Rift Valley Updates

Langano Update August 2010.

1. Bekele Mola Hotel is closed – forclosed by a bank when B. Mola PLC put it up as collateral for a loan elsewhere… Watch this space to see if some entrepreneur will take over the jewel of BMs Rift Valley Chain and restore it to its 1970s number one spot!!!!

2. Abula Bassuma also seems to be closed. It’s large sign in Bulbulla village has gone.

3. SABANA is NOW the place to go. I had only eaten there in 08 and 09 but stayed 2 nights recently. Sabana hqs whqt you rarely get in Ethiopia, built in QUALITY. The whole place was designed by an engineer. The rooms are simply decorated and superbly practical. The stunning restaurant design deserves a prize. Book before you go – 0461191181 – they will give you a booking number and you pay at Topview, Blue Tops or Pit Stop in Addis. Cash only. Rooms $75 upwards – bit cheaper mid week. Prices quoted include tax/service. Turn left off Awassa road after 200km stone – clear signboard. NO CAMPING.

4. WABE SHEBELLE – ok if your budget wont stretch to Sabana!!!!! And you don’t mind litter all over the place, and dogs. Latest newish twin rooms c 392 birr – inclusive. Check toilet, showers, and lights work before accepting room. Designated camping area now appears to have many hotel tents up.

5. Wenney and Bishangari directions. 2009 Bradt Guide page 455.   This is wrong and confusing.   The road to both places is the same one. As stated it goes left off Awassa tarmac highway about 2km past Bekele Mola. Huge billboards mark the corner. Good gravel road for several KM; then a track.

Awassa Update August 2010.

1. Hailes Resort. North end of lakeside road. Well signposted. Bedroom design outstanding.   Hotel design could have been transported from Majorca ? Pool great as long as they can stop it going green. 100br to swim.   Nice sunbeds and great view from them. Local people complaining about high drinks prices – Gin and T = 88br. Rooms over $100 ??      To rent  high speed motor boat for quick return trip to new Lewi Resort– rumoured to be 750 br.

2. Lewi Resort. South end of lakeside roads – next to Wabe Shebelle 2 ( now “Midroc Village” !!!! )

About 12 amazing bungalows with “Best in Ethiopia” Interior design that even outdoes Haile’s bedrooms !!   Each has a huge circular double bed with two headboards between which sits your CD/TV control console.   Large flat screen TV. These are $146 plus 25% ?? but have NO real view of lake.

By the lake is a smallish block of rooms. Front ones with lake view and garden to lakefront are about $95 plus 25%; ones at rear no lake view $65 plus. This place is trying to be the Sheraton of the South.

3. Places to eat in Awassa

a. Lewi Piazza ~ or new Lewi . Indoors in evening outdoors for breakfast – great.

b. Blue Nile – nice outdoor area at front. Excellent National Food section at rear.

c. Tadess Enjeri – but sign in Amharic only !!! Near top of main street. North side – just below supermarket.

4. Good value for money hotel in the likely event of your holiday budget or per diem not stretching to Hailes or Lewi prices , then try SOUTH SPRINGS HOTEL. When arriving from Addis this is the first hotel you see – on rhs of main Kenya highway on the corner where the lakeside road turns off to your right. Has vehicle gates on both roads – but name sign only on Moyale Road. Twin / Double Rooms 210 (140 for residents). Ezxcellent value.

Also has some nice family units for 4 people with small lounge and two bedrooms. It is some 3km from town centre but no prob if you have a vehicle.

Wondo Genet  ( from visits April and August 2010)

1. The cottage as they call it – ie Haile Sellassies circular bungalow. Costs us some 1400 br for a night at Easter 2010….. accomodates 5.

But you do sleep in the emperors bedroom !!   Has double, twin  both ensuite; and a single for the bodyguard (no loo)

2.  Buffet breakfast – beware – cold scrambled egg etc. Not exactly attractive. Menu cards tatty and poor choice.   The place is still magical but the restaurant could do with a gigantic kick in the …………..( or privatisation ). I am amazed the top UK company Exodus still takes people there !!

3.  On a day visit in August with my teenage grandchildren – larger pool was EMPTY –  just started on refilling process  Smaller pool full of two busloads of non swimmer school children – who were having a great time. ……. This was a Tuesday – so possibly avoid Tuesdays if you want to swim !!!!!!!

Frank Rispin


6 thoughts on “Rift Valley Updates

  1. Liza says:

    Shame to hear about the Bekele Mola hotel.
    In Awassa I would recommend the La Dolce vita restaurant at the Lakeside Motel. Wonderful Italian food, fresh pasta, delicious. Also the rooms at the hotel are nice, about 220 birr a night for a nice room in a quiet garden (in 2009), much more reasonable for those of us who cannot afford Haile resort prices.

    • The Keen says:

      I am sorry to hear that Bekele Molla Hotel is closed!!!
      No Ethiopian wants to hear that!! No! No! No!

      This news will anger the public at large. Some one must save Bekele Molla as historic heritage. I hope it will not be a place for the new millionaires rather than the Ethiopian public as it was for half of its century service.

  2. Ulrike says:

    Hi, I have already booked Sabana Lodge for next weekend, but I am still unsure about how to get there as I am travelling with public transport. My idea was to take a bus from Addis and ask the driver to drop me off where the road goes to Sabana. However, the lodge people told me that they do not have a car to pick me up there and that there will not be any taxi.

    Frank, as you have recently been there, do you think it is possible to walk from main road to Sabana? Or is it better to get off the bus in Ziway and arrange private transport from there?

    Thank you! ulrike

  3. frankrispin says:

    Sorry didnt see this query till today 28th….when u r there…..

    Letus know how you got on. It is certainly a walkable distance from main tarmac Awassa road to Sabana……pref with a rusksack not suitcase !!

  4. jan slingerland says:

    We saw many new nice hotels in Awassa in may 2008. It was then a boomtown and a very pleasant place to stay. At Tikur Wuha (Blackwaters) on the NorthEastern side of Lake Awassa, there is a plce where you can the hippo’s leaving the lake every evening. We saw Guereza’s (black and white Colobusmonkeys) there too. Awassa had a lot of places where you could get fresh fruitsvhakes of pineapple, mango, banana and so on. Also a lot of good fishdishes there!

    Good place to relax coming from the Omo-area, Bale Mountains or Addis!

    • jan slingerland says:

      Just to add: Awassa and the lake Awassa have a very nice birdlife too. We saw in a couple of hours African fish Eagles, cormorants and pelicans at the ‘fishmarket’, many Maraboe’s, trees full of Maraboenests, a kingfisher at the lake, another species of kingfisher diving from a tree to its prey just 2 meters away from us. Nice small birds at the terrace where we were having a fruitshake. Awassa is a very nice place, with good accomodations, good food and good fruitshakes, many nice birds and it is even possible to see hippo’s! I like it much more than Langano. I’m curious how it looks now. Has anybody visited it recently?

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