Adama was renamed Nazret or Nazreth after Nazareth, the childhood hometown of Jesus, in the 1940s. Its name reverted to Adama in 2000, but is still also known as Nazareth. It served as the capital of the Oromia region for a few years, until Addis Ababa, also known as Finfinne, became the capital of Oromia again in 2005.

Being at 1600 m altitude (750 meters lower than Addis Ababa) in the middle of the Rift valley, Adama is significantly warmer than Addis and other parts of Ethiopian highlands. It is also much drier due to the location between two mountain ranges, with many sunny days even in the middle of the rainy season. The resulting climate is quite pleasant, with daytime temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and nights at around 15 degrees year round.

Get in

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, as the buses no longer depart from Le Gare in downtown (like some older guidebooks say), and the main southern/eastern terminal is inconveniently located in Kality suburb 10 km from the downtown (and still far from the southernmost LRT station of the same name) – more than half an hour and 15 birr (2019) by very crowded minivan from the city center, but “probably at least 300-350 birr” by taxi. When going from Adama, you’re likely to be asked where are you going to in Addis – and some 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, though usually this means that buses leave at least once an hour (less in case of a minibus). Make sure the bus/minibus you’re going to take is “Express” – which means it goes non-stop via the (nice) toll road connecting Addis Ababa and Adama. This way, 80 km trip between Addis outskirts and Adama will take just over an hour – but 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, before turning to the right at the town center – choose the stop nearest to the place/area where you intend to stay, as the bus terminal is a few kilometers away from the center.