On Feb 24, 2013 we wanted to visit the three rock-hewn churches at Teka Tesfai in Tigrai. Entrance fee to Petros & Paulos, Medhane Alem Kesho and Mikael Milhaizengi was increased to Birr 150 per church per person (!!!), for a group of 15 no discount of any kind could be reached thus we decided to skip Petros & Paulos and visited only the other two. Since visiting these churches requires substantial walking in the villages, we were surrounded by local kids who soon started to demand money – Birr 10 for showing a nice view, Birr 10 for helping to walk 20 meters on the rocks. During the walk they started to throw stones. The two local guides also demanded more money than the pre-agreed fee (Birr 30 per guide was agreed, Birr 40 was given voluntarily, Birr 100 was demanded for no English and no factual guiding). By the time we reached the bus after visiting the other two churches it became almost dark. As we said goodbye to the two guides after a fierce battle over their fee and turned left to the
main road to Wukro, after a few hundred meters two stones hit the bus, one of which crashed a side window. Luckily the lady sitting by the window could jump away but the window crashed. We placed a police report in Wukro. While the churches are astonishing and are must-see, locals are very unfriendly. It would be great if Bradt could figure out what happens with those thousands of Birrs handed over to the priests on a daily basis and warn future travellers of the aggressive locals.
Suzanne writes: Prices have all gone up, some by more than 100%. Below I’ve listed the page number (5th Edition) , hotel and new price in order as we travelled around.
553 Ambo Abebech Matafaria Hotel Twin Room 295 B
575 Across the street from Classic Café – new Hotel called Desalegan Hotel Twin 330 B, Manager Ms Tigist 0911 820 175 reception 0576 616 262.
560 Jimma Central Hotel Twin Room 304 B, The swimming pool was clean – my 9yr old happily swam in it.
153 Addis Ababa Mr Martin’s Cozy Place Family Room 340 B, Internet 35c per minute ( not 50c). Extremely clean and extremely well run by Dawit ( no longer German owned). Extremely good value and was NEVER loud ( we stayed there 3 times over 5 nights)
204 Bahir Dar Ghion Hotel ( the darkest , dingiest place I have seen) Twin/ triple 400 B
225 Gonder Queen Taitu Twin 280 B
226/7 Gonder Golden Gate Bar and Restaurant does not offer Chinese food, Tuscany no longer exists – now called Habesha (groovy place), Roman Hotel does not sell icecream
238 Debark Simien Park Hotel Triple 400 B
256 Axum Africa Hotel Triple 300 B
268 Yeha Entrance 100 B
290 Gheralta Gheralta Lodge EXCELLENT Triple $70 (inc Breakfast), 120 B for a 5 course Dinner
291 Abuna Yemata Guh 100 B entrance
291 Debre Maryam Korkor 100 B entrance
292 Abuna Abraham Debre Tsion Horrible Priest – wanted a 50 B tip and was not going to open the church door. We gave him 15 .Only bad experience we had with the priests and the churches – all the others were fine and took a tip after our visit
356/7 Lalibela Seven Olives Poor value – dark + musty rooms Twin $42; Timkat Twin $100; Asheton Better value Twin 500 B for 3, ohers reported paying 350 B for a couple
444 Hosaina Heme Hotel Twin 276 B
511 Arba Minch Bekele Mola 800 B for db room + dinner (2 course) + breakfast; Paid extra 100 B for mattress. We really didn’t like this place – very isolated and apart from the view – nothing special. The meals were some of the most expensive that we saw in Ethiopia and since our fee only included 2 people , we had to pay extra for our daughter to eat and it was expensive ( so were the drinks). I would not recommend that place to individuals – OK for big groups but just stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Had to go to the doctor in Arba Minch and was recommended to go to Abaya Medical Clinic ( near the bus station) by an English nurse who works in Arba Minch. Good service.
516 Chencha + Dorze Obligatory 150 B entrance fee to Chencha market. Initially said that it included entrance inside Dorze home as well and then asked for more money so that needs to be clarified. We did not pay more money. Dorze homes are 100% made of bamboo + grass – they are not made of enset ( false banana) leaves. The guides were adamant of that. The market in Chencha is Tuesday ( not Monday) + Saturday. Meskel is celebrated in Dorze on 27th September ( not 1st October)
552 Konso Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge Looked like a dump; Ate the worse meal I had in Ethiopia at the restaurant; It was so bad that I refused to pay for it. Karat Konso Villages – Drivers tend to take tourists to a closer village called Gamole (7kms). Obligatory 150 B Guide + 60 B per vehicle + 50 B per person entrance
532 Key Afar + Dimeka markets Obligatory 150 B guide
536 Buska Lodge in Turmi Double US $100 ( including breakfast); Twin $ 105; Double camping with spring mattress $ 50 ( no breakfast); Double camping with mattress on ground $ 15 ( good value); Single camping with spring mattress $ 35; Single camping with mattress on ground $ 10
541 Kolcho to visit the Karo tribe 350 B village entrance + 150 B guide (obligatory)
504 Yabello Yabello Motel Large twin 863 B ( book says 200 B)
533 Arbore Tribe Wanted 200 B village entrance + 150 B non English speaking guide (didn’t stop)
463 Wondo Ganet Wabe Shabelle Hotel Twin 606 B week day
– After a negative experience with the staff there, I would not recommend Queen Taitu Pension in Gonder to solo female travellers
– Minibuses between Gonder and Bahir Dar now run regularly from the bus stations in each town, costing around 65ETB
– Entrance fees in Gonder are now 100ETB, 75ETB students
– Axum also offers a student discount, and price has not changed since previous edition
– It is no longer necessary to reconfirm domestic flights a day in advance
– prices of most Lalibela hotels have increased by 50-100% from the book; admission to the churches is now 350ETB
– While safe, Bahir Dar does seem to entail more hassling and cat-calling for solo female travellers than most other towns in Ethiopia
– For vegetarians: it’s true that Lent is the best time of year to travel, when getting food will be easy, cheap and delicious. However, the time immediately following Lent is the worst, as Ethiopians stop fasting altogether (even on Wednesday and Friday) for a period and it becomes very difficult to find vegetarian food beyond the default shiro or firfir, if that.