Janie Impey’s updates

Just come back from wonderful trip to Ethiopia – main problem was that we didn’t have enough time to do everything, so maybe this means going back!

We did follow the main historic route and I haven’t got our copy of the guide here to check whether in the main things were as suggested, but whilst I remember, we also visited (because it sounded worthwhile) the Wanzaye Hot Springs near to Bahir Dar. Did you ever go there? Although the setting is good – and we saw great sights on the way – the springs were inhabited by a lot of very ill people who had all come to take advantage of the hot water. It seemed inappropriate to take any photos but we were shown the 3 or 4 rooms – sexes segrated – where people infused in the warm water. Unfortunately I cannot find my notes but there was basically a daily fee payable and I think that they had two sessions in the water – quite long ones given the overall temperatures. We were also told that it was possible to stay in a separate block overnight. Yes, there were monkeys but I don’t think I would recommend a visit as it was rather sad to see so many unwell people there.

looking through some papers noticed that changing money on arrival at airport, interesting. Lady not able to do sums and you had to double check – most people given wrong amount! Then they shut and we went other side to collect bags, saw they were open again, but exchange rate second side not so good!

Hotel on Lake Babagaya (?Babagaya Resort Hotel) – beautiful position: over the top bathroom equipment – don’t stay in room down by lake – very noisy in evenings as bar terraces just beside them. Good breakfasts. Watch your valuables

Lalibela – enjoyed couple of lunches at Seven Olives – great setting and rooms looked good too.

Struggled to find cars to hire before we arrived: we used Galaxy – minivan from Axum was excellent: 4 x 4 Debark to Bahir Dar, dodgy and driver probably shouldn’t have been doing the job (lacking in confidence), but we got there.
Used Travel Ethiopia to do bookings – had tried to do them ourselves but very difficult getting hold of government hotels – good but chaotic, had to wait around 2 hours in Addis to get vouchers etc. Had varied guides through them.

Simien Lodge big disappointment. Food really not good – our kids camped and it sounded as though their food was far superior. Obliged to have a buffet at great expense one night and not much we wanted to eat on it!

Stopped at weaving community near Bahir Dar – very welcoming, very interesting, wonderful shawls, very pleased we’d visited there and that’s thanks to the book as we would not have come across it otherwise!