Dire Dawa Flights:

Flights to Dire Dawa image of Dire DawaThe pace of life is quite slow in Dire Dawa and you’ll find that many things haven’t changed in the last few hundred years. There are just as many donkeys on the roads as cars, and possibly even more of them! Dire Dawa is a city in the east of Ethiopia, and though there isn’t a lot to see or do right within the city, there are some impressive natural parks not far from here.

Flights to Dire Dawa arrive at the Aba Tenna Dejazmach Yilma International Airport (airport code: DIR) and you will only be able to get 2-stop flights from Johannesburg. You can get the same flight to Dire Dawa with either South African Airways or Egyptair, both have connections in Cairo and then Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines has a similar flight to Dire Dawa, but their transfers are in Harare and Addis Ababa. Overall, flight times can range from 15 to more than 30 hours long.

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The Tourist Attractions of Dire Dawa:

A typical sight in most African cities is the main central marketplace, and it’s located in the downtown area of Dire Dawa. Open-air stalls have fruit, vegetables, spices, coffee beans and household goods for sale, laid out on the ground in large sacks

Babile Elephant Sanctuary
The Babile Elephant Sanctuary is sometimes just known as the Harar Wildlife Sanctuary, so don’t be confused by that. It’s a large area but without any real tourist facilities. Several rivers flow through here, and the landscape can range from grasslands to swamps and highlands.

Kuni-Muktar Mountain Nyala Sanctuary
The very small Kuni-Muktar Mountain Nyala Sanctuary is near the main road between Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa so there is a good chance you will be heading this way at some point. This area was created specifically to protect the endangered Mountain Nyala antelope that live there. It’s a partially forested park, and the population of antelope is still quite small so you may or may not get to see any while you are there.

Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve
Just past the Kuni-Muktar Sanctuary and still within easy reach of Dire Dawa, is the larger Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve (which is actually attached to the Awash National Park). Wildlife is much more common here than in the other parks, and there are good populations of ostriches, zebra, aardvarks, cheetahs, gazelles and more. There are marked tracks through the park but you may do better with a hired guide. The Awash River brings in water, and even allows for some decent white-water rafting if you have access to a boat.

When Should You Visit?:

Dire Dawa is a hot place, and it is pretty much always a hot place! Thankfully, the temperature can drop more than 10 degrees in the evenings for a little relief. During the day, it is going to be over 30C (86F) during almost the entire year. The exception is the winter months of December until February. Then it will only be 28C (83F). It’s also driest during these months, so you should try to travel then. It will get up to 36C (96F) in June, which probably should be avoided as it is also quite humid at that time.

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