Feb 2017 trip report

Matt writes:

I used your excellent Bradt Guide to Ethiopia during a recent trip to that country and thought I would send a couple of updates for you and to post on your forum.

I spent 12 days travelling through the north of Ethiopia during February 2017, combining several different tours with a local agent.

Arrivals at Bole Airport. If you are getting a visa on arrival, try to be one of the first off the plane to beat the rather long queues. If you are being met for a transfer at arrivals, be aware that many if not most transfers are collected from the car park where the agent will wait, rather than from the arrivals hall. It would be worth confirming with any agent where you will be collected and ideally getting the phone number of whoever will be meeting you so as to avoid confusion. Less of a problem at the smaller regional airports.

Erta Ale. I visited in early February 2017 and apparently it had erupted a few weeks before, and the lava pool has drained and is no longer safe to visit. I was taken to another peak nearby (not Erta Ale and currently without a name) and walked to the summit at night as part of a large group. Although not as spectacular as Erta Ale, it was still a very large crater with lava shooting up into the air and as someone who hasn’t visited a volcano before, well worthwhile. I would recommend taking binoculars with you as it isn’t possible to get too close to the lava itself. The walk up isn’t overly strenuous but sturdy shoes are highly recommended.

Wukro. I stayed one night in the new Wukro Lodge in this town, as a base for exploring the rock churches in the Geralta region of Tigrai. Very highly recommended, both the accommodation and food were excellent and staff most helpful and costs for food very reasonable. This was the best hotel I stayed in whilst in Ethiopia and I was sorry not to have been able to stay for longer. It is on top of a hill with a track leading up to it which appears to barely be a track, and many locals aren’t aware of it, so not the easiest to find. Amazing views from the rooms and restaurant.

Axum and Lalibela tours. My tours began at 7.30am in both locations which meant my group were the only ones at most attractions and we pretty much had them to ourselves. An early start is highly recommended. Half a day is sufficient to do the main sights in Axum, and two half days in Lalibela worked well.

Changing money. Each hotel I stayed in was happy to change dollars at the prevailing rate.

Ethiopian Airlines. I found them to be excellent and in many respects better than BA (legroom, cost of flights, quality of food). No lost or delayed bags over 7 separate flights and connections. Would definitely use them again.

My tour was organised by ETT and notwithstanding some confusion over transfers (regardless of tour company I recommend reconfirming at each stage of any tour who will be meeting you next, where and when, which hotels you will be staying in etc, leaving nothing to chance) I found them to be flexible and accommodating and would use them again.

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One thought on “Feb 2017 trip report

  1. Linda Gray says:

    Did you receive discounts on domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines? Bradt guide mentions 60 percent discount if you arrive in the country on Ethiopian Airlines

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