March 2016 trip report

Nicole Wilhelm writes:

Visa: As the Ethiopian Embassy in Switzerland was running out of visa stickers, we had to apply visa on arrival, which we have received within 10 Minutes and without any hassles at all. So if you’re flight one of the earliest in the morning, its cheaper and easier to get the visa on spot.

The tram in Addis is working great; its clean, cheap and worth to use… just do not try to enter at rush hour; it’s almost impossible to squeeze in….!

We stayed at Kefetew Guest House, which is a bit out of the city center, but within walking distance to a tram station. Great breakfast and on request Ganet is also cooking dinner …and she is very helpful and is going an extra mile for her guests!

In Bahir Dar we used Delano Hotel; free airport shuttle, very nice, spacious rooms, good staff, extremly good value for money …and of course beds do have mosquito net!

Simien Mountains: We have done a 10-day Trekking with Ethiopia Eco Tour and Trek (Addis Yimer). The trip was very well organized by Addis, we had an excellent guide and I believe the best team with us; the cook prepared daily delicious meals (dinner with soup, min. 3-4 different vegetables, rice or pasta and sometimes even with meat)… and in awareness of the “faranji stomach” they have only used cooked water to wash vegetables etc! Really highly recommendable Touroperator for Simien!!

Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela: it was not a problem to walk arround alone; beggers were very few and the street boys were OK… of course the asked for money, pen etc … but mostly they just wanted to practice their english.

To vist Awash National Park and Abyiatta Shalla, we have used ETT Travel (Ethio Travel and Tours)… This was the only “downpoint” of the whole trip…. We have booked (and confirmed as well) Camping in Awash N.P including Cook and cooking materials, water for washing etc., all meals and 2 nights 10’000 Flamingo Lodge, driver, car etc. However, camping then turned out to be 2 nights without meals and without washing water; we had to organize to eat at the nearby Awash Falls Lodge. Driver was always coming 30 Minutes to 1 hour late. And the driver nor ETT did know where 10,000 Flamingo Lodge is situated… and this after having had over 5 weeks time in advance to check on this… In all the years travelling in Africa I have never experienced such a bad Touroperator.
The location of the 10,000 Flamingos Lodge is mind blowing! Staff very kind, all rooms have great views. Time to relax, walk and see flamingos. In my opinon the only place in Abiyatta Shalla National Park, which is really worth to visit!

Ethiopia is certainly a special country and well worth to visit!

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3 thoughts on “March 2016 trip report

  1. Marko says:

    Hi, thank you for the report. However, your first sentence is a bit shocking. I plan to travel to Ethiopia at the end of May with my wife. We are from Bulgaria and we cannot get visa on arrival. I plan to go to Geneva for visas and have already bought a Wizz Air flight from Sofia to Geneva and back just to go to the embassy. It would be a “nice” surprise to arrive there and be told that “they run out of visa stickers.” Can you please tell me more about this? Did you get any explanation? Is this a temporary problem? I will try to check with the embassy, but any info from you would be very appreciated. Thank you and best regards, Marko

    • philipbriggs says:

      Hi Marko, Philip Briggs here… I posted this based on an update sent by Nicole so she won’t necessarily see your query. It is rather astonishing, I’ve never heard of such a thing before, but I doubt that she will know any better than you or I whether there might be an issue getting a visa at Geneva in May. I’d have thought the safest thing to do is phone the embassy ahead to check. Cheers, Philip

      • Marko says:

        Hi Philip! Yes, it is really astonishing. I’m looking at it with some humor, although after having invested in flight tickets to Addis Ababa and to Geneva, and, of course, your guidebook, such information is a bit troubling. I will call the embassy, but communication with them is not very easy. Last time I called, their repeated answer to my persistent question whether they issue a visa in one day, was – “Today too late to apply”. Best, Marko

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