Archive for the ‘hotels’ Category

Thanks to Anton for sending us this trip report from his visit to Ethiopia in September 2011.

 

Weather: I think, September is not the best time to visit E., because there’s still heavy rainfall, most in Addis, during midday and afternoon, but otherwise everything is flourishing

 

Addis Ababa:

 

On Bole Road there are almost ALL African embassies.

 

I can recommend Bole Ambassador Hotel near the airport (www.boleambassadorhotel.com) for those who only want to overnight, but you have to pay 90 US for a single and 120 US for a double room (including buffet breakfast). The transport to and fro the airport is FREE

 

I also can recommend RAS-Hotel at Churchill Rd. Many travellers; clean; Taxis in front oft he hotel; but you have to bargain a lot! To Airport is 10$US. If you wan t to rent a taxi for a few hours: that will cost you 250 BIRR. Opposite of RAS-Hotel, there’s a street, where you can find fast internet!

 

Near RAS-Hotel you can find GALAXY TRAVEL, where you can book flights etc. People, who want to got to South-OMO, should ask there for Mr. Tesfaye MIDEKSO; he’s the guy with all info. A 10 day trip will cost you up to 2400 EURO

 

Lufthansa is now in AXUM Building! Within walking distance: go from Meskel-Square in direction of Haile Selassie Road outtown, and after the Carnivore Resti, go the next broad street tot your right.

 

Address: PO Box 3484, Axum Building, Urael Church to Atlas Hotel Road, Addis Ababa

 

Eating: If you like American/European food go to “Carnivore Addis Restaurant“ Salad-Buffet; good menus. Not far form Meskel-Square; Haile Gebre Selassie-Road, right

side

 

 

Money:

ATM: maximal withdrawal  5000 Birr per day, Exchange rate €1=25 BIRR; US$1=19 BIRR

 

Postcard < 5 Birr

Water 2 Litre bottle: 8-10 Birr

Café  Espresso: 5 Birr

 

If you want to spend a lot of money, go to Sheraton Hotel  for a mixed fruit juice, very delicious, but 120 BIRR!!!!

 

 

Bahir Dar

 

I recommend to take a flight. The airport is a kind of joke, still under construction! Baggage claim is out of the airport, there’s a building to your left, where all the hotels have their boards. Here you can get a transport to YOUR hotel.

 

I choose the Summerland-Hotel; the guy for this Hotel is Mr. Haile Yesus, he’s a good but somehow expensive man! But you can trust him, he can help you in any way!

 

To do the Nile-Falls with a guide and private taxi you pay US$50. The falls are now full of water again!!!

 

Summerland-Hotel: single is 500 Birr (with breakfast). Because of water pressure take only room at 1st or 2nd floor!

 

Ghion Hotel is right now not in a good state

 

Zege Peninsula:  if you can see only these 2 churches, this will be fine! The boat is 750 birr! Entrance fee to the church is 50 birr. Guide 110 birr: this is o.k., because he knows all the pictures and can describe them. There are al lot of  souvenir stalls, but the people are very friendly and not pressured.

 

Other monasteries on the lake:

 

The boat costs you 2400 BIRR: this will be a very long day, starting at 0600 in the morning until 1900 in the evening. Most of daytime you will spend on the boat. Important: Bring some warm clothes with you, otherwise you will freeze!

 

Because of time limits you can visit only 3 churches, if you have different wishes, that will cost you more! Of interest is in my opinion only the Selassie church. Otherwise I think it’s not worth the money and the time, but….

 

Tana Kirkos: it’s a very beautiful island, but the monk is crazy: he asks 150 Birr entrance fee (monk’s law, as he said!!). The view from top oft he island is spectacular! We didn’t pay and therefore I don’t know, if the inside oft he church is worth to visit! The „last“ church next to town is Debre Maryam – is in a very bad state; I suggest, NOT to visit!;

 

Otherwise the bird nests at the lakeside in the papyrus are very nice

 

Mixed Fruit-Juice in Harar Supermarket – go down the ally from R/A (warrior monumentl) to the south; after 100 meters it’s on the right side! A very tasty fruitjuice costs you 8 BIRR (in Gonder you pay 11 birr)

 

1 Kilo Bananas  12-15 Birr

 

We shared a taxi (3 persons) to Gonder, that is 1500 Birr, this is not bad and has a big advantage: you can stop on your way to Gonder and can visit the GUZARA castle which is world heritage and well worth to see: the view unto the lake is wonderful and also the site itself; entrance is 50 birr. There’s a good guide, he knows a lot of stuff and speaks a decent English

 

 

 

Gonder:

 

This is NOT a really Must see-city; it’s no good place, in my opinion, only the castle is really worth to see.

 

There’s no need to take a guide, they charge 120-150 birr;  the entrance is 50 birr

 

1 night is enough there!

 

I overnight at Atse Bekaffa Hotel: 25 US per night for a single room; had a lot of flees and other bugs!!!

 

Near this hotel is a very good restaurant: Habesha Coffee Shop

 

The only thing to stop in Gonder is to rent a car with driver! We did this at the wonderful Tourist Information! There’s a very good manager there, where we discussed the possibility to go by private car to Axum (and first to Simien lodge). He recommended us the freelancer Mamoush! After all we have been driving around with this guy for 3 weeks(!). This cost you for the car (and fuel) 150 US per day!! It was the best thing we could do and was worth every penny!

 

We did with „our“ driver the whole north: Simien Mountains, Axum, Gheralta, Mekele, Lalibela)

 

Don’t forget in Gonder to visit  church Debre Berhan Selassie: because of the ceiling paintings!!

 

The drive from Gonder to Debark is remarkable

 

 

Simien Mountains

 

Park entry in Debark 100 Birr; office can not be easily seen, but it’s on the left of the main road. They speak a very good English. In Debark they can arrange everything; you can buy food and all stuff you need! A scout is obligatory; he is carrying  the usual AK 47. There’s plenty of food around the shops in town! Debark is one oft he most dirty towns I’ve every seen (in rainy season!)

 

Simien Lodge; wonderful house; a family room is in total 250 BIRR, breakfast is included. It‘s very cold there! In the evening everybody is sitting round an open chimney.The food is not bad!

 

Be aware, that if you are trekking there, you are NOT alone: there are living a lot of people along the trekking paths, the settlement is all around and there’s a lot of cattle there!

 

The geladas are easily to find, not far away from the lodge, they are used to people and are not afraid of man! The kids will show you the way to some; but as you have a guide/scout and so on, of course they will do this! With a car you can go to Chennek and further on! There are a lot of roads up there! So trekking is not very nice! Our driver told us, you can go almost to the base camp of Ras Dejen! To drive there is only a matter of money!

 

From Simien lodge to Chennek it will cost you by car 100 US!! And it is WORTH it!!! Spectacular view!  A big waterfall  is there! For the drive to this place and back by car, you need a whole day!

 

 

 

Axum:

 

Yeha-Hotel; very good with nice view from the stelae ; the food is so la la!

 

Don’t forget to visit Panteleon-monastery: going  up and down is wonderful! The view from top is incredible.

 

Guide for a whole day is 250 BIRR. If you take an „official“ guide, he will take 400 birr!

 

Temple of Yeha: wonderful surroundings, you should see this! – have a look at the so called LION-shaped mountain

 

There are many wonderful  landscapes on your way to Gheralta Lodge, one oft he best I have ever seen: it’s a mixture of Grand Canyon, Patagonia, Scotland and so on; you will see many birds!

 

Debre Damo:

On your way you will pass Debre Damo church: be sure to be fit, as you must climb up on a rope, almost 20 meters, that was quite an experience: the people managing the rope will of course help you going up and down!! As a matter of fact, they will pull you up, if you have no strength. 20 birr is the price: don’t pay any money before you are UP!! –Whatever the people downstairs tell you. Pay for the entrance to the church on top oft he hill!! The price is 150 birr. But ask first, if there is a service in the church, if it is so, they would not let you in, but they take of course your money!!!! In our case it was so, so we had a lot of troubles to get our money back!! Best, to give the money directly to the priest or to his helper!

 

Gheralta

Gheralta Lodge is a wonderful hotel ; we spent 3 days here, but you should stay longer; the landscape is extraordinary: we have visited all churches in the surrounding ; the food here is „Italiano“ and wonderful! There are a lot of table mountains and other fantastic rocky formations!

 

The church Peter & Paul was beautiful:  the rest oft he churches are not really highlights, but you should visit at least a few oft hem!

 

Atsbi Cluster ist an absolutely must!

 

The priests are almost a big disaster; but they all have now persons, who will open the churches for you, even when the priest is NOT there! We could visit all churches: there has always been a person there, who could open the doors!!

 

If you have car and driver, you must visit Abba Yohannis: you will need a whole day; it‘s best to do on your way from Gheralta lodge to Mekele: don’t plan to come back to Gheralta lodge

 

 

Mekele & Erta Ale:

 

Axum Hotel is not bad; I must say, the food is good. There’s is free internet in the lobby!

 

Near the hotel ist he office of GK Tours and a very helpful tourist office: i must mention the head of the tourist office, Mr Gebrehiwot Taddesse. E-Mail – hotgereth2007@yahoo.com – he was very helpful and has a lot of infos!

 

He can help you in all ways, especially, if you want go to Danakil depression: i was in contact with him, when I decided this January to visit Erta Ale and he told me immediately, that there was an assault, where 5 tourists died in an attack by terrorists (so I had to quit this trip)

 

But HE has the latest info and will help you to prepare your trip!!

 

You have to pay for Erta Ale per person 500 €, if you are lucky to join a group: Mr. Taddesse will see to that and can put you on a group!!!

 

If you want to got by yourself, that will cost you at least 2000 €

 

Lalibela:

 

I recommend Hotel Tukai Village, also Mr. Bill Clinton had an overnite here (without Monica)! The restaurant is good, but only a few meals; the rooms are very spacious. Every hotel organizes transport to he airport; it’s 70 Birr and less.

 

The bugs bites you get in the churches are terrible!! Especially women will have a very bad time there!

 

 

 

Do some of the churches near of Lalibela: at least Genata Maryam and Yemrehanna Kristos. Car and driver is necessary

 

 

 

Harar

A visit to the hyenas is an absolutely MUST, this is strange, but I will never forget this trip; I visited the hyenas twice because I was so excited ; you can feed them by your own hand, and it’s……whooow!

 

Expect to pay at least 150 birr for this remarkable adventure. The animals are strolling around a courtyard and they will touch you…..

 

Guides are already asking you for helping at the airport at Dire Dawa: if you go with them to Harar, that will save you time; but it’s very costly and you should bargain hard! For 3 days I paid 130 US (!)

 

The Belayneh Hotel is not a bad choice: 200 Birr night. They can organize everything. „Harar Ras Hotel“  was under construction

The town itself is world heritage; nice old city, good for  walking, don’t expect much; but you can feel, that the people are not very friendly with tourists. The main thing are the hyenas and from them you will see a lot!

We have recently returned from a three week holiday in Ethiopia – the northern circuit plus Bale mountains and rift valley lakes.

Earlier in the year I devised an itinerary using the extremely valuable Bradt guide as my main source of information and sent it off to several UK and Ethiopian-based travel companies. While waiting for the responses, I came across a recommendation on this site about a tour company called Ethio Renaissance and having nothing to lose forwarded them my itinerary as well. In the end, based on several criteria, we decided to use Ethio Renaissance (http://www.ethiorenaissance.com/). This was the first time we have ever booked a holiday direct with a local tour operator (and we are quite well travelled) and as such was a bit of a leap of faith on our part. However, we have no regrets – the service compared very favourably, and for the most part exceeded that of any UK company we have used in the past 25 years. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone else. So many thanks to Lizzie Vardon for her comments on this site.

Some other general comments that travellers to Ethiopia may find useful:

1) Roads – there is a lot of road building by the Chinese going on everywhere, at least in the highlands, and this is scheduled to continue for the next few years. The road between Debark and Shire (on the way to Axum) was particularly bad and at one point we just got through before the road was closed for three hours. In another area the road was closed for a while because of a landslip – the new road was being built above the old road and the hillside collapsed on top of it (and the hillside was still ‘moving’ as we eventually drove past). Dust at some points reduced visibility to zero! Even so we would still recommend road travel over air given the fantastic scenery and opportunity to visit local villages etc.

2) Lalibela: Tukul Village Hotel – an earlier posting on this website said that the hotel rooms had fleas and indeed in the hotel room there was a handwritten note from a previous incumbent that the bed contained fleas. However, we had no problem whatsoever and the room was cleaned daily to a very high standard. Our guide told us the flea problem was more likely to occur in the rainy season and indeed it could have been the tourists that picked up the fleas from the churches and brought them back to the hotel. One way around this is to either spray your socks with deet before entering the churches (shoes off of course) or to wear plastic carry bags held up by rubber bands when visiting the churches.
Our return trip up to Asheton Maryam by mule/walking took four hours in total but that included about one hour exploring the church and taking in the scenery – just to clarify previous comments on this site. However, we are reasonably fit and if you suffer from the altitude/ or are infirm, it would take longer.

3) Axum: Yeha Hotel – abysmal plumbing in the bathroom but we made do. The shower could barely manage to produce a trickle of water but buckets were provided – we found it easier to wash using these!

4) Hawzien: Gheralta Lodge – this is a great place to stay. We had booked two nights here but got bumped in favour of a tour group for the second night, which was a bit annoying. It can be a good idea to have a back up plan/ second choice as I guess this could happen at any location.

5) Bale mountains: Wabishebelle Hotel – we arrived at about 6pm and the hotel was in darkness due to a power cut and electricity was not due to be restored until 10pm. This meant there was no hot water etc and only a candle to see by in the room. However, hot food was available in the restaurant (and cold beers!) which had emergency lighting. We understand that this may be a regular occurrence at the moment (the next night was OK though). We were extremely lucky to see a leopard on the return journey to the rift valley lakes. We would strongly recommend that all travellers carry with them an LED torch for these occasions and for exploring some of the churches.

Many thanks for the usual thorough and reliable Bradt guide. I did a tour of the main tourist highlights earlier this month with Voyages Jules Verne. Just a few comments which probably reflect what other people will say:
- the reliability of internal flights has apparently improved with the recent purchase of new aeroplanes (though delays are still possible!)
- however the strict security at airports means you usually have to take off shoes, belts, watches, etc. not once but twice and it takes a lot of time – independent travellers who don’t have a guide to warn them should leave enough time to get through all this;
- the Hotel Yeha in Axum is pretty shoddy for what it is supposed to be – as you rightly point out.
- however the Ghion hotel in Addis was nicer than your rather grudging review suggested. If one is there at weekends the many wedding parties in the park opposite are a really wonderful spectacle. However someone said that there were plans for the whole area, garden and hotel, to be redeveloped as a new hotel – that would be a terrible shame.
- the hike up to the top of Asheton Maryam from Lalibela surely takes more than 2 hours. We went up by mule and it tokk longer than that; we could see hikers taking it more slowly.
- in general it would be good if the guide could say more about the geological history of the area one is visiting – the area around the Devil’s Nose (very spectacular!) between Gonder and Bahir Dar is a case in point.
- the Blue Nile falls were pretty amazing even if they were only 30% of what they used to be, and well worth visiting. But we found that the souvenir sellers there were quite aggressive (along the path to the falls), much more so than anywhere else we visited.
- apart from the Falls area, Bahir Dar was not at all good for souvenirs.
- Addis airport is horribly expensive even by western standards and the souvenirs there rubbish compared with what you get in Axum, Lalibela, etc.
- I think you should be less disparaging about the shoe men in Lalibela; we had one with our party who was enormously helpful not only with shoes but in helping the several members of our group who were struggling with the stairs, tunnels, etc. He may have been expecting generous tips but we felt he was genuinely keen to assist.
- finaly, I think the photo in the Guide (between pp 310-311) which says it is Bet Maryam is actually Bet Mikael.
Keep up the good work, and thanks again.

We’ve just had a truly brilliant holiday in Ethiopia. My husband has been working there for a month in three since the middle of last year and I took the opportunity to join him this time – after he’d finished the bulk of his work there. Your book was invaluable and was with us at all times – despite it being a pretty hefty weight. We found virtually everything you said to be reliable.

I just wanted to mention a couple of places which have opened – or will – since your book was published.
Addis : we stayed in a recently opened hotel just off the Bole Road, almost next to the Edna Mall, called the Kaleb. The staff couldn’t have been more friendly or more helpful, the location was great, the breakfasts very good – although a number of the delicious pastries could have made a fantastic afternoon teas, or desserts after a meal, since these are both something I craved for in Ethiopia – and the wifi was – mostly! – reliable. We stayed a night and then returned for 3 more, ten days later. We paid $90 per night for this large and comfortable double room. The bathroom was smaller than it could have been but was fine – with good sized, thick towels. Having checked a number of other hotels in Addis – which I thought surprisingly expensive – this seemed pretty good value. It opened about three months ago.
Lalibela: We met a lovely Scottish lady called Susan who is in partnership with an Ethiopian friend in the building of, initially, a fabulous restaurant in a totally stunning location in Lalibela itself. It is on top of a hill with an almost 360 degrees view all round of the unbelievable countryside. It will have a more formal restaurant and a snack-type restaurant with numerous seating areas to drink in the view.  It is being built to a high spec. and uses as many natural materials as possible, blending into its surroundings, and yet modern and innovative in design. Ultimately they plan to build rooms in individual tukuls so that there is accommodation as well but they are trying to establish the restaurant first. It will be called Ben Abeba (‘Ben’ being Scottish for ‘hill’ and ‘Abeba’ being Amharic for ‘flowers’ : it is on a hill of flowers.) Susan is trained in Home Economics and is taking on the menu planning and training of the kitchen staff herself. There will be both Ethiopian food and international – including puddings and home baking! The official opening is planned for September so fingers crossed for success in that! I’m sure it’s going to be really beautiful and a treat – though not overly expensive – for anyone visiting Lalibela. There is a website for the restaurant although this is still fairly sketchy in its information. More will be added in the next few months. The website address is http://www.benabeba.com/
Finally, in Bahir Dar we got a fantastic deal! We’d booked in at the Ghion which was fine, if a little tired. As the new Kiriftu resort was right next door we thought we’d go for a nose and perhaps splash out on lunch. Somehow we got talking to the guy at Reception and he invited us to look at the rooms. How could we refuse?! They had a special package offer because the resort was not quite complete – swimming pool still being built and some extra rooms – and this included bed, breakfast, dinner, plus a massage, a manicure and a pedicure per day. Full price worked out at $199, but he said they were knocking 25% off so it would be $150. For us this was still too pricey, but we must have hesitated because he said that if we were interested he could do it for 50% off! We just couldn’t resist the treat potential! It’s absolutely beautiful and the staff are incredibly attentive and pleasant.
With best wishes,
Nicky Harris

Lodge du Château, Gonder

Posted: April 6, 2010 in Gonder, hotels

Speaking of hotels in Gonder, there is a new place called Lodge du Château which is owned and operated by the Explore Abyssinia tour company.  Located just to the west of the Castle Compound, it looks to be a really nice place.  It offers singles, doubles, and dormitory beds.  Rates are as follows:

Single                        32US$
Double/twin                36US$
Bed in Dormitory        10US$

All rooms have their own bathroom.
Room rates include breakfast and service charge /tax.
Reduction in rates for groups booking 6+ rooms and for guests staying more than 3 nights. Please ask us.

More information can be found at the Explore Abyssinia website where you can download a PDF brochure.  According to the brochure they also offer horseback riding, bicycle hire, and walking tours.  They can also arrange Simien Mountain treks.
PO.BOX: 237

GONDER ETHIOPIA
MOBILE: 00 251 918 77 03 32
TEL: 00 251 581 11 19 17/ 581 11 53 11
FAX: 00 251 581 11 89 65
Email: eat@ethionet.et
WEB: www.exploreabyssinia.com

Guides
Official guides – reasonably knowledgeable, but rarely needed
Unofficial guides – relatively ignorant, but sometimes needed to get rid of other “guides”, kids etc
Tour operators – they do a good job with providing transportation, food and accommodation, but don’t expect them to know everything about the places they’re taking you to – Bradt guide is your best friend!

Accommodation
Go for Bradt’s Budget options if you can afford those rather than the Shoestring ones. A good insecticide is recommended for all accommodations before settling in for the night. Insecticide will get rid of mossies and roaches, but offers limited protection against fleas and bed bugs.

SIM card
Available at post offices, just have a copy of your passport ready to hand over and say (if asked) that you have the residency visa (not the tourist one). Try another post office if the initial one won’t sell the SIM card if they find out you’re only a tourist, or try Western Union office inside the same post office – worked for me, third time lucky.

Internet 
Using the dial up internet in Ethiopia can be a very frustrating experience. It could take up to 10 mins for the page to download and you can easily spend one hour in order to send one e-mail only. Do not rely on internet if you have to do any research eg shopping for plane tickets as their internet cannot cope with the Opodo and Expedia ads etc. The easiest way to communicate with your nearest and dearest outside of Ethiopia is by SMS. See above on how to get SIM card. Internet is surprisingly OK at some locations eg. Bahir Dar, Axum, Harar and Addis Ababa Sheraton.

Flights
Domestic flights on Ethiopian are very cheap, don’t forget to mention if you flew with Ethiopian internationally so you qualify for 20% discount (I think). You will have to re-confirm your flight!

Flying on Ethiopian internationally is a different matter. One way flights are only EUR1 cheaper than the return ones. 1 hour flight (and back) to Djibuti costs around EUR 200 – it could be cheaper to fly to London and back than from Addis to Entebe or Nairobi! I guess there are not many business class pax to African destinations so everyone pays the fixed, full price economy fare? 

Visas
VOA for certain countries available at Bole Airport: 1 month single entry visa. Extensions available at the Immigration Office in Addis, but be prepared to wait or to come back tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow or 2 days before the original visa expires etc – it all depends of the officer on duty.

Literature
Bradt Guide will keep you amused, informed and entertained as it is amazingly well written – you’ll learn much more than where to find a clean, cheap hotel or where to have a tasty injera. It’s one of the best travel guides I’ve had on my travels. Also, “The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy” by Philip Marsden will give you some insights about the unique history and culture of Ethiopia. You can see the replica of Sevastopol, Tewodoros II gun, in Tewodoros Sq in Addis.

Taxis - roughly Birr 10 per 1km, add Birr 10 to and from the Bole International

Bajaj (tuk tuk) – roughly Birr 1 per person per 1 km

Goran Jovetic, London, UK

I bought the 5th guide direct from Bradt. It looks good. You may have an answer to this in the book but …What do you mean by 3/4 bed? I found the difference between double and single. We are a family of 4 (2 teenagers) and prefer 1 room. Someone said hotels will accomodate that. Also, for the northern tour some of your hotel suggestions do not have email. Do i need to try and contact them from overseas now or wait till i am in country in July? 

Henry Rempel

Habesha Kitfo restaurant in Gondar has apparently has been closed for a while.
A good place for Shiro tegabino  (or tagamino, not sure what is the correct transcription of this one, but the dish itself is my absolute favourite) is the Lucy restaurant next to the National Museum in Addis,  a very popular place with great food, a bit more upmarket, but still very affordable and while it is new, I think it may be more than a year old.
In Harar, two traditional Harari houses serve as B&Bs and are situated inside the walled city. One is managed by a lady called Rewda and the other by her sister. Prices are 250 to 300 birr per room with breakfast and usually a private bathroom. You can sit inside the traditional house, with all the decoration inside, it is really an interesting experience.

 

According to a friend of mine from Addis, SIM cards can now be bought for just over 100 birr. The red zebra that you mention in the guidebook is a very expensive deal compared to that. Also they will fail to inform you that if you come from addis to Lalibela during XMas you will not be able to get connection because of the saturation of the network, so no point in renting the phone for all that time. Apparently there is a trick where by you should turn off you phone when you leave addis and only turn it on once you are in lalibela, much more likely to get network that way. 

Dr Liza Debevec

Harar updates

Posted: April 13, 2009 in Harar, hotels, local guides, restaurants

A couple of additions for Harar:

Rewda Hotel, Telephone 025-666-5965/9777. Mobile 09157-40488 Postal Address 612 Harar. Clean rooms with reliable hot and cold water and also electricity! Cost – single 150 Bir/night (£10), double 200 Bir/night (£13). Family Cafe on ground floor serving adequate meals at average prices and Ice Cream! Situated approximately 1000m to the west of the old town. (1 Bir in a TukTuk). This is a downhill walk.

“Fresh Touch” Restaurant, telephone 09157 – 40109 or 09157 – 48787. Postal address “Near to Harar Ras Mekoncu Monument.” Has extensive menu of both local and western dishes. Prices comparable to other listed restaurants in the area but service and ambience better. All staff appeared to have an excellent command of the English Language. Situated about 500m West of the old town.

Lishan Ketama (Telephone 0256-66-49-24 Postal Address 864 Harar. E-mail lisket2006@yahoo.co) will provide excellent guiding services at reasonable cost (150Bire/day). Also provides 4 x 4s and minibuses.

Bryan Lukehurst

I will preface this by saying I have probably driven close to a million miles in my life and I can honestly say that the trip from Shashemene to around Goba may have been the toughest drive I have ever made. I rented a Yamaha 600 Tenere during my stay in the country and it took everything the bike had and alot of skill to make it through this road in one piece. There was new road construction going on for the first part of the road which appears will be very nice if it ever gets built but from what I could learn that may be a while. Driving in Ethiopia is an unreal experience in and of itself and if you don’t have quite a bit of skill I would say leave the driving to other folks. The trip from Addis to Dodola took me about 7 hours and from the pain in my back felt like I had been driving a lot longer (beautiful drive though).
I stayed in Dodola at the Bale Mountain Hotel. Nothing special but decent although the folks working the restaurant area were really, really slow but just grab a couple of your favorite beers and enjoy the nice surroundings. I did manage to find one decent place to listen to some music at I believe it went by the name of the Rose Motel or something close to that, it was probably 400-500 meters down the road from the hotel in the Dinsho direction.
The trip from Dodola to Dinsho took me about 6 hours (mind you I was driving extremely slowly due to road conditions and didn’t want to risk busting my tire out in the sticks). A beautiful, scenic drive nearly throughout. I stayed at the Dinsho Lodge, had a hard time finding someone to open a door to I just hung my mosquito hammock in the open area and slept there. The care takers of the park were wonderful. Anouska and Teddy invited me up to their house and cooked a nice dinner and had some good conversation. If they are still there I would recommend having a chat with them, very helpful with many things. They also set me up with places to stay on top of the Sanetti Plateau and in Rira which I was very thankful for. Saw several Nyala’s, some warthogs around the Inn and quite a bit of other wildlife as well.
From Dodola to Goba I can’t remember how long it took but not as long as the previous days travel. I stayed the first couple of nights at the Goba Wabe Shabelle Hotel. It was relatively expensive (172 Birr) but one of the nicer hotels that I stayed at. I moved after the 2nd night because it was on the outskirts of town and I wanted to stay in the town without having the long walk back at night to the hotel.I moved to the Yilma Hotel next to the Nyala bakery. It was undergoing some renovations for the better at this time by the new owner who also purchased the Nyala bakery. Nice guy who I think will make the place much nicer than it was at the time I stayed there (I think he gave me the Ethiopian rate of 30 Birr per night, think it was generally 60 Birr for faranji). The Nyala Bakery also had pretty good pastries and coffee as well. There is one internet cafe that I could find which is located right beside the City Cafe in a very small room. The connection never got to working during the daytime when I tried it though.

Piers Majestyk