Chebera Churchura Feb 2016 trip report

Sam Cunningham writes:

I agree with your book comments regarding this NP to be an underestimated gem. I aim to return with a more independent set up. This is because the main issue is accommodation. The nearly completed guest house referred to in the guide was photographed. I can supply a photo. The main building is finished and painted with glazing installed but what looked like outside toilets were still under construction. Rooms were filled with bags of cement and tools. The electricity and plumbing are yet to be installed. It is located about 500m past the park HQ heading towards the park and is in a beautiful spot close to the forest. I think I counted about 8 – 10 bedrooms.

Accommodation Issues
I need to warn that the mobile number on page 585 of the latest Bradt – 0913 357056 was answered by someone called Adama who said it was the Ameya guest house. He assured me there was water, hot water, power, food and that this was the new guest house near the park. On arrival after dark from Addis, I found there was only power but no water or food. Adama was nowhere to be found. There was only a guard watching TV who insisted he was under orders from Adama to collect ETB 300 from each of us three. If we didn’t pay he’d lock the metal gate and we wouldn’t be able to leave the next day! I followed our driver’s lead and we calmly talked to the guard for an hour, in that nonconfrontational Ethiopian way with the open hands and downward speech inflections. In the end we paid ETB 100 each, parted on friendly terms and found breakfast somewhere else. Then we went off in search of the real, possibly nonexistent, official park guest house. We found it but for another 3 – 6 months I’d say fully self contained camping would be the way to visit this gem.

Next Time
I want to spend a week there next time. Its one of the few NPs that, partly because its off the beaten track in mountainous terrain, is not plagued by the problems that result when pastoralists search for feed and water for their heards in the dry season. There is great diversity of wildlife here. I think being onsite in the early morning or at sunset would be most rewarding.

New Roads
The road from Bonga to Chida, the junction town nearest Chebera Churchura NP, is under reconstruction and not passable. There were lengthy stretches of road around Chida and Ameya being widened and paved. Chebera Churchura will soon be more easily accessed from Bonga.

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