Having just come back from a great trip to Ethiopia using the 7th Edition of your guide, we thought that we would let you know about some of the things that have changed there. I’ll use the page numbers of the 7th edition in my comments below:
Restaurants: Ben Abeba – absolutely stunning location, excellent service and is currently building 4 special rooms for staying in (page 327).
Lalibela Cultural Centre Museum now has a lovely restaurant open daily with Ethio and Western food (page 328)
Restaurant/hotel: Buffet D’Aouache – rather run down now. New annex is not open very often. Food was not very varied but ok. (page 412).
Official guide: Hailu Gashaw (page 446) was simply the best guide we had in the whole country and we stayed in the Rowda Waber cultural guesthouse which he arranged for us – the Muslim landlady was so sweet and worked her socks off caring for her guests. One word of advice, if flying into Dire Dawa on the last flight of the day (from Addis) then getting a minibus to Harar that night is tight as the last ones leave from Dire Dawa city centre by about 6.30pm. It is a hairy ride of 1.5 hrs but cheap and an experience! The bus driver was able to speak to Hailu in order to arrange where he could pick us up from.
Juice bar (page 349): new one called Kudo – outside seating with wood panelling. Delicious fresh juices. Just off the main road in the town (heading towards airport).
Hotel: Remhai (page 347) – definitely on the wan with not a very clean pool and not many working electrical appliances in the huge bedrooms. Friendly and helpful staff however, who honoured our booking.combooking despite not having our booking on their computer system.
Lucy Cultural, AB Traditional Bar and Atse Kaleb Bar and Restaurant (page 349) were all excellent with great (safe) Ethio food.
Paradise Lodge was our luxury stay in our whole trip and it was beautiful – way better than Swaynes which was where we stayed in 2008.
We got fleeced by a scam agent who claimed to be working for a charity (GOAL) and we gave him money in advance for some coffee which we never received. We were very annoyed with ourselves for trusting him especially, as this was our second trip to Ethiopia and we did not ask him for any charity ID. We have been fundraising for Ethiopia for Hope International for many years so we were particularly disappointed that this only dishonest Ethiopian that we have met was using a charity to fleece tourists. We have informed the charity about him but it was obviously not worth telling the police!
We also used Ethiopian Airlines for all the flights and they were all excellent – smooth, on-time and no cancellations. We also found the Foreign Office website very helpful as they advised us not to travel to Bahir Dar and Gondar due to local tensions. Harar was a great alternative!