Back in Africa: Hong Kong to Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro

hong kong to addis ababa

Hong Kong to Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro flights

If you read Don’t Stop Living in its early days, I used to just write about exactly what I was doing, and in some kind of logical order with no frills. And despite my more recent posts on tips, advice and visa issues etc., it’s time for a return to the “old school Don’t Stop Living”. So after a busy week in Myanmar and passing through Bangkok for the umpteenth time, I made my way to Hong Kong Airport for a new adventure. I was off to Africa again. But for only the second time. This time, I felt I was slightly more worldly, eager and inspired. I got to the airport 3 hours early. I needn’t have bothered as it took an hour to queue for my Ethiopian Airlines flight direct to Addis Ababa.

arrival in ethiopia

Welcome sign at Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia.

I hadn’t planned to go to Addis Ababa or Tanzania this year, but an opportunity came up and off I went. What lay ahead would be the Serengeti, the chance to visit local schools and check out some volunteer options as well as visiting an orphanage in Arusha in Tanzania. While Tanzania blew my mind, it would have to wait. I had a four hour layover in Ethiopia, and this time, I wouldn’t be leaving the airport.

Jonny Blair in Ethiopia

The first photo of me in Africa since 2011!! Just at Addis Ababa Airport though…

The flight was your normal one to Ethiopia. Full of buoyant Africans, but I ended up sitting beside the most annoying Chinese guy ever on the flight. This dude, from mainland China didn’t eat any of his meals and left them sitting for hours. He dug his elbow into me at every given opportunity as he fell asleep like some spoilt school kid who had never been on a plane before. I guessed he was about 46. I ordered a beer, curled myself up into a ball, read up on Ethiopia and fell asleep. Arrival in Addis Ababa was calm and efficient. It was surprisingly cold and misty.

bus transfer at addis ababa

Bus transfer at Addis Ababa Airport

I had to change terminals for my connecting flight and a bus escorted me from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. No visas or passport stamps were needed of course, I was in transit. Arrival at the small lounge in Ethiopia around 7am meant doing nothing for a few hours. With no internet, I could type up some blog posts offline and sort some of my travel photos. I opted for an ice cold St. George Beer, an Ethiopian special, for $3 US not too badly priced either for an airport beer and I enjoyed my first ever Ethiopian beer. Then I was joined by an Italian guy who I gladly went halters on breakfast and another beer with.

jonny blair beer ethiopia

With Fabio my “airport buddy” at Addis Ababa having some beer and food while waiting on our connections.

He was Fabio from Milano, a travelling man with a professional career too. While he was heading to the Kenyan coast and safari for 3 weeks, I would be heading to Tanzania for 6 days then back to Ethiopia. We chatted about AC Milan, his team of choice and as we parted ways, he headed for Mombasa in Kenya, while my latest adventure was taking me to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

over africa flying

Flying over African skies

My flight was slightly delayed and as I stared out at African clouds, my heart was beating at the thought I was back in Africa for the first time since 2011. Arrival in Kilimanjaro was fabulous, and strangely the flight was FULL of tourists. It was peak season for Safari, and I was there for the same reason. I was so excited at being a guest of Shadows of Africa and just pumping. We stepped off in Tanzania and Visa formalities were about to occur.

kilimanjaro airport

Arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania! Visa time!

It was great to be back in Africa. Expect a ton more posts on this latest adventure when internet permits it!

Airports Visited – Hong Kong, Addis Ababa, Kilimanjaro

Strange Currencies – Hong Kong Dollars, US Dollars, Ethiopian Birr, Tanzanian Shillings

Nationalities Met – Ethiopian, Chinese, Hong Kongese, Tanzanian, Italian.

Key Song –

Red Hot Chili Peppers – ETHIOPIA:

3 thoughts on “Back in Africa: Hong Kong to Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro

  • I thoroughly enjoy the “old school” writing of DSL! It’s not so bad if you find a nice balance between giving advice and tips on travel while also describing some of your experiences on these adventures from time to time. Some of us might not get the opportunity to go to some of the places you visit and have to rely on these short vignettes to get a sense of what it is like – or better yet – some of us might MAKE the effort to visit these same places because of this style of writing. Hope you will consider doing more of it in the future! 😉

  • Thanks Ray – there will be a mix to come in the next few months for sure. I’m going to up my posting big time – got 29 drafts ready to go up when I get the photos and links to go with them! Cant wait. Im currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Loving it. Jonny

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