Yohannes Palace in Mekelle

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

ICES20 logo

Travel Information

Mekelle City view
View of Mekelle town from outside of the conference venue

  1. Bus Services (Shuttles) information
  2. Hotels and Pensions
  3. General Travel Guidance
  4. Money Matters

1. Bus Service (shuttles) from the Airport/Town to the Conference Venue

There will be a free bus service (shuttles) with the following schedule. The pick-up spots and ESTIMATED times are as follows. Alternatively, from airport to town, you could also take airport taxi (200 birr from airport to town) or line taxi (4 birr from the road outside the airport to town) or hotel’s transportation service (in case of high-grade hotels). From town to the conference venue, you could also take bajaj (around 50 birr for the locals) or line taxi (3 birr from town, ask a MU staff for directions). If you are taking bajaj from town, please be sure to say “Arid” campus, as there are several MU campuses in town.

From town to conference venue

No.Pickup SportsMorning Pickup timeAfternoon Pickup Time
1Milano Hotel8:10am1:30pm
2Hatsey Yohanes Hotel8:13am1:31pm
3Post office/ Hawzen square8:15am1:32pm
4Juburik Dashen Bank8:17am1:35pm
5Red Cross office8:20am1:37pm
6Sheba college/Mekelle Commercial Bank8:23am1:40pm
7REST (Relief Society of Tigary)8:25am1:42pm
8Axum Hotel8:25am1:42pm
9Noble House8:28am1:46pm
10Debre Amo Guest House8:30AM1:48pm
11Endayesus Campus8:45am1:55pm
Please note that these are ESTIMATED times, and is subject to variation.

From town to conference venue

2. Hotels and Pensions

Pensions and hotels of middle to high level are available in Mekelle and surroundings. Please find a partial list of hotels and pensions below.

  1. Each participant is requested to manage his/her hotel reservation. If you need assistance, we may refer you to a private travel agent.
  2. The rate is written in terms of USD, but hotels basically accept payment in Ethiopian Birr. US Dollar/Euro/British Pound can be exchanged to Ethiopian Birr in sevaral banks in Mekelle. Some other currencies (AED, CAD, CHF, DJF, DKK, JPY, NOK, SAR, SEK, ZAF) can also be exhanged to Ethiopian Birr at the main branch of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in Mekelle.
  3. In some of the cheaper hotels, separate fee may be required for breakfast/airport shuttle.
  4. Regarding the payment by credit card, the availability may change over time, so the participants themselves are advised to check with the hotel if needed. Althogh credit card payment is usually available in high-end hotels, it is generally better to prepare payment by cash.
  5. As cheaper hotels may not be experienced in managing reservations well in advance, it is recommended to confirm the reservation with the hotel/pension towards the start of the conference (such as 1-2 weeks before the conference).
  6. Some of the cheaper hotels may not be regularly checking their emails. Thus, if you do not get a response from them, we advise you to call them.


(*/**: Committee recommendation)
PhoneEmailShuttle pick-up
1 Planet International Hotel
  • Airport shuttle
  • Breakfast
  • Gym and Swimming pool
80-110 USD
80 Rooms
reservation@planetinternationalhotel.com (take bajaj or line taxi to Post Office)
2 Axum Hotel**
  • Airport shuttle
  • Breakfast
  • Gym and Swimming pool
Qebele 17 30-80 USD
180 Rooms
axum.d@ethionet.et, axum.n@ethionet.et Y
3 Hatsey Yohanes Hotel**
  • Airport shuttle
  • Breakfast
Qebele 14 (Opposite Yohannis the IV palaces ) 38-79 USD
49 Rooms
Fax: +251-344-40-67-61
info@hatseyyohanneshotel.com, booking@hatseyhohannes.com Y
4 Ze Yordanos**
  • Breakfast
  • Airport shuttle
Qebele 14 40-50 USD
25 Rooms
+251-344-41- 37-22 yordares@yahoo.com (at Hatsey Yohannes hotel)
5 Desta International Hotel*
  • Breakfast
  • Airport shuttle
Addi Hawsi 55-100 USD
32 Rooms
reservation@destainternationalhotel.com(Take line taxi to sheba college/Mekelle commercial bank
6 Zemarias Hotel**
  • Breakfast
  • Airport shuttle
Qebele 16 55-80 USD
25 Rooms
(at Red cross office)
7 Northern Star International Hotel
  • Breakfast
  • Airport shuttle
Addi Hawsi 40-70 USD
48 Rooms
Northernstarhotel27@gmail.com(Take line taxi to sheba college/Mekelle commercial bank)
8 Milano Hotel
  • Breakfast
Qebele 08 20-40 USD
100 Rooms
9 Hilltop Hotel* Qebele 08 20-30 USD
50 Rooms
+251-344-40-56-84 (Take line taxi to Milano hotel)
10 Castle Hotel**
  • Breakfast
Qebele 17 23-45 USD
24 Rooms
+251-344-40-65-55 (go to the Commercial bank)
11 Yoha Hotel*
  • Breakfast
Qedamay weyyane, Qebele 09 20-30 USD
24 Rooms
info@yohahotel.com, abelhai2005@yahoo.com(at The Noble House)
12 The Noble House
  • Breakfast
  • Airport shuttle
Haddennet, Qebelel 17 50-90 USD
32 Rooms
13 Moringa Hotel* Qedamay weyyane, Qebele 09 20-30 USD
29 Rooms
moringa.hotel.mekelle@gmail.com(at Milano Hotel)
14 Zema Hotel* Qebele 16 15-18 USD
20 Rooms
+251-342-41-84-85 (at Romanat square)
15 Misgana Hotel Addi Hawsi, Opposite to Northern star hotel 20-35 USD
24 Rooms
(Take line taxi to sheba college/Mekelle commercial bank)
16 Seti Hotel Qebele 14, Bazara Square 10-18 USD
60 Rooms
(at Hatsey Yohannes hotel)
17 Milina Pension Haddennet, Qebele 17 14-20 USD
21 Rooms
milinapension@gmail.com, fisseha16@yahoo.com(at Axum hotel)
18 Romadi Hotel*
  • Breakfast
Qedamay weyyane, 19 (Near commercial bank) 25-35 USD
21 Rooms
+251-342-41-70-10 romadihotel@yahoo.com(at the Commercial Bank)
19 Genfel Hotel* Qedamay weyyane, 16 (Djiburuk) 28-20 USD
39 Rooms
genfelhotel39@gmail.com(at Redcross office)
20 Momona hotel Qebele 19 (Djiburuk) 15-20 USD
19 Rooms


(*/**: Committee recommendation)
PhoneEmailShuttle pick-up
1 Hatsey Pension* Qebele 15 15-20 USD
18 Rooms
(at Hatsey Yohannes hotel)
2 Caleb Pension/hotel Qebele 08 (Old bus station) 15-20 USD
21 Rooms
3 Rodas Pension* Qebelel 17 (near REST) 10-18 USD
16 Rooms
+251-914-50-56-56 (at REST/Axum hotel)
4 Sayzana Pension Haddennet, Qebele 17 15-20 USD
30 Rooms
(at REST/Axum hotel)
5 Union Pension Qebele 14 (Bazar area) 10-15 USD
16 Rooms
(at REST/Axum hotel)
6 Abebu Pension Qebele 14 (Bazar area) 20-25 USD
16 Rooms
(at Hatsey Yohannes hotel)
7 Debre Amo Hotel** Qebele 08 35-150 USD
14 Rooms
debreamo6@gmail.com, debreamo6@yahoo.comY
8 Tekeze Pension Qebele 19 (St. Micheal church) 20-25 USD
21 Rooms
(at Milano hotel)
9 Victoria Pension Qebele 19 (St. Micheal church) 8-15 USD
15 Rooms
+251-938-79-72-91 (at Milano hotel)
10 Yetebaberut Pension Qebele 17 (near Castle Hotel) 15-20 USD
12 Rooms
+251-932-03-85-65 (at the Commercial bank)
11 Witney Pension Qebele 01 (Near Bazar) 10-15USD
29 Rooms
(at Hatsey Yohannes hotel)
12 Bamin Pension Qelqel Debri 9-23 USD
13 Rooms
+251-914-72-55-77 (take line taxi to town and go to the Commercial bank)

3. General Travel Guidance

3-1. Travelling to Mekelle city

Mekelle can be reached from Mekelle Airport (1 hour flight from Addis Ababa, around 150 USD/round-trip) or by bus (1 - 2 days from Addis Ababa depending on the grade). Each participant is expected to make their own travel arrangements. Your domestic airfare from Addis Ababa will be substantially discounted if you fly into Ethiopia by Ethiopian Airlines. Also, there is a discount of 15% if you purchase the domestic ticket on-line at Ethiopian airlines website. Although we will not have chartered flights, we may be able to increase the number of flights to Mekelle near the conference date. Thus, if you have problem obtaining the ticket to/from Mekelle, please inform the organizing committee at ices20additional.

Many of the good hotels have shuttle services from/to the airport, so please directly inquire the hotel. The contract taxi from the airport to Mekelle town is 200 Birr. As foreign currency exchange is NOT available at Mekelel airport, we recommend you to get Ethiopian birr in Addis Ababa airport.

3-2. Vaccination

Yellow Fever vaccination certificate may be checked if you arrive to Ethiopia from "countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (more than 12 hours of stay)." For details, please refer to http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf (WHO). Mekelle has the altitude of around 2000m, and Malaria prevention is generally not needed. If possible, rabies vaccination may be recommended, as modern vaccines are generally not available in Mekelle, or sometimes even in Addis Ababa. (Old style post-exposure anti-rabies vaccine (nerve tissue vaccine administered over the abdomen, requiring 14 days of consecutive treatment and total of 17 shots) is readily available in Mekelle hospital.)

3-3. Weather

The weather in Mekelle at the conference time is comfortable. During the daytime, there will be a strong sunshine, and you may feel quite warm (one layer of light long-sleeved clothing would be suitable). On the other hand, during the nighttime, it becomes a bit chilly, and it would be a good idea to bring some jacket or cardigan. Rainfall is usually not expected at this time.

3-4. Power plug sockets

The majority of the plug type is “Type F” as listed in http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com. (The same ones as the ones usually used in continental Europe.) However, in some of the older buildings, you may also find “Type C” (thinner rods and further distance between the rods than "Type F". In more expensive hotels, adapters for different plug shapes are generally available. The adapters can also be easily obtained in town, but the quality (such as how well it fits) may vary.

Common plug socket type in Ethiopia (Type F)
The most common power plug socket type (Type F)

3-5. Security

The general security situation in Mekelle is very good, and good in Addis Ababa. In Mekelle, it is safe to walk outside alone or take public transportations during daytime. At nighttime before 9 p.m., it is okay to walk outside alone in busy streets or take public transportations. Generally locals recommend avoiding walking outside alone after 9 p.m. or taking bajaj (three-wheeled small car) alone at nighttime.

3-6. [IMPORTANT] Special attention to peole flying out of Mekelle airport

Mekelle airport STRICTLY enforces the security check of making sure that electronic equipments such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops CAN BE STARTED. At the security check point at the entrance of the airport, each of you will be asked to start these equipements in front of the security officer. If these machies cannot be started due to ANY reasons (including lost/broken adapters or broken machines) YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO ENTER INTO (and therefore fly out of) MEKELLE AIRPORT. Therefore, please make sure that you do not forget bringing your adapters. If your electronic equipements become disfuctional during the confernece, we recommend that you make arrangements to trasnprot your equipment by some other means (such as by bus to Addis or by shipment) WELL IN ADVANCE.

Also, according to our experience, Mekelle airport security sometimes asks questions on large amount of money (or many sheets of paper which could be mistaken as money via X-ray machine), though this usually does not seem to create a problem.

4. Money Matters

4-1. Foreing currency exchange

Euro, US Dollar and British Pound can be exchanged into Ethiopian Birr in Addis Ababa airport, many banks in Mekelle, through some ATMs, and in some hotels. There is no currency exchange desk in Mekelle Airport, so you should exchange your money in Addis Ababa airport if your hotel does not have airport shuttle service. Some other currencies (JPY, CHF, SEK, NOK, DKK, DJF, CAD, SAR. AED, ZAF) can also be exchanged in limited branches of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. (Confirmed as of Sep 2018 for JPY: Airport in Addis Ababa, Main Brach in Addis Ababa, and Main Branch in Mekelle.) Please also note that it is extremely difficult to change Ethiopian Birr back into foreign currencies. Foreign currencies are only accepted in some of the hotels but generally not in restaurants/shops in Mekelle. As ICES20 organizing committee does not have the license to handle foreign currency exchange, we ask the participants to prepare the registration fee in Ethiopian birr, if paying directly in Mekelle.

4-2. Usage of credit cards

Most shops, restaurants and hotels only accept payments in Ethiopian Birr (cash). Some hotels do accept credit card (VISA) payments (please inquire the hotels), but please beware that sometimes Credit Card payments may not work due to electricity/network issues. There are several ATMs in Mekelle, where you can withdraw cash using VISA credit cards, but the availability is inconsistent due to electricity/network issues. In Mekelle, Citibank card can be used in Wegagen Bank ATM near Yohannes Palace (but NOT in other Wegagen Bank ATMs.), but again, availability is inconsistent (Citibank card usage only confirmed as of September 2015). Traveller's Checks are not accepted.