Not far from Adama you can enjoy the amazing hot springs of Sodere. There rea two naturally heated pools here. Sneak a look at crocodiles basking in the sun and Colobus monkeys jumping from tree to tree.
More wildlife can be found at the nearby Awash national park. An impressive volcanic mountain also rests beside Adama’s big mountain of Fantale. Adama is perfectly suited for a day to a week’s getaway from the bustle of Ethiopia’s capital.
Where to Stay in Adama
Many inexpensive guesthouses are available in the side streets off the main road. There are quite a lot of them signposted in English and/or may be found via Google Maps. You may have to walk around a bit if arriving on a weekend. This is when many people from Addis Ababa come to Adama. The price asked for a clean room with hot shower and old TV in a nice (for a guesthouse) building was 250-300 birr. Some of the the lodges include:
Caneth Rift Valley Hotel
It is found along the Addis Ababa-Dire Dawa Road in a modern, multi-level building. It shows signs of wear (in the plumbing, specifically). The garden 'suite' rooms are newer and quieter. There is a restaurant and outdoor dining area as well as a small cafe, with a large courtyard in the middle (suitable for weddings, banquets, etc.) The hotel is located across from a filling station where the truck traffic can be noisy at times. As of 2019, a room with accommodations for two persons cost approximately US$30 to US$35 per night.
Safari Lodge Adama
This is a few blocks south of the Addis Ababa-Dire Dawa Road.It is a fairly new hotel, and good value by Western standards. The well-kept rooms are situated around a lush courtyard with a swimming pool and observation tower. A two-room suite with a double-bed cost approximately US$26.00 per night. A full dinner in the hotel restaurant cost US$3 to US$6 per person.
Executive Adama Hotel
It is along the Addis Ababa-Dire Dawa Road. Large, modern hotel, built in 2009. It is located near the base of the cliff at the western edge of the city. As of 2010, the hotel had good service and a good restaurant, with internet connections in each room.
La Residence Hotel
It is found on Peacock Road, Adama. A lot of time and effort was invested into making this a smart traditionally styled hotel. It has faded somewhat since it was built. It is rarely busy, you could be alone there. Electricity and internet can be intermittent. However, it remains a comfortable place to stay. It is one of the few hotels that can be booked online.