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


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 Hawassa university.

Get in

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.

Get around

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.



Bicycle ride around the lake.


Monday is market day.


The better hotels also have some of the best restaurants in town.


Where Piazza Rd meets the Lake, there is a number of small bars with chairs on the street and music. Some also have fried fish, fresh from the Lake. Great to sit outside in the evenings and see the sunset over Lake Awasa. A half liter St George draft beer is 10 Birr (as of 2013).


Awasa has many hotels of various standards, from the very basic for around 50 Birr to up to the luxurious Haile Resort and the Lewi's Resort. Rooms in the best hotels typically cost $50-70 per night, rooms in good traveler hotels with a bed and a shower are between 100 and 150 Birr (as of 2013). If you come on Sky Bus from Addis Ababa, it will not stop at the bus station, but on Piazza Rd. There are some good and cheap (around 100 Birr) and medium priced hotels close to the bus stop. (as of 2013)

Go next

Awasa is less than an hour by bus to Shashemene (known for its Rastafari settlement). Every morning (except Sundays) at 6:30h Sky Bus leaves Awasa Bus Station to Meskel Square in Addis Ababa. There are daily buses to go to Arba Minch, another resort town famous for its two lakes. Wondo Genet is east of Awasa and south of Shashemene.

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