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.