December 2015 trip report (Hawassa, Bale, Awash, Guassa)

Many thanks to Ray and Joyce for this very detailed trip report from their 9th (!) trip to Ethiopia, using the new 7th edition of the Bradt Guide

 

Addis Ababa

Caravan hotel; good hotel with shuttle bus pickup service from the airport

 

Hawassa

Lake View Hotel had no room available when we arrived at 20:00 in spite of our booking.

Oasis hotel; okay for 733 birr for a large room incl breakfast and wifi

 

Hawassa – Aposte – Negele Borena

Take the road from Hawassa further south and take the junction at Aposte direction Negele. Till Aposte there is roadconstruction going on, after Aposte till Negele is a very good new asphalt road with beautiful scenery.

Saturday market in Bore.

Bongo: best tibbs ever, restaurant on the right side with a small butcher shop attached.

 

Negele Borena

Turaco hotel was fully booked.

Maereg hotel; room for 805 birr, no breakfast available, incl wifi, no water to flush the toilet, shower oké, staff not friendly.

Gooshi restaurant is the place to be.

a little bit further than Gooshi are very nice and busy breakfast restaurants (we were there at 7:30) seating outside.

 

Dola Mena

Bassufigaad hotel; 90 birr for clean room, nice staff, cold water shower, no toilet in room. Diner/breakfast available.

Breakfast; direction Bale Mountains, at the end of the town, on the left side of the road, you find the best ambesha (local bread) we found during our trip. Just ask around. It is behind a metal plated fence.

 

Bale Mountain lodge

Beautiful but expensive lodge. The rate in high season is $ 290 + 10 (park bed levy) per person per night and not per room, so for 2 persons it wil be $ 600 for a night, incl guide, food and drinks. When you haven’t made a reservation you can always ask for a last minute rate.

Made a 2 hour walk to Mt Gushuralle with a wide view, 1,25 hour walk back to the lodge.

 

Goba

Wabe Shebelle hotel; the rates are higher then published in the 7th edition. We paid $ 40 after negotiation, they first asked $ 45. I noticed no difference to the rooms from our first visit in 2006………..

Restaurant; Baltina, ask for directions, it is of the mainroad.

Nice horse riding excursion from Dinsho to the Web Valley, 7 hours incl rest.

Walk excursion from Dinsho to the Gaysay grasslands with close encounters with Mountain Nyala’s, warthogs, wattled ibis, klipspringers etc.

 

Goba – Goro – Sof Omar – Ginnir

Road was bad but at the moment road construction is going on.

Sof Omar; entrance fee of 300 birr pp, we argued and walked away (we have been there before), then were allowed for 150 pp excl 50 birr for the guide.

Ginner; decided to overnight in Ginner because the trip took longer than expected.

Bale Tourist hotel; truckers hotel, 100 birr, incl wifi, lot of chat chewing going on, no toilet, shower full with mosquito’s.

 

Ginnir – Sheik Hussein – Wabe Shebelle Gorge – Asbe Teferi = 366 km

Long road, preferably overnight at Sheik Hussein

Sheik Hussein; 80 birr entrance fee pp + 150 birr for a English speaking guide (former teacher).

 

Wabe Shebelle Gorge; Beautiful scenery

see for more information:   http://balemountains.org/multi-day-driving-itineraries/

from Sheik Hussein to Hawi Gudina we there was no traffick, but we saw several people and small settlements.

Sheik Hussein – bridge 1         7 km

Bridge 1 – bridge 2                  27 km

Bridge 2 – bridge 3                  26 km

Bridge 3 – Hawi Gudina          17 km

Hawi Gudina – Mechera          68 km

Mechera – Gelemso                 35 km

Gelemso – Bedesa – Asbe Teferi         73 km

 

Asbe Teferi

Burka hotel, 200 birr, rundown room, bathroom with toilet and warm shower.

 

Awash

Hotel Buffet d’Aouache, new well maintained annex, very nice room for 308 birr. Restaurant is in the old building (walkingdistance across the railway).

 

Awash – Doho lodge – Duleche – Ankober

This route is described in the 7th Edition, from north to south. We did the route the other way and had a hard time finding the startingpoint of the route and ended up at the new Doho lodge. The manager new the road we had to take: back to the asphalt road, turn left direction sugar factory. Ask there for the right turn to Duleche.

The route was harder to travel than expected, especially when we came across junctions and had no clue which one to take. It’s Afar territory and they don’t have a good reputation, but we found the Afar very helpful. It’s a beautiful trip but think twice before going with only one car and without a guide.

 

Ankober

Ankober Palace Hotel; the first night we were the only guests, $ 65 for single, $ 85 for 2 persons, incl breakfast. Beautiful rooms with warm shower and spectacular views.

Sometimes no electricity, no generator. Excursions expensive.

Very nice Thursday market in Aliyu Amba.

 

Debre Birhan

Eva hotel has a new name, telephonenumber and owner:

Getva hotel                  Tel.nr: 011-6375040

Rates new wing: single 629, king 834, twin 1047

Rates old wing: single 335, twin 587

 

Debre Birhan – Tarmabir – Guessa plateau -Mehal Meda

The road from Tabernat to Mehal Meda is bad, near Mehal Meda it is under construction.

Guassa Community Lodge; 300 birr pp + 100 entrance fee for park pp. Nice rooms with common shower/toilet.

They are building 2 tukuls with private bathroom, will be ready in a few months.

Aryam Hotel in Mehal Meda is closed at the moment. The other hotels in Mehal Meda are very basic.

The new road to Ataye is open en a very recommended scenic drive.

 

 

 

Amei’s updates

BAHIR DAR : avoid the Abai Minch Hotel, rats and a security guard who might be a danger for solo women. Avoid Daniel, who hangs around the bus station and helps with the luggage and then lies and cheats. Also avoid Efrain who maintains that he is an ornithologist, he is NOT

GONDER; they have the excellent system of bread vouchers, but only buy them from the official office. Somebody sells them at 10 times the price and tries to persuade you to buy books for a street child. He will only sell them afterwards.

SIMIEN MOUNTAINS; a guide who was very reliable and flexible: Mitiku Dessie, email: mit08_2009@yahoo.com, tel. +251 918077466

AXUM; an excellent, very professional guide was Solomon Belay, email: solomuna01@yahoo.com, tel. mob.+251914743768, res. +251-0347751572 I especially enjoyed the long walk outside of Axum with him.

GHERALTA LODGE: a delight, excellent food. The tel. number for reservation has changed: 0171828973200

LALIBELA; the new Holy Land Restaurant serves excellent food, terrace with nice view, friendly. But very slow if there are several guests at the same time. Beware of „shoe shine boys“ and their sad stories. Many are super liars.

BATI; the Monday market is really worth the trip.

BALE MOUNTAINS; Bale Mountain Lodge is totally run down. Nothing but negative comments in the guest book. Their reaction; they tore out the remaining pages in the book.No food. But a friendly lady cooks in her own house nearby and takes it to the lodge. Good but far too expensive. Ask about the price before agreeing.

GOBA: Teodros was a good guide, very well educated. Tel. 0912468703

MIDRE: there is now a new hotel, the old one is really really basic.

NEGELE BORENA: Children Village Hotel is the only one with hot showers. A nice hotel without a name is just opp. the bus station. Green gate. Very clean, 70 Birr

DILLA: I found the walk to the Manchiti rock engravings worth it but do see the tourist office first, nobody I met knew anything about these engravings, they call them Schape.

ARBA MINCH: I was totally fed up with all the cheating going on. Restaurants charge different prices for English menus and Amharic menus. Esp. The Soma Restaurant charges much more .The Tourist Office is negligeable.

KONSO: Strawberry Field Lodge: in beautiful setting. But we found the owner amazingly unfriendly and unhelpful, we would not stay there again.

BONGA: „Massai“ was an excellent guide.

NEMTELE: there is a new hotel opp. The Classic Cafe, Hotel Desselegn, excellent value at 160 Birr. Very clean, hot showers, very professional.

ADDIS: a new museum, very moving ,Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum, opened in 2010, corner of Bole and Meskel Square

excellent accommodation, but only 3 rooms, private, no sign outside. Very friendly family, helpful, very clean, ring 0911735730, they will meet you. Near Axum Hotel.

Entoto Maryam is very easy to reach, many mini buses go up to the very top. It is nice walking down into town.