Archive for the ‘Gorgora’ Category

Peter writes:

In Gorgora (p 213), the Gorgora Rock Resort as of July 2013 never got built, and indeed, not on one brick got laid that I could see. However, the lovely Tim and Kim Village is nearby. You can find details on timkimvillage.com. There are lovely chalets on the shore of Take Tanna, and it is 10 minutes walk from Gorgora. Camping facilities are also available. Tim and Kim employ and train local staff and it is (by a long way) the most relaxing and pleasant place to stay in that part of the world.

On my trip I got fly strike by tumbu (or mango) flies. The gravid females lay their eggs on damp cloth and the larvae hatch out and burrow under the host’s skin. As they develop, the maggots cause a massive inflammatory responses and are extremely itchy. I had a total of six! My advice would be that if travellers have insect bites which do not settle down after three days or so, they should seek medical attention. If not treated, eventually the larvae leave the host and the cavity they created should heal up, but they can leave abscesses and it is generally not very nice.

I attended a folk club in Gondar and did not have such a positive experience as you did. There were some extremely drunk locals who I found a bit intimidating (although no-one threatened me), and the musicians and dancers kept on insistently hitting on me for money. I would advise ferengi to go with a local, or at least with a friend.

Otherwise I found the guide to be extremely helpful, so thanks for your efforts.

John writes:

I could fill a book with all the positve aspects and good fruit juice places etc in Ethiopia!!! But a few negative experiences:

Lalibela

For low budget travellers to eat in Lalibela, go to the bottom of the town, walk past paradise hotel, continue uphill, before turnoff road to jerusalem hotel, past nobles gift shop on left is Hanna’s. She has she only been there 2 months & a internet place is to the right of her kiosk. Hanna basically caters for the local fratenity esp the street kids so if you want youngsters to practice ther english with you and eat great tastng homemade flatpan bread and scrambled eggs this is your breakfast stop befroe going uphill. Also, from midday, continue past the lal hotel to roha supermarket on the left side also, next to that is a white painted kiosk, selling souvenirs when open, behind that is Denke’s House. Denke is a bit of a local legend as she takes in street kids and feeds them as well. she does injera meals for 10 birr, does more assorted meals at the w/e due to more veggies from the market on saturday, if you have 2 boiled eggs on your plate its 15 birr more. she serves til the evening when all the food has gone.
Jordan’s Pension is the cheapest faranji place to stay at the top of the town, for 80 birr. It’s past the niteclub strip, past the blue lal hotel on the right, down a pathway, i got a room at the paradise hotel down at the bottom for 150 birr,rooms 1 to 6 being the cheapies

Gashena scam:


In feb i was with 2 other faranji going from gashena to bahir dar,we were approached by a guy with one third of his right nostril missing looks like a minor burn,he duly got us places on a mini bus to bahir dar for 150birr-later we found out it should be 100 birr,anyhow he took us to the minibus and we paid 150 each,no ticket issued of course,i wasnt particalary bothered about paying more at that time, but a little while later the ticket collecter lad tried to get another 150birr out of us,then i took umbridge to this and so did the other 2.basically what happens mr fixit gets you on the minibus takes the payment outside,and the driver,the ticket collecter,and mr fixit get 150 birr each,split it 3 ways and no ticket are issued,tana transport lose 300 birr without the companys knowledge. Its the law that all passengers must be given a ticket,the police enforce this.watch what other passengers are paying if you doubt the sincerity of some ticket collecters.

Lake Tana by boat

2 day boat trip to gorgora on lake tana from bahir dar.if you are approached when you dock in gorgora by a guy called saddam with an east africa flora and fauna guidebook be wary.turn left you arte at the government hotel within 2 minutes,to be honest he helped me get the cheapest room there for 60 birr opposite the tennis courts.later i went to the village main sterrt 3 mins away and he showed me the local eatery which i would have found anyway.i bought him a meal and a drink.he hovers round the hotel bar all the time.he was under the impression that since i met him off the boatthat i had employed him as guide,not so!he may well be a flora/fauna guide and know his stuff,but make it very clear to him you do not require his services,unless you do need a guide,basically when i got a morning bus out,i had to remonstrate to the crowd via an englsh speaking ethiopian,that he was a xxxxwit and a pest.and he appolished to the his village as he lost face.

Simien Mountains
Whatever any guide tells you in the park office,you do not buy food for your scout,muleman and guide if you choose one.theres a band of brothers thing going on at the campsites where where the fellow,guides/cooks look after thei fellow comrades,also dont buy more than 6 pieces of bread they go solid quickly in the mtn air.you really dont need the added expense of a guide .

Yohannis Maikudi (Tigrai)

on 14th march faranji date i hitched a lift with an ethiopian/swiss couple in their own minibus to yohannis maikudi church,they also had their own ethiopian guide who was travelling with them,though not an official guide from a tour office.hoardes of school children descended on the minibus,running across fields,2 youths were employed one to watch the minibus another to escort us up the mtn,3 or 4 others came along to.we had tella nad injera after the priests had stopped fasting at 3pm.one priest apparently said to the youths ,be good to these people,they are good people.we were met by a mass of children at the minibus beng met down from the mtn.then it wa the old,you,you,you,give me money,give me money,bridgade kicked in.the two guides were paid but demanded more then,then everybody was demanding money,we made a hasty retreat,pushing them off to slam the sliding back passenger door,some body had apparently put a sharp in strument in the hatch door as john the owner couldnt open it with a key.the van was pelted with rocks and stones and youngsters ran across the fiels to cut us off,thankfully we made it,ive read jon girling’s accout that he sent to me.

Street kids in Addis Ababa

I buy off street kids everyday, to support a micro economy,but be wary of them in addis they bunch you and twice very nearly robbed me,once on an inside pocket and up by st georges chuch managed to unzip my day bag as well!

 

Kim & Tim Village, Gorgora

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Gorgora

Helke writes:

We stayed for here one night. This resort is very new and there are five double-bungalows. These bungalows are very nice and clean. Everything is very well maintained. The owners are a couple from the Netherlands and they are very friendly and helpful. The Resort is on the shore of Lake Tana, about 2 km outside of Gorgora. Every evening Kim cooks one meal. We swam in Lake Tana and the owners organised boat trips or hikes.

The adress is:

Tim & Kim Village Campsite

phone: +251 (0)920336671

 

 

Tim & Kim Village, Gorgora

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Gorgora, Lake Tana

Tom Otte of Tim & Kim Village writes:

 

Tim & Kim Village is a campsite of over three hectares just outside the village of Gorgora in the north of Ethiopia. The campsite is situated in a quiet spot in the middle of the countryside on the banks of Lake Tana. A paradise for bird spotters, fishermen and everyone who is looking to relax after a long trip. We offer spacious stands by the lake where you can park any overland vehicle. We also rent out lodges for two persons and fully equipped tents. The site has simple solar-heated showers and clean toilets. There is a 24-hour security guard. Our restaurant is centrally located on the site and you are most welcome to drop by for a drink and a bite to eat. We serve local and imported drinks and three meals a day. For rates, contacts and other details, see www.timkimvillage.com

Here our comments / special mention regarding our 20-day trip North and East Ethiopia. 5th August – 25th August
Addis Ababa
Hotels:
Regency Hotel in Piazza. Upmarket. Double room w/breakfast 100$. Very good location, clean and comfortable. Good breakfast. Wifi low speed. Airport shuttle complimentary.
Haimi Apartment Hotel in Bole, beside MK restaurant and Enya restaurant. Upmarket. Double room suite w/breakfast and dinner 120$. Excellent location. Amazing suites with great views of the city. Breakfast is very good. Continental dinner not that good. Wifi high speed. Very appropriate for business trips and tourist.
Restaurants:
Piazza:
Addis Ababa Restaurant. Very good traditional food in a nice traditional house.
Castelli’s. This Italian restaurant is now closed under restoration.
Bole:
Habesha Restaurant. Excellent traditional food and good live traditional music. We found this one more sophisticated and higher level than Addis Ababa Restaurant.
Enya Restaurant. Excellent greek food.
Bahir Dar
Hotels
Bed & Breakfast The Annex. Tel. 0918727504. Nice patio full of birds and flowers. Clean rooms and shared bathroom. Very good breakfast. Double room 40$
Restaurants
Special mention to the restaurant of Kuriftu Resort. More expensive than other restaurants in Bahir Dar, but the food is excellent and the location / atmosphere / environment is romantic and beautiful.
Lake monasteries
Half day trip by boat including the lake monasteries Kibran Gebriel, Bet Maryam, Uda Kidane Mihret and Debre Maryam, 150 birr pp with shared boat from Ghion Hotel. Otherwise 600 birr per boat.
Day trip by boat to Gorgora including visit to Daga Istafanos, Narga Selassie (Dek Island) and Debre Sina Maryam (Gorgora), 3000 birr per boat.
Gorgora
If you arrive to Gorgora by boat after 5pm, it is very possible you will not find any kind of transportation to Gonder. So you will have to overnight in Gorgora Hotel. This is what happened to us. “1st class rooms” in front of the lake were fully booked by Chinese families. I think there were only two of these. We had to sleep in a 2nd class room for around 200 birr for a double room. Dirty, bedbugs, toilet was a place to avoid if possible. Simply nasty. Food in the hotel restaurant was eatable.
Gondar
Hotels
Goha hotel. A good choice both hotel and restaurant are good. They offered 50% discount for low season. Around 40$ including breakfast.
Gondar to Axum by road
We went to the Tourist Information Office and decided to contact a 4×4 driver called Mamoush Tel. 0918773409, following “Anton’s trip report” of April 2012. He was really friendly and helpful all the time. We hired him for 5-6 days to do the Gondar – Axum (2 nights) – Debre Damo / Adigrat – Gheralta (2 nights) – Axum flight to Lalibela. Price per day ranges between 150$ to 200$ including driver’s food and accommodation, depending on your negotiation skills and length of the journey. You will probably have to pay an extra day for him to go back to Gondar. Even though it is not cheap, i really recommend this 4×4 trip as a way to optimize your time when visiting churches in the Gheralta / Adigrat. Also the scenery is magnificent from Gondar to Axum.
Axum
Hotels
Yeha hotel. 70$ double room without breakfast. We found it expensive. The hotel is comfortable and the restaurant is nothing special but good.
Restaurants
AB restaurant (beside Ethiopian Airlines). Nice patio and environment, good traditional food in the birr 40 – 60 range.
Other
We were lucky during our stay in Axum and had the chance to see a morning ceremony (4am-7am) including a night walk of thousands of people with candles following monks and the ark of the covenant (replica).
Adigrat
A superb recommendation in Adigrat, don’t miss the restaurant of the Geza Gerelase Hotel. The meat is excellent there and inexpensive, both lamb and beef/ox. They use this kind of local wassabe for the meat… Coffee ceremony and so on, in a very traditional tukul restaurant. By the way, kurt was awesome…
Gheralta Lodge / Rock-hewn churches
What to say about this place…? It is just perfect. One of the highlights of the trip. I wish we had had more days to spend in the Gheralta Lodge / rock hewn monasteries. We will come back for sure 3 or 4 more days the day we visit the Danakil..
The rock-hewn churches are something else. We visited Abuna Yemata Guh, Abreha Ye Atsbeha and Wukro Chirkos in the same day. Abuna Yemata Gut is espectacular. An unforgettable experience. For me it was far better than Debre Damo. Abreha Ye Atsbeha is also excellent in paintings.
A good guide near the Gheralta lodge, but cheaper: Haile Selassie (it is not a joke!) 0914041123. We payed him 250 birr.
Lalibela
Hotels
We had a reservation at Mountain View Hotel. As soon as we got there, we decided this hotel was not for us. Extremely overrated, 75$ for an awful / retro / unpleasant double room. The entire hotel looks like if they had left things half done, as if they had finished the investment before completion and not payed attention to details. The only good thing was the restaurant. Its Jamaican chef cooks really well. So we had lunch and moved to Tukul Village. Tukul Village is simply excellent. Try to get room 23, is the best one in the hotel. Price 57$ double room including breakfast.
Restaurants
Seven Olives. Excellent traditional food and pasta, 150 birr per person.
Other
Outside Lalibela we visited Genata Maryam. 700 birr for the car. For us was not really worth it, specially if you have visited some churches in the Tigrai.
Harar
Hotels
We spent 4 nights in Harar getting some rest and enjoying the end of Ramadam. I do recommend Rowda Guest House Tel. 0256662211, 350 birr double room w/ breakfast. Breakfast isnt very good but… at least you are in the Old Harar, in a nice traditional Harari house. One of the rooms has bathroom, as for the other is shared. Price is always the same.
I don’t recommend Zubeyda Guest House. They are family with Rowda but the service is awful. To give an example, we had our reservation in Rowda, but by mistake we went the first night to Zubeyda. They didnt say this wasnt Rowda. The following day, when we found out this was another guesthouse, we decided to move because of course we had a reservation in Rowda. They tried to charge us 700 birr instead 350 birr for one night! they said we had used two beds instead of one!!! There was a sad discusion, we paid 350 and go.
Recommended guide for Harar: Sisse 0913450433. We enjoyed his company and attention for 4 days. We had a chat experience with him one of the days. That’s something I really recommend. Another day, he prepared in his home an excellent meal: young camel goulash and also beef tips. Excellent. We drunk Goudar red wine…
In Harar you can buy excellent coffee in the Harar Coffee Company. Very cheap and excellent taste.
A good place to drink one of these awesome juices with three colours: green, orange and pink (avocado, papaya or mango and guava) is Mermaid Cafe, 1st Street. Coffee is also excellent. A better breakfast than in Rowda Guesthouse.
Babile and the Valley of Marvels
If you have time in Harar, Babile is worth a visit. The camel market is very interesting and colourful. As for the Valley of Marvels, i recommend a short trek over there. We were lucky and found about 100 vultures eating dead camels!!
Ethiopia is top of the list for us, a destination you cannot miss.
Cheers
Jehu & Laia from Sitges, Barcelona

Lake Tana ferry

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Bahir Dar, Gorgora, Lake Tana

I took the boat from Bahir Dar to Gorgora. Despite what you mention, the first class cabin is very bad value for money, it would be a third class in Europe or even lower. No tables, no toilets at all for first class passengers, 30% if the seats are missing cushions and are only a metal frame, cabin completely overcrowded because no control on tickets… on top of that the boat stopped on monday afternoon in Delgi and did not continue that day, so the boat only arrived in Gorgora on tuesday…

Under these conditions not very recommendable.

Dirk

Busses from Gondar to Gorgora (or the other way around) only take 1-2 hours if you take the one that leaves around 6am. In both directions there is also a bus that leaves in the later morning/around noon, and that one is very slow: approx.5 hours one way.

Kaspar

Bahir Dar & Lake Tana

Posted: April 21, 2010 in Bahir Dar, Gorgora, Lake Tana

I found Bahar Dar on the one hand pleasant with quiet streets and the lake, but on the other hand I might prefer to stay in Gorgora next time. It was the worst when it came to touts, well mostly when walking around with my backpack. The concentration is very high near the busstation.

The monasteries

I found them all pretty similar, but the closer to Gorgora, the better. I visited:

- Kibran Gebriel (close to Bahir Dar): you can’t get in, useless stop

- Ure Kidane Mihret (on Zege). Super touristic, aggressive sales, lots of construction

- Narga Selassie (Dek): beautiful location

- Debre Sina Meryam (Gorgora): the most authentic, amazing surroundings when arriving by boat, very devote, adobe building (like Ure Kidane Mihret). My favorite.

Accommodation

Blue Nile Spring Hotel

None of the tuktuk drivers had a clue where this place was. I had my map, so left with one guy who first tried to drop me of at Tana Hotel. Than he asked some locals and we drove further north to Abay Minch Lodge. This completely didn’t fit the description, also the bungalows were expensive (and not worth it). I got one of the older rooms at Birr 250, they were sort of nice, but in the morning, just after I got out of bed, a splash of water came down from the ceiling, due to some construction work. For the receptionist it seemed to be normal that this happened. On the way back to town (the lodge is beyond the bridge), I was the Blue Nile Spring next to the gas station, before the bridge if coming from town, but didn’t take the effort anymore to check it out. There is no ‘Abay Minch’ in the name of the Blue Nile Spring Hotel, probably the start of the confusion.

Than I stayed at the Ghion, which is best for meeting fellow travelers, but on the other hand I found it rather run down. And the prices went steep up, 300 birr for the front bungalows, 250 for the ones in the back. I managed to bargain the front ones down to 250, still too much. But the beds are good, no discussion about that. I had expected more of it, but would stay there again.

Bahir Dar Hotel: a little more basic than Ghion, with a pleasant courtyard at Birr 70, but full of con-artists and touts. The staff doesn’t act upon it, even if the touts pretend to work there. When I asked to see some of the rooms, the staff pointed me to one of the touts, who claimed to be the sun of the owner. Obviously they need them to bring new costumers. Because of all this, I believed it was the son of the owner and when he invited me to a coffee ceremony I said yes. He brought me to some shack not far away. I had asked the price before, but than after that we got into an argument and so I threw 250 on the table and left, ready to go and talk to his fatherm who turned out to have no son. This whole story ended in the police station, but I’m not sure if the police is ever going to make an effort to find them. It all made a very disorganized impression. Luckily I had made some pictures of the ‘son and his friend’, so at least they know who they are. I also forwarded the pictures to all the budget and midrange hotels that have a @-mailadres.

Getting there

Addis to Bahir Dar

I took the Selam Bus, very comfortable, nice trip of 9 hours. It leaves at 5.30 from near the train station. To the left of the trainstation, look for the billboard. I’ve taken Selam 3 times and I’m very happy with their services. The competition, Skybus, slightly more expensive, leaves from Meskele Square (ticket office in Taitu)

Bahir Dar to Gonder

My travel partner rented a boat and it was an easy trip across the lake to Gorgora, I think just like four hours or so, plus some stops on the road.

Danny Jacqmot

Hello Philip

Many thanks for your brilliant ‘Ethiopia’. I thought that I’d share some observations I made on a recent trip to Ethiopia (E) and Somaliland (S) with you.

Adigrat (E) – Hohoma Hotel was fantastic. We payed 100 birr for a double with great hot shower, comfortable beds with new linen and TV. The owner, a lady called Alganesh, is very warm and friendly, and cooks great food (try her shiro and thilo).

Gorgora (E) – We stayed in the villa at the Gorgora Hotel.The location was great, but there was no hot water (in fact, no water ran from the shower despite the best plumbing efforts of various cleaners and security guards). In Gorgora town, there is a very nice little bar on the main street, on the righthand side coming from the port. They serve icy-cold Dashen on tap, and are very friendly. They also have great, plain, fresh bread for breakfast.

Axum (E) – We ate a very disappointing meal at Remhai hotel. The recommended beef stroganoff was rubbish (and overpriced). -Four friends and I were overcharged on laundry services at Africa Hotel (for some 50%). Best to confirm price beforehand (and work it out for oneself).

Lalibela (E) – The service at the Blue Lal restaurant was poor and disinterested. -The ‘Unique Restaurant’, just opposite Asheten Hotel, is run by a friendly lady who serves generous, good meals (but don’t expect food to come quickly).

Gambella (E) – We stayed at Aberague Hotel, just next to bus station. The rooms were clean, but got hot at night (especially when there was no power). The manager, Fanta (or Fantom) is very friendly.

Itang, near Gambella (E) – We found the pople in theis town (50km east of Gambella) quite aggressive. Better to stay with the friendly people of Gambella town.

 Hargeisa (S) – We stayed at the Hawthanang Hotel (or something similar) just near the central bridge. Hassan, the manager, speaks brilliant english and was very helpful in organising transport and police permits. The rooms were clean and good value ($12 for a double). -The people at the recommended Oriental Hotel basically refused to help us at all unless we stayed there.

hope that this helps Kind regards Robert M (Australia)