Archive for the ‘Arba MInch’ Category

Forty Springs Hotel, Arba Minch

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Arba MInch

Oliver Ryan, the owner of this new resort in Arba Minch, writes:

Forty Springs Hotel has 16 bedrooms with double beds which can function as single or double room, each having on-suite shower and toilet. There are four twin bed rooms. There are two hotel apartments – bedroom, sitting room and small kitchen; for guests who like to prepare their own food, and for longer staying visitors.

Rates: Rooms are 20€uro (26$) for single and double rooms, and 25€ (33$) for twin beds and apartment.

There is a pleasant outside seating area for meals and drinks.

Reception, lounge and restaurant are done in a modified traditional (Konso) style.

The kitchen prepares both Ethiopian and foreign food.

There is WIFI internet access.

Our hotel is a place of relaxation and refreshment for visitors and local people. Refreshment and food can be enjoyed either in the restaurant or while sitting in the open air.

Contact us at:

Sheicha, Arba Minch.

Reception: 046 8812138

Office: 046 8812153

Tarikwa 0912 063076

Addis Ababa:

Oliver 0911 43532

fortyspringshotel@gmail.com

oliver@ethionet.et

Website: http://www.fortysprings.wordpress.com 

Ulrike writes:
Time schedules for public transport were sometimes misleading. Possibly because of changed road conditions. I needed by far more time from Shashemene to Arba Minch then indicated (about 7 hours!) and the road from Gimbi to Nekemte is perfectly smooth and covered with asphalt, making less then 1,5 hours of connection possible (I’m sure from Dembidolo to Nekemte you wouldn’t need 10 hours, even though I didn’t do the trip directly – I stayed in Aira in between). On the other hand I can’t imagine you made Nekemte to Ambo or Addis Ababa in 5 or even 6 hours in any vehicle – it took me in public transport without breakdowns from 9 am to 7 pm to Ambo only! With one 1hour stay in Bako in between, but the road is horrible, very few parts covered with asphalt.

Gert writes:

I have just returned from a 6 weeks’ business trip to Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia and would like to share with you a couple of additions/changes.

 

1. Lake Langano

Yes, I agree with the comments of some of your readers on the website, however, for someone who has known Langano for the past 20 years, the development of “Sabana Lodge” isn’t all THAT positive. Yes, super, the rooms are great, the restaurant also and the location is superb but it’s become a pure money-making tourist trap: First, one has to purchase an entry ticket for ETB 100 – that can be exchanged for payment for drinks, food, etc. Secondly, the price for food and drinks are prohibitive for locals and its very easy to see that the high prices are used to “thin out the clientele” and limit the use to expatriates and well-to-to Ethiopians – clearly visible once you enter the restaurant because one could just as well sit in a restaurant somewhere in a Swiss holiday resort – absolutely nothing to do with Ethiopia.

 

2. Page 505 “Moyale to Nairobi”

2.1. Due to the recent restrictions imposed by Kenya, the Ethiopians have retaliated and do NOT allow any vehicles (other than NGOs) to cross from Moyale KE to Moyale ET. For non-NGO folks it is necessary to use one of the hundreds of motorbike taxis to the border barrier and then walk across and take another motorbike taxi J

2.2 The Ethiopian passport office in Moyale ET is closed daily from 12 – 14 hrs.

2.3. There is a heightened security situation North of Isiolo KE and police insists on any vehicle travelling North to do so in a police convoy. The same applies when travelling South from Marsabit to Isiolo.

 

 

3. Page 510 “Where to stay….in Arba Minch”

Found quite a nice place, more in the “Budget line”, next door to the far more expensive, upmarket and tourist-swarming “Tourist Hotel”: “MERCATO PENSION” Its located in down-town Arba Minch (Sikela) , on the second floor of a new small shopping complex, opposite the Union Bank and next door to the “Tourist Hotel”. Rooms can be very hot and rooms to the front are quite noisy as all the trucks and buses pass that road. Rooms to the back are much quieter. The guys at the pension are quite friendly. There are 55 rooms (sgl/dbl) with en-suite Western style toilet, all very clean, cold shower, and TV – all for ETB 350/night, i.e. appr USD 19. No idea about B/F as I took mine next door in the shaded open restaurant of the “Tourist Hotel” J

Incidentally, there are no also quite a number of new, good quality guesthouses in the up-town part of Arba Minch (Shecha)

 

 

4. Page 530 “Other practicalities” for South Omo

  • “Permits” – not applicable , no one needs or requests permits

“Village fees” – not applicable

“Road Improvement Tax” – none witnessed

 

 

5. Page 536 Turmi / “Where to stay”

5.1. Best place to stay in town is the now almost completed “Turmi Lodge” (hardly anyone knows that place under your published name “Splendor Ethiopia Tours Hamer Village Lodge”). I stayed there for several days after some dreadful camping experience in Omorate, and I stayed during a general water shortage in that part of Ethiopia with people actually dying of thirst with some digging 5-7 meters deep into dry river beds. And I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears when German, Austrian and Japanese tourists arrived in buses and Toyotas and some actually complained that the “hot shower didn’t work” !!!! (Why don’t those kind of people simply stay at home J  ???)

Contrary to what some spoiled brats might report, the hotel is indeed splendid: Rooms are all bungalow-type (total 24 rooms with 2 dbl beds). They all have en-suite hot / cold shower, superb Western style toilets, tiled floors in room and bath/toilet, electric fans, intact mosquito-mesh at all window plus individual mosquito-nets per bed. There is an also an efficient, usually same-day (except rain season) laundry service.

Staff is exceptionally friendly and accommodating. The restaurant serves two types of food: (a) on days where the tourists arrive en-masse, they will serve a good quality but boring Western style buffet with chicken, (b) on request and on non-tourist arrival days, beautiful and extremely tasty Ethiopian dishes. I have never eaten a better Shirro-Wat anywhere in Ethiopia !. The chef is a marvel and if you try to practice a few words of Amharic he will surprise you with some really excellent food J.

The hotel has to generate its own electricity (and some tourists actually complain that there is no 24-hrts electrictity !! Well, they should be out and about rather than sitting in the hotel J) The generator are usually running from 06:30 – 08:00 hrs and from 20:30 – 22:00 hrs. Slight variations can occur but once you know the schedule its easy to arrange your day accordingly. I was happy to have electrictity at all and toicharge my mobile, laptop, camera, etc.

Only downside: its quite pricey at USD 70-80/night

 

5.2. “Buska Restaurant” – Prices have now risen to ETB 120-200 !!! For that, one still doesn’t get running water, lowest quality shared squatting toilets (used also by bar guests), and no electric points in the room. Not recommendable considering the climate and minimal hygienic standards.

 

 

6. Page 537 Omorate

 

6.1. Its really the furthest out-back of Ethiopia and your advice about accommodation (camping) is the best – the local “hotels” – no thank you J

6.2.  The river side, well, if you are not scared of the “supposedly existing” crocodiles – the water of the Omo river are beautifully cold on a sweltering day of 48 degrees C J Its good to hang out with the locals cause know the safest places. And as the Omo is relatively fast flowing (careful: currents) it’s also quite safe in terms of Bilharzia.

6.3. The “main attraction”: The Dassanech villages – well, actually one should refrain a bit from advertising villages as main attraction. For the past 2 years there exists a constant drought emergency and people dig 5-7 meters deep into dry river beds to harvest small buckets of brown mucky water. Animals and people actually die, yet still tourists are being driven around in comfortable Toyotas, taking photographs of the “terrible situation”, throw an empty water bottle at the children (very valuable and priced possession) and drive away. I find that extremely bizarre and disturbing.

 

7. Page 538 “Getting there and Away” – The road has been upgraded and it now takes 1 hour to drive from Omorate to Turmi.

8. General info

 

If someone requires an excellent guide and translator, here are the details of an exceptionally gifted and professional young man who has established a small group of guide/translator friends who, together, offer their servceis to visitors of the area:

 

Mr. Wondafrash Shiferaw (Nickname: Choncher), E-Mail: wondisf@yahoo.com , Mobile: +251-91-682 5037 / +251-91-245 6444

 

We used his and his friends services (at a very moderate fee) during our time of conducting several socio-economic studies and survey in different locations around Turmi and during community meetings with villagers, herders, elders and administrators during which he displayed a great sense of professionalism and respect.

 

Jean Newbury writes:

Arba Minch

- Getting there on ‘level 1’ bus from Terra in Mercato, when buying ticket I insisted on a window seat and was given (with a chuckle) seat number 01. This is across from the driver and offers amazing views out of the windshield. Downside is you won’t be allowed to sleep, I received sharp prods every time I drifted off! View will keep you going though.

- Main draws – park and crocodile market – are very tough without a group, own transport or enough money to hire a 4×4 ($150 a day). I hung around the park entrance to try and join a group, but the shifty guides were most unhelpful and reluctant to allow this. Walk to 40 Springs is worth it.

- Lake Abaya jetty, 500m or so past the crocodile ranch, is not accessible. You can get to within 200m of the lake, but then swamp and marsh land block access. Don’t try and walk it – I saw a crocodile when I did, scary. Road there is pleasant, saw thirty or so baboons and white tailed monkeys.

- Avoid Kairo Hotel at all costs. Worst hotel I’ve stayed in to date and overpriced. Due to construction, it’s become the new Abaya Hotel – buses leaving early, condoms in drawer, might as well have slept in the church it’s so close and loud.

- Tourist Hotel does not sell pizzas.

- Arba Minch market is worth a wander, small but colourful (I saw it on a Wednesday).

- Really recommend walking to the hilltop church in Secha for the sunrise over the lakes. Go West at the Oil Libya roundabout (past hotel Roza), you’ll see the red, yellow and green coloured church on the hill straight ahead.

Dorze

- Guides are not mandatory for a visit to the weaving and potters cooperatives (100 bir for entrance to both).

- Local buses from Arba Minch leave when full and there are no minibuses running the route. The bus is 18 bir, don’t pay more.

Chencha

- Market doesn’t really kick off until past 11am.

- Buses leave to Arba Minch when full, reserve seat with bag and go for a walk.

- Easy walk from Dorze or flag a free lift with a passing bus.

Konso

- Simple day trip from Arba Minch with frequent minibuses (30 bir). Amazing scenery.

- For Konso village (Dekatu – 3km walk up hill, past museum), guide is not necessary

Suzanne writes: Prices have all gone up, some by more than 100%. Below I’ve listed the page number (5th Edition) , hotel and new price in order as we travelled around.

553       Ambo            Abebech Matafaria Hotel                        Twin Room            295 B

575       Across the street from Classic Café – new Hotel called Desalegan Hotel      Twin 330 B, Manager      Ms Tigist      0911 820 175     reception 0576 616 262.

560      Jimma            Central Hotel                                                Twin Room            304 B, The swimming pool was clean – my 9yr old happily swam in it.

153      Addis  Ababa  Mr Martin’s Cozy Place            Family Room                        340 B, Internet  35c per minute ( not 50c). Extremely clean and extremely well run by Dawit ( no longer German owned). Extremely good value and was NEVER loud ( we stayed there 3 times over 5 nights)

204        Bahir Dar            Ghion Hotel ( the darkest , dingiest place I have seen)    Twin/ triple 400 B

225        Gonder                        Queen Taitu                        Twin            280 B

226/7       Gonder Golden Gate Bar and Restaurant does not offer Chinese food, Tuscany no longer exists – now called Habesha (groovy place), Roman Hotel does not sell icecream

238       Debark                        Simien Park Hotel            Triple            400 B

256        Axum                        Africa Hotel                        Triple            300 B

268        Yeha                        Entrance                        100 B

290        Gheralta             Gheralta Lodge            EXCELLENT                        Triple            $70 (inc Breakfast), 120 B  for a 5 course Dinner

291         Abuna Yemata Guh                                    100 B entrance

291         Debre Maryam Korkor                        100 B entrance

292        Abuna Abraham Debre Tsion                        Horrible Priest – wanted a 50 B tip and was not going to open the church door. We gave him 15 .Only bad experience we had with the priests and the churches – all the others were fine and took a tip after our visit

356/7      Lalibela            Seven Olives                        Poor value – dark + musty rooms            Twin            $42;  Timkat Twin $100;  Asheton            Better value            Twin            500 B for 3, ohers reported paying 350 B for a couple

444           Hosaina            Heme Hotel            Twin            276 B

511            Arba Minch            Bekele Mola              800 B for db room + dinner (2 course) + breakfast; Paid extra 100 B for mattress. We really didn’t like this place – very isolated and apart from the view – nothing special. The meals were some of the most expensive that we saw in Ethiopia and since our fee only included 2 people , we had to pay extra for our daughter to eat and it was expensive ( so were the drinks). I would not recommend that place to individuals – OK for big groups but just stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Had to go to the doctor in Arba Minch and was recommended to go to Abaya Medical Clinic ( near the bus station) by an English nurse who works in Arba Minch. Good service.

516            Chencha + Dorze            Obligatory 150 B entrance fee to Chencha market. Initially said that it included entrance inside Dorze home as well and then asked for more money so that needs to be clarified. We did not pay more money. Dorze homes are 100% made of bamboo + grass – they are not made of enset ( false banana) leaves. The guides were adamant of that. The market in Chencha is Tuesday  ( not Monday) + Saturday. Meskel is celebrated in Dorze on 27th September ( not 1st October)

552            Konso    Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge                        Looked like a dump; Ate the worse meal I had in Ethiopia at the restaurant; It was so bad that I refused to pay for it. Karat Konso Villages – Drivers tend to take tourists to a closer village called Gamole (7kms). Obligatory   150 B  Guide  + 60 B per vehicle + 50 B per person entrance

532            Key Afar + Dimeka markets            Obligatory 150 B guide

536            Buska Lodge in Turmi            Double US $100 ( including breakfast); Twin  $ 105; Double camping with spring mattress  $ 50 ( no breakfast); Double camping with mattress on ground $ 15 ( good value); Single camping with spring mattress $ 35; Single camping with mattress on ground $ 10

541            Kolcho to visit the Karo tribe 350 B village entrance + 150 B guide (obligatory)

504           Yabello            Yabello Motel                        Large twin            863 B ( book says 200 B)

533           Arbore Tribe Wanted 200 B village entrance + 150 B non English speaking guide (didn’t stop)

463           Wondo Ganet            Wabe Shabelle Hotel                        Twin            606 B week day

That’s a

I made a fifteen days trip with my wife and some other Dutch tourists, organized by a Dutch agency via the Ethiopian agency Greenland Tours.

We started in Addis, flew to Harar, spend two nights there, then drove to the south, with overnight stops in Nazareth, Dinsho, Goba, Awassa, Konso, Jinka, Mago NP campsite, Turmi three nights, Arba Minch two nights, then back to Addis.

Security = Ethiopia feels very safe. Never felt threatened. No thefts. Only town where I thought someone was following us in the street, and where I met an American man whose passport and money were stolen, was in Awassa.

Economy = Ethiopia looks booming! Everywhere you see new buildings being built. Road works to improve the infrastructure in many different places. There is more and more asphalt.

Harar = Lovely city to spent two days. Special atmosphere in those little alleys. Visited Rimbaud house and Harari cultural house. Good lunch at the popular restaurant “Cozy – pizzeria and coffee”, about 50 meters away from the equally good and popular Fresh Touch restaurant (same side of the street), mentioned in your book on page 418. We went to see the “new hyena man”. Weird to see, but still worth it. We stayed in the Heritage Hotel, was good. From the terrace of our hotel, at the end of an afternoon we saw a hyena walking between the gardens below. We payed 20 birr for a tuktuk ride from the city centre to our hotel.

Between Harar and Nazareth we visited the big khat market in Aweday.
Awash NP = saw crocodiles down in the river from the lodge near the Falls. In the park we saw kudu, wart hog, gazelle and many beautiful oryxes.
Nazareth Rift valley hotel = hotel looked nice, good restaurant, but the room we had at the second floor was shabby, dark and dusty and there was no water in the bathrooms during the whole evening.

Shashemene = lunch in restaurant Lily of the valley was good, they had special juices i had never seen before, maybe Caribbean/rasta.

Dinsho = spent a night in the Dinsho lodge. Made a log fire in the lounge, but after a while the whole lounge was full of smoke! At night temperature dropped to about minus 2 celsius. Next morning made a lovely walk with a very knowledgeable ranger. Saw wart hog and many endemic mountain nyalas, as well as francolins, white tailed ibis, bushbuck, yellow fronted parrot.
In the afternoon we drove to the very summit of Tullu Deemtu, 4377 meters, highest road in Africa. As far as I know, this is the only place in Africa where you can go above 4000 meters by car. (In my younger days, I used to hike African 4000+mountains: Kili, Mt Kenya, Ruwenzori, Meru, mt Cameroon, Toubkal Atlas, Karisimbi, …). Sanetti plateau is of great beauty. Ethiopia has such a huge diversity in landscapes, incredible.
We saw the Abyssinian wolf, mole rats, lammergeier, shelduck.

Spent the night in Webe Shebele hotel in Goba, very comfortable room. Condoms provided in the room!

On the right side of the road between Robe and Dodola, I visited the house of cave people in a place called Sebsebe Washa. You can see the rock from the road. The house is built against the rock, and once you are inside the house, you notice the house is connected to tunnels in the rock. I paid the owner a couple of birr to visit his house. Bring a torch light, cause it is very dark.

Awassa = spent the night in the very comfortable new Pinna hotel. Made a motor boat trip on the lake to the place where the hippos live, pretty expensive faranji prices.

Dilla = delicious mango and avocado juice in Rendez Vous restaurant.

From Dilla to Konso = I showed our driver the new road from Fisiha Genet to Konso, mentioned in your book and on our good Hungarian Gizi map, but he said the road was not good, he prefered to drive via Yabello.

Konso = Edget Hotel was pretty basic, no running water and no electricity when we were there, but the place is popular with locals, for a beer in the evening.

Omo valley = we visited villages and markets of ethnic groups like Hamar, Karo, Mursi, Konso, Ari, Dassanetch and Arbore. Price of a picture was mostly 2, 3 or 4 birr. Communication was difficult. I found a very basis Hamar word list on the internet, the people liked it when i spoke some of their words. That was always good to break the ice and make the people smile.
On page 533 you write that Arbore is “far more rustic and unaffected than many similarly sized towns in south Omo”. Probably times have changed, because the Arbore people standing along the road, waiting to be photographed, were the most pushy. They surrounded me, kept on pulling my arms, etc, nothing bad, but far from unaffected. Lots of jeeps with tourists when we were there. We were one of them.

Turmi Evangadi camp site = showers were always working. Not a bad place to camp. Lots of bees though in the open air restaurant.

Mago NP = on the road to the camp site we saw baboons, dikdiks, guinea fowls. At the camp site lovely black and white colobuses. End of afternoon we made a game drive, starting behind the Colobus camp site, crossing the river by car, and then through high grass. So high that soon our main concern was not finding animals, but finding the track. I think we were the first car there since long. The armed scout walked ahead of our car, to look for the track. During two hours of game drive, we saw 1 dikdik, thousands of tse tse like flies and one sad lonely turtle, that was all. So dont go to Ethiopia for the animals, but for the people! And when we found that turtle or tortoise, our local guide who had been to the Mursi village with us, lift the poor animal from the ground, hold it above his head, put it back on the ground and then put his feet on it. I think Ethiopia has still quite a lot to learn as far as nature conservation policy is concerned!

Omorate = had to go to an office where an official checked our passports and wrote our names in a notebook. Local guide asked us 100 birr to cross the Omo river, two ways. Your guide book says “a few birr”. Probably faranji price, we did not bargain. No police escort necessary.

Way back in Konso = had lunch in new Kanta Lodge, looks very beautiful, nice tokuls, nice garden. Extremely crowded, all the landrovers with faranji stopped there for lunch.

Arba Minch = lovely boat trip to see the huge crocodiles, very exciting, many fish eagles, goliath heron. Swaynes Hotel definitely misses character, isolated place, no locals, a small bottle of water costs one euro, and there was no running water for a big part of the day. Very nice atmosphere however in Tourist hotel in lower town, popular with both locals and foreigners.
Nechisar NP = saw baboon, dikdik, yellow necked francolin, Grant gazelle, ground hornbill, ground squirrel, kudu, Burchells zebra, and all five remaining Swaynes hartebeest, hundred procent score.

Humbo = visited the thursday big cattle market, not many tourists, people dont ask money for pictures

Tiya stelae field = worth a visit if you are interested in history. Very knowledgeable guide who opened the doors for us.

Regards,

Wil

Hi there,
My husband and I just got back from Ethiopia and wanted to pass on the contact details of some guides we met on the way.

1. Liben Chame speaks good English, seems to know everything about the country and offers good prices. He can organise ANYTHING you want to do in the country. He went out of his way every time we wanted to do stuff or change the plan in any way. It is not easy to find a good guide in Ethiopia who is not interested only about the money so here you go:

Home: +251 911652649
Mobile: +251 111249078
Liben_Chame@yahoo.com
Facebook: Libenchame

2. In Lalibela, we were very lucky with the guide we found to visit the churches. He gave the right amount of information, his English was very good, and for the same price he showed us the market and even negotiated for us when we wanted to buy things.

Estalu Kelemu

Mobile: +251911065115
estalulal@yahoo.com

3. An Omo Valley guide we met in Arba Minch speaks good English and seems to have all the contacts needed to show you the “off the beaten track” villages.

Riot Mussa
mamushemussa@yahoo.com
Home: +251 468850173
Mobile: +251 911061092

4. This guide we met in Bahir Dar. His English is perfect, he took us to see the waterfalls when there was no one, he negotiated us into a trip for the lake so we paid less and went out of his way to make us happy with restaurants, hotels, cars… would really use him again if back in the country. He might be able to take you around the country as well if you need him to.

Tewodros Firew (Teddy)
Mobile: +251918768825
zadoktour@yahoo.com

Best,

Laura