Rupert Simons writes:
Hi – since I’ve learnt so much and seen so many places using the guide I wanted to update the Ankober section as it’s a pleasant and very peaceful weekend break from Addis Ababa.
The main road from Addis to Debre Birhan is good. Buses or minibuses leave from a new station about 2km east of Megenagna and take about 2 hours (50-60 birr). I arrived at Debre Birhan at 2pm and got the last bus to Ankober (20-25 birr). Buses seem to leave fairly regularly throughout the morning in both directions. This is still quite a rough road and the bus takes nearly two hours to cover 40km. I would not take a saloon car unless it had very robust suspension.
The views from Ankober are beautiful, and unlike Koremash it’s possible to stay the night. To get the best view, you have to walk down the hill to the Palace Lodge (just follow the main road) which takes 30-40 minutes. The Palace Lodge is overpriced as others have commented, but the location is incredible. They said at first they had only family rooms left, and asked for $125 which is the price for a group of 3 to share, but after some negotiation I got a double room to myself for $50. The Ethiopian food and breakfast were basic but good, slightly lacking in vegetables. The foreign food didn’t look so good.
If you’re on a tight budget, I found one place offering rooms for $1-2 in Ankober town, there may be others. The beds looked clean but people who stayed there said they saw fleas in the room. You can get drinks and basic meals (shiro) there as well.
I got very little hassle in Ankober, and found people were friendly and polite, especially walking up and down the hill to the Lodge. I would be interested if anyone has tried to drive down the mountain to Awash National Park. The literature in the lodge said this would take 6-7 hours in a 4×4. I didn’t see any public transport going down that road apart from trucks, so independent travellers would probably have to hitch-hike.