Off-the-beaten-track travel updates

Auke writes Here are some notes about my recent travels in Ethiopia.

1. Raya Valley, Tigray

Last September for the first time I went to the Raya Valley in Tigray. I stayed one night in the Tadele Hotel in Maychew, which is way overpriced (500 ETB) for what you get (a bed with bed bugs and a stinking bathroom without hot water). Much better to stay in the town of Mehoni, 17kms to the east in the lowlands, where there is the new Raya Hotel and you stay for 600 ETB in very clean rooms with how water around a cosy inside court yard with out-of-place beach umbrellas. The security situation in Raya Valley has recently deteriorated, due to ethnic tensions that are very real nowadays between Amhara and Tigray people.

2. Hotel Mekane Selam

For my work I sometimes go out of Addis Ababa for visiting projects. Last November I traveled from Bahir Dar to Mekane Selam to visit a white pea bean project around there. Mekane Selam has one decent hotel nowadays. its name is Hedase Hotel and it is located in front of the bus station. Rooms are 400 Ethiopian Birr per night. I also stayed one night in Mota; the Wubet hotel is still the best bet, although ridden with bed bugs.


3. Gundewein – Dejen

The road between Gundewein and Dejen has been almost fully paved now, except for the first 25 kms from Gundewein. Likely the full road will be paved during the lifespan of the next edition.

4. Modjo – Arerti – Sembo

There is a paved road from Modjo to the fertile lands around Arerti, where currently an Industrial Park for construction materials is being developed. The road remains paved when going through the gorge on the way to Mintamir and further up from there, but close to the summit at 3325 m it becomes a difficult rough road, that extends for another 30 – 40 kms, before it gets paved again in the last track towards Sembo. The Turkish are supposed to finish this road completely, but apparently there is a problem with the financing.

5. Shire Inda Selassie

By far the best hotel in Shire nowadays is the Bahre Negash Hotel, which lies on a hill overlooking the city and the new airport, which gives a fantastic view. Since it is a hotel managed by the army, it also seems to have subsidized prices because the value for money is splendid. The manager Solomon is overdoing his service to ferenjis which many people do not find comfortable, but you can never blame him for negligence.

6. Halaba Kulito

There is a very decent hotel now in the town of Halaba Kulito (junction town between Butajira and Sodo and Shashemene and Sodo) called Selam Ababa Hotel. The hotel costs ETB 600 – 800 for a standard room (forgot the exact price; we didn’t stay here in the end).

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