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“A Place worth spending few hours!”
Review of Merkato

Merkato
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$65.00*
and up
Addis Ababa Guided Walking Day Tour
Ranked #12 of 82 things to do in Addis Ababa
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Addis Ababa can be overwhelming to visitors but I am here to make you feel at home. I will share my local view and show you around.
Reviewed June 13, 2011

Yes Merkato is very busy and crowded however, its worth visiting and experience to one of the largest market in East Africa. I was there several years ago and its been changed a lot since and the market is not all outside anymore. As always its very important to have a good walking shoe and of course camera to capture the amazing things that you will be seeing. You need to be in guard to your personal things as always when one is visiting crowded places. I have been in more than twenty something countries and Addis is not any different when it comes pickpocketing. Most people communicate English ok at the market however you need to bargain wisely (having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right amount for you to pay). People are extremely nice and very polite and respect foreigners. We were two females and we never had any problem at all.

10  Thank Joynow9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"open air market"
in 9 reviews
"spice market"
in 6 reviews
"local guide"
in 13 reviews
"amazing market"
in 4 reviews
"pick pockets"
in 6 reviews
"biggest market"
in 5 reviews
"negotiate prices"
in 3 reviews
"leather products"
in 2 reviews
"large market"
in 2 reviews
"endless shops"
in 2 reviews
"authentic taste"
in 2 reviews
"sturdy shoes"
in 2 reviews
"buying something"
in 2 reviews
"hard working people"
in 2 reviews
"african market"
in 3 reviews
"east africa"
in 4 reviews
"absolutely everything"
in 2 reviews
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125 - 129 of 171 reviews

Reviewed May 30, 2011

I wish I would have had a few hours rather than 30 minutes to explore this place! The weather sent us packing early, but there is something for everyone here. It would be worth it to speak to someone in the know about the layout. We were wading through western clothing areas before someone asked us what we were looking for (textiles and silver) and guided us to the right area. You do need to be wary and use common sense when exploring. So if you are a bit skeptical, find a guide before you go or just thank whoever is offering to help and keep moving.

3  Thank Unbeatenpath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2008

Marakarto in Addis.
1. You are NO more likely to be pickpocketed in Markarto than in other places in Addis. ALWAYS EVERYWHERE in Addis be on your guard and exactly as another contributor says IF someone grabs one arm expect a pickpocket on the other side OR if someone creates a deliberate argument with you at your front for NO APPARENT reason, smile sweetly BUT beware of his mate picking your pocket from behind. They are not as skillful as London or Tokyo pickpockets and have to DISTRACT your attention in some way. TRY HARD NOT TO LOOK LIKE A NEWCOMER OR TOURIST....

2. FALSE DESCRIPTION . Markarto claims to be the biggest outdoor market in Africa. IT may be the biggest BUT the vast majority of it is not "outdoors" any longer...

Go and see - it is certainly worth seeing....If possible wear a Premier League shirt. or Italian football shirt ..that will make you instant friends...

14  Thank Addisadvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2008

I am a Westerner and live in Addis Ababa. I only visit the Mercato occasionally when I need something cheap, because it is a great place for bargains. However, for tourists, I would not recommend it if you are traveling alone (male or female), definitely best to take an Ethiopian friend who knows the place well. It is a large open-air market with tons of things to find.

Again, an interesting place to go, but be careful...

8  Thank dta823
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 9, 2007

If you are bent on seeing Addis Ababa and its sites, you should include Merkato in your plans. However, like most crowded areas in Addis, one should watch your pockets. Con-artists and pick pockets abound. If someone pinches your arm, he is trying to distract you while his friend picks your pocket. It's a good idea to wear a moneybelt in this area. As for what to see - this market is the largest outdoor market in Africa. There are spices, tailors, everything one needs here. However, a tourist would be more interested in some of the shops along the periphery that sell "antiques" and cultural objects. The "antiques" may or may not be real "antiques", but if you know that from the start, just pay what you'd be willing to pay for a souvenir. As a general rule, the merchant will charge you at least three or four times what he or she would charge an Ethiopian. If you bargain, you will still likely get ripped off but whatever you do, don't pay the first price offered. For peace of mind, decide what you'd like to spend on certain souvenirs ahead of time. They may actually be cheaper in reality, but if you don't pay more than you expect, you won't be disappointed. Also, travellers should be aware that in the past, there have been anti-Western demonstrations near the mosque in Merkato. However, for the most part, Ethiopia is pro-West and pro-American.

9  Thank sehay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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