Liza D writes:
I went to Bale mountains, for the 3rd time, and was shocked to see that the Dinsho lodge has been leased out to a private company that is now charging 55 dollars for a single and 75 dollars for a double and 20 dollars for a bunk bed in a dorm, with all the rooms sharing 2 toilets that don’t work properly, and two showers that look just as bad as they did a year ago when it was less than 5 dollars a night for the bed. They have changed the beds and cleaned up the place a little bit, but these are by far the most ridiculous farenji prices in all of Ethiopia. They also charge people an additional 400 birr a day if they want to use the kitchen.
Park entrance fees are still as before and same for all the other parks: 50 for foreign residents and 90 for foreign tourists.
Price for the guides has gone up, 200 for walk around the HQ (which I believe is totally overpriced – similar walk at Shala/Abyata park is 70 birr for the guide.), 250 for a full day and 300 for a full day if the guide has to sleep elsewhere than his home.
I’ve used the same guide as before, Muzeyen Turke, and I highly recommend him, he is extremely knowledgeable about the wolves as he used to work as a wolf monitor. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
I know you don’t do guide recommendations anymore, so feel free to delete this part.
We also visited the new Bale mountain lodge in Harenna forest. We had coffee with the owners and got a tour of the whole place. It is really nice, and will be even more so after the rainy season, when the vegetation covers the areas that have got bare soil due to construction that finished recently. The place will have 15 rooms in the end, including a tree house-room. Prices are 220 dollars per person all inclusive (room, full board, all drinks including alcohol, and a guide). There is also a resident rate of 150 dollars per person.
The place also has 3 rooms that accessible for people in wheel chairs.
They have a website http://www.balemountainlodge.com
We stayed a hotel in Robe called Abadama. Twin rooms cost 300 birr and a queen size bed rooms cost 200 birr. There is no discount for residents, only for Ethiopian nationals (250/150 respectively if I am not mistaken). Rooms are fine, sheets were clean, there is hot water, though the shower is either boiling hot or cold, no in between.
They have a restaurant that serves decent food, including breakfast, but not before 7 am. They are super stingy with toilet paper in the rooms, you will get very little extra if you ask, so maybe travel with your own extra roll, which can be purchased cheaply in the local shops.
On the way back we stopped at Abiata-Shala national park to see the flamingos. Entrance fees same as Bale mountains, except car was 5 birr more expensive, as they decided that even though I was a resident, traveling with my car, the fact that I had a farenji in my car, it meant I needed to pay farenji car fees (20 birr instead of 15 – really small, but I didn’t like the principle).