Jan Jackers, the owner of this new lodge, beautifully situated on the rim of Chitu Crater Lake in the southwest of Abijata-Shalla National Park (less than an hour’s drive west of Shashemene), with a view over Shalla Lake to the north, has just let me know it will formally open on 18 Oct 2015. For more details, check out http://10000flamingoslodge.com.
I was in Ethiopia for 2 and a half months for research from mid July 2014 – end September 2014, but also did some travelling. I did a lot in public transport, for which information is sometimes scarce so I have added some info here, though it is usually quite easy to get information by asking around a bit. Note that the prices that I have put here is what I was charged in Summer 2014, however prices are variable depending e.g. on market days, type of bus taken for transport, prices also vary for peak/off peak seasons, e.g. for hotels , I was there in the off-season.
Their office on Meskel square in Addis does exist but is hard to find, and we found the man bad tempered and unhelpful…maybe it just wasn’t his day…and told us that there were no tickets left on the bus, however we went to the office at Itegue Taitu hotel in Piassa and the lady was very helpful and got us tickets for the bus we wanted.
Took Skybus from Addis – Hawassa and back, a good bus service that leaves on time and is a good price, though there is constantly noise from film/music/standup comedy that they play for the whole bus, so earplugs are worthwhile if you want some quiet. For toilet breaks, the bus just stops on the side of the road somewhere quiet. Also receive a small snack & drink.
They are also very flexible, we had almost illegible tickets (through water destruction) for a Friday, we had tried changing the date, however no-one was around in the Hawasa office and on the phone they just told us to turn up at the busstop at 6am on the Sunday, the day we wanted to leave. After we explained the situation, they accepted our ruined tickets for the wrong day and allowed us to travel! Great!
I took it from Bahir Dar – Addis, same comments as Sky bus.
Generally speaking, if you are careful, there should not be a problem, but there are the odd people that will try to take things from you. In 10 weeks, only 2 attempts were made to take my things (luckily both failed!). In Addis a group of boys distracted me on one side while one of them puts their hands into your pockets on the other side. Even so I continued to keep e.g. phone in my pocket throughout my travels, but I was careful. In minibuses & public transport, if you have bags with you, keep an eye on them (or if you travel with big bags/rucksacks, just avoid keeping important things in them, or if you must, then put them in the least accessible places). I had a small rucksack that I had put by my feet in a minibus, and later caught a man’s hand in it! Luckily I had tied up the inside opening well and he couldn’t access anything, but it is better to keep smaller bags on your lap.
Another friend had his phone stolen by a group of men in a bajaj, clearly they were working together with the driver. He only realised after.
– Tea and coffee in local places almost always comes automatically with sugar already in the drink, although some places more used to foreigners will put sugar aside.
– In hotels, if you like hot showers, one of the 1st things you should do is turn the boiler on as it often takes some time for the water to heat up.
– Cappuccinos don’t have coffee – it is hot milk with a little cocoa powder
SHASHEMENE AND HAWASSA
I enjoyed Hawassa, it is a nice, clean town, and the lake is beautiful.
Paradise hotel – Great location near to the minibus station, good for early starts. It is a nice place but the bar next door is very (very) loud, but otherwise is good value for money
Hawassa to Shashemene and back
10 birr, 20-30min
NOTE – in Shashemene there are 2 bus stations. The minibus from Hawassa goes to the Old bus station
The rainy season is not the best time to go – we were there in mid-August & it rained every afternoon.
Shashemene to Dinsho/Robe and back
100 birr in minibus – if you go to Dinsho, you still must pay the price for Robe. It takes 2h30 from Shashamane – Dinsho.
The buses between Shashamane and Robe arrive and leave from the New bus station.
This is where the Bale Park forest office is, and also where you can get guides. It is at the end of the town (Robe side). It is possible to stay in the Dinsho lodge, but we did not do this as we had heard that it wasn’t great and that it was expensive. From the outside it looks okay so maybe things have changed.
Tuesday is a market day
Dinsho – Robe
11 birr in minibus, 20-30min (15 birr on market day)
We decided to stay in Robe instead of Dinsho as a point de depart for the Bale Mountains.
Public transport between Dinsho & Robe is easy, although we once had difficulty getting a minibus back to Robe at 4pm, although that may be due to the market that there was in Dinsho. It can sometimes be easier picking up a minibus on the side of the road instead of from the bus station in Dinsho.
Thursday is a market day in Robe.
– Abdama hotel – 300/night for 2 single beds (they call it a double). It is fairly clean & comfortable, but shower isn’t great (there is hot water, but not much water comes out of showerhead at a time) & they don’t give much toilet paper. Note: They lock the gate so if you must leave before 7am someone must come and open for you. Good location near the bus station.
– Hanni café is nice, as is the Harar bar and restaurant opposite which seems popular for tibs BUT be careful in Robe asking for tibs, as you may be presented instead with a plate of chips!
The park management advise against using public transport for the Sanetti plateau, and from experience, I will agree with them, unless you have time or plan it well! Getting there was easy however returning was a problem.
From Robe you must go to Goba (5 birr, minibus, 15 min). Sometimes there can be very long queues so if you are continuing to Sanetti, then it is best to leave early (I would suggest about 7am, as we were there at 9am it was far too late).
From Goba, take a bus direction Dolo Mena, and get off at Sanetti campsite (your guide will know it; 60 birr in a public bus, about 1.5hrs; we had 50birr for luggage). It is standard to pay the price of the whole trip to Dolo Mena. Try to leave as early as possible, it took a long time for our bus to fill up, but I don’t think it was the 1st bus that left.
For the return from Sanetti to Robe/Goba – you must wait on the side of the road and wait for a passing bus/truck/car that is willing to take you. We waited all afternoon once and had nothing, and were forced to spend an extra night on the plateau. The afternoon is a bad time for getting transport here although you may get lucky. It is easier to get transport in the morning, we ended up getting picked up by a truck (we were 3 people, 2 travellers and 1 guide).
NORTHERN CIRCUIT (MEKELE-WOLDIA-LALIBELA-BAHIR DAR)
Diana hotel – Near the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Decent place, but price variable (100birr for a man & woman to share, 150birr for two of the same sex to share). The shower & toilet are shared, but are clean enough.The manager Tesfay is friendly and helpful and can help you out with problems.
Merkeb hotel – We paid 130birr (although according to another couple we met, they paid 100….maybe it was because we were 2 females).Cleanish but I prefered the Diana hotel, which is better for a very similar price, however you can’t beat Merkeb’s location next to the bus station (for southerly destinations), and close to Selam bus stop, particularly useful for early travellers.
Mekele to Hawzen & back (via Wukro)
Take bajaj in Mekele to the Lachi bus station & can get a minibus from there
To return: it is difficult to get a minibus back after 3pm
Good base for visiting rock hewn churches (of which Abuna Yemata & Debre Maryam Korkor are definately worth visiting, particularly if you also enjoy hiking a bit, the views are wonderful!). It is also possible to arrange longer hiking trips over several days (or even weeks I think) to less accessible churches.
Gheralta lodge – it is by far the nicest place to stay, and worth it (1300birr/ night for a room with 3 single beds, private bathroom, and includes a great breakfast)
Vision hotel – Recently opened (end of August 2014) and is nice and clean, the manager is friendly and speaks good English. No running water, but this was a problem in the whole village at that particular moment (130birr / room/ night with private bathroom). I am sceptical about how long the hotel will stay in good condition as some material in the bathroom seems a little flimsy.
Mekele – Woldia (Weldiya)
I ended up having to take several minibuses to get here, although I think it is possible to get bigger buses directly if you arrive in time at the bus station (big bus leaves at 6am)
Mekele – Mohia: 45birr, about 2hrs
Mohia – Alamata: 20birr, about 1hr
Alamata – Woldia: about30birr, about 2hrs
Woldia is quite a nice but plain small town – I enjoyed climbing one of the hills for a very nice view of the town, although I would have preferred to have headed straight onto Lalibela (unfortunately I missed the last buses)
Jordanos hotel – Clean, nice. Didn’t have hot water but think I was just unlucky with a broken boiler.
Woldia – Lalibela and Lalibela – Bahir Dar
Woldia – Gashena then Gashena – Lalibela
Buses between these destinations tend to overcharge farenji. On my return trip Gashena – Lalibela I was asked to pay 70 birr, the locals paid 40. On my trip from Gashena to Bahir Dar, I was asked to pay 200birr, negotiated this to 150 birr, however the locals only paid 80birr.
Bahir Dar & the Blue Nile Falls
I had heard that a lot of people were disappointed with the Blue Nile Falls because of lack of water (due to a hydropower plant) however I went in mid September at the end of the rainy season and thought that they were really superb.
Minibuses around Addis
Prices are more expensive later at night. It is difficult to get the minibuses after 9.30pm. They don’t tend to overcharge farenji. For some idea of prices:
Stadium – Haya Hulet: 4 birr
Haya Hulet – Arat Kilo: 4 birr
Stadium – Global (Kira direction): 6 birr
Arat Kilo – Bole: 3 birr
Arat Kilo – Shiro Meda: 3 birr
Arat Kilo – Piazza: 1.5 birr
Arat Kilo – Meganegna: 3 birr
Arat Kilo – Stadium: 3 birr
Stadium – Kaliti bus station: 10 birr
Many people like this place, I did not. I found the lakes very dirty, with lots of rubbish, except if you are in a lodge or restaurant on the side of the lake, and my travel partner and I got harassed quite a bit.
Kaliti bus station to Bishoftu: 12-15 birr
– Try to leave in the morning. Often I found buses would leave at 6am, and you would have to arrive earlier to take tickets.
– Make sure you aren’t in a hurry, the buses can sometimes take quite some time to fill up (Often they fill up fairly quickly, but it isn’t always the case)
– Often they will charge you more for luggage (but not always)
Thanks to Michael Pinet for this wonderfully detailed and informative trip report:
We have read and studied the Bradt guide again and again to prepare our 2011 and 2014 trips to Ethiopia and it was the only guide we took with us. We like its thoroughness, accuracy and personal touch. However here is some updated detailed information I would have liked to find either in the latest edition or on the internet. I have also added some impressions about our own experience. I hope it will be valuable to people planning a visit to Ethiopia.
Goba is no longer the hub of the Bale area, Robe is. This the place where minibuses leave for and arrive from Shashemene. Bekele Mola hotel (250 birrs for 2 people in a single room with hot shower) is still fairly good value with its bungalows. As usual in Ethiopia, the bathroom is in poor condition.
The organization of a trek in the Bale mountains is not done through the park headquarters, dealing with civil servants , as in the Simiens but through the Nyala Guide Association next to it. So you need to be very clear and check twice what you really want as English is often misunderstood and they are keen to charge you for extra days, etc. The price are as follows :
– guide 300 birrs per day
– horse 120 birrs per day
– horse handler 170 birrs per day
– cook 400 birrs per day
– tent + sleeping bags 400 birrs per night (rented by a guide’s friend!), expensive but quite
– entrance fee 90 birrs per day / per person
– camping fee 40 birrs per night
If you do not walk back to your starting point, Dinsho, then you have to pay extra days for the horses and handlers. Logical. The same with the guide or cook unless they use your car or minibus to go back.
For a 5-day trek for 2 people you will need to add 1500 birrs (same amount in the Simiens 2 years ago) for the food which the cook will buy (you feed the whole group, of course as in the Simiens but you can tell the cook what you want to eat). He will also supply the cooking equipment.
You might need a car or minibus to pick you up at Sanetti Campsite, at the end of your trek to take you back to Robe, Goba or Dinsho. We paid 1900 birrs (a guide’s friend again). Expensive as usual, but it is the same all over Ethiopia and when you take into account the poor conditions of the roads it is acceptable.
We did the usual 5-day trek
– Dinsho – Sodota campsite (22k / 3100m to 3500m)
– Sodota – Keyrensa campsite (20k / 3750m)
– Keyrensa – Rafu campsite (17k + 4k to visit spectacular lava flow / 3990m)
– Rafu – Garba Guracha campsite (18k / 3950m)
– Garba Guracha – Mt Batu (4200m) – Sanetti campsite where a hired minibus picked us up
That was absolutely great! Not breathtaking as the Simiens was, due to the tracks often along the escarpment, but majestic because of the huge scopes of land and varied landscapes. No problem whatsoever with altitude, etc. and we are both over 65. Contrary to the Simiens there is no water at the campsites and there is a cold northerly wind (you can’t keep a T-shirt on as you would in the Simiens, you need warmer clothes and a woolly hat, especially the last 3 days!). The cook, Idris, was competent and nice and so was the guide, Awol.
They all expect tips as they would in Ethiopia. A day’s fee is the norm as I read in Bradt’s guide when we did the Simiens, so a day’s fee it was and they were pleased.
Wabe Shebelle hotel in Goba is nice, clean, with pleasant grounds (454birrs for a single room for 2, breakfast included).
Shalla hotel : good quality, clean, nice. 250birrs for a single room for 2 people. Not far from bus station
Midroc Zewed Village hotel (called Old Zewed Village now) is just as mentioned in Bradt guide. It is a haven of green, quiet and relaxing, thriving with wild life . We spent our late afternoons sitting by the lake and watching cormorants, Egyptian geese, egrets and kingfishers endlessly . The bungalows are roomy with still decent bathrooms. The manager told us he was planning to pull everything down and rebuild it. Let’s hope he will keep its unique atmosphere. A bungalow with a double bed is 414 birrs, breakfast included. The fish market is not to be missed and neither is the superb walk along the lake, full of life. Had a good meal at the Pinna hotel as mentioned in guide.
Be careful with the freshly appointed civil servant called Astbeha at the Tigrai tourist commission in Wukro. He blatantly overcharged us and is unknowledgable . He offered to be our guide for 275 birrs a day, which we found reasonable , yet it turned out to be the fee per person! (Our fault, I assume for not making things clear at the beginning!). However he proved to have no knowledge whatsoever about the churches we visited and made us miss the opportunity to visit Debre Tsion through lack of information.
It is important to know that you need a guide from the Gheralda Guide Association in Hawzien to visit the churches nearest Hawzien, namely Mariam Korkor and Abuna guebre Mikael as far as we were concerned. We were pleased to get rid of our “guide” for a proper one .
We used Wukro as a base for our 3 day visit and used a minibus (1500 birrs a day) with a competent, nice, responsible driver (Sishay Degu 09 14 49 07 06). Here again it sounds expensive yet the distances are important and the roads are just tracks most of the time. What’s more the driver accompanied us in all the visits and was a good help in discouraging the usual kids and teens .
Day 1 : Mikael Imba and Medhane Alem Adi Kasho
Day2 : Abreha We Atsbeha and Yohannis Maikudi (Debre Tsion could have been done!)
Day3 : Maryam Korkor and Abuna Gebre Mikael
Each church charges 150birrs per person and a receipt is given . Most of the priests do not ask for a tip and all have been very pleasant, sharing some injera and wot with us on two occasions.
Tigrai is not to be missed for the churches of course but also for the landscape and the walks which can be just as good as the churches themselves (the walk to Mariam Korkor in particuliar).
Lwam hotel is clean and pleasant (300birrs for a single room for 2)
Wenchi crater from Ambo
Abebech Matafaria hotel in Ambo is clean, very nice with welcoming grounds (285birrs for a single room for 2 with a good hot shower)
We paid 1100 birrs for a minibus to take us to Wenchi crater and back, a 1.5 hour drive each way on a bumpy track, leaving at 8.30 and coming back at 4.30. A good price negotiated through the hotel receptionist. It should have been 1500 birrs.
Did a superb 5-hour walk down to the lake, across to the island of Deber by boat , then to Immogil point by boat again , then along the Dawala hot spring valley with its watermills, back up to the park headquarters.
– car park fee :30 birrs
– entrance fee : 50 birrs per person
– guide : 200 birrs
– boat : 50 birrs per person
– horse and handler = 50 birrs (we hired them to contribute to the local economy but we didn’t
really need them and hardly used them )
A very scenic place with a nice and clean village and friendly people.
2 hours by minibus from Addis from Asco bus station or Mercato .
– No maps or guide available anymore (Bale mountains national park, Wenchi crater, Tigrai
– Dallas hotel in Mekele is dirty, smelly, not worth the 200birrs for a single room for 2. And we are
not fussy people in the least! The small Moringa hotel next door is much better with friendly staff
yet more expensive (300 birrs)
– Sky buses are still efficient with friendly staff in their ticket offices but the buses are deteriorating
fast and drivers do not seem as cautious as they were. We saw a huge difference in 2 years’ time
and not for the better (cockroaches in one, worn out clutch and creaking gears in another)!
I made a fifteen days trip with my wife and some other Dutch tourists, organized by a Dutch agency via the Ethiopian agency Greenland Tours.
We started in Addis, flew to Harar, spend two nights there, then drove to the south, with overnight stops in Nazareth, Dinsho, Goba, Awassa, Konso, Jinka, Mago NP campsite, Turmi three nights, Arba Minch two nights, then back to Addis.
Security = Ethiopia feels very safe. Never felt threatened. No thefts. Only town where I thought someone was following us in the street, and where I met an American man whose passport and money were stolen, was in Awassa.
Economy = Ethiopia looks booming! Everywhere you see new buildings being built. Road works to improve the infrastructure in many different places. There is more and more asphalt.
Harar = Lovely city to spent two days. Special atmosphere in those little alleys. Visited Rimbaud house and Harari cultural house. Good lunch at the popular restaurant “Cozy – pizzeria and coffee”, about 50 meters away from the equally good and popular Fresh Touch restaurant (same side of the street), mentioned in your book on page 418. We went to see the “new hyena man”. Weird to see, but still worth it. We stayed in the Heritage Hotel, was good. From the terrace of our hotel, at the end of an afternoon we saw a hyena walking between the gardens below. We payed 20 birr for a tuktuk ride from the city centre to our hotel.
Between Harar and Nazareth we visited the big khat market in Aweday.
Awash NP = saw crocodiles down in the river from the lodge near the Falls. In the park we saw kudu, wart hog, gazelle and many beautiful oryxes.
Nazareth Rift valley hotel = hotel looked nice, good restaurant, but the room we had at the second floor was shabby, dark and dusty and there was no water in the bathrooms during the whole evening.
Shashemene = lunch in restaurant Lily of the valley was good, they had special juices i had never seen before, maybe Caribbean/rasta.
Dinsho = spent a night in the Dinsho lodge. Made a log fire in the lounge, but after a while the whole lounge was full of smoke! At night temperature dropped to about minus 2 celsius. Next morning made a lovely walk with a very knowledgeable ranger. Saw wart hog and many endemic mountain nyalas, as well as francolins, white tailed ibis, bushbuck, yellow fronted parrot.
In the afternoon we drove to the very summit of Tullu Deemtu, 4377 meters, highest road in Africa. As far as I know, this is the only place in Africa where you can go above 4000 meters by car. (In my younger days, I used to hike African 4000+mountains: Kili, Mt Kenya, Ruwenzori, Meru, mt Cameroon, Toubkal Atlas, Karisimbi, …). Sanetti plateau is of great beauty. Ethiopia has such a huge diversity in landscapes, incredible.
We saw the Abyssinian wolf, mole rats, lammergeier, shelduck.
Spent the night in Webe Shebele hotel in Goba, very comfortable room. Condoms provided in the room!
On the right side of the road between Robe and Dodola, I visited the house of cave people in a place called Sebsebe Washa. You can see the rock from the road. The house is built against the rock, and once you are inside the house, you notice the house is connected to tunnels in the rock. I paid the owner a couple of birr to visit his house. Bring a torch light, cause it is very dark.
Awassa = spent the night in the very comfortable new Pinna hotel. Made a motor boat trip on the lake to the place where the hippos live, pretty expensive faranji prices.
Dilla = delicious mango and avocado juice in Rendez Vous restaurant.
From Dilla to Konso = I showed our driver the new road from Fisiha Genet to Konso, mentioned in your book and on our good Hungarian Gizi map, but he said the road was not good, he prefered to drive via Yabello.
Konso = Edget Hotel was pretty basic, no running water and no electricity when we were there, but the place is popular with locals, for a beer in the evening.
Omo valley = we visited villages and markets of ethnic groups like Hamar, Karo, Mursi, Konso, Ari, Dassanetch and Arbore. Price of a picture was mostly 2, 3 or 4 birr. Communication was difficult. I found a very basis Hamar word list on the internet, the people liked it when i spoke some of their words. That was always good to break the ice and make the people smile.
On page 533 you write that Arbore is “far more rustic and unaffected than many similarly sized towns in south Omo”. Probably times have changed, because the Arbore people standing along the road, waiting to be photographed, were the most pushy. They surrounded me, kept on pulling my arms, etc, nothing bad, but far from unaffected. Lots of jeeps with tourists when we were there. We were one of them.
Turmi Evangadi camp site = showers were always working. Not a bad place to camp. Lots of bees though in the open air restaurant.
Mago NP = on the road to the camp site we saw baboons, dikdiks, guinea fowls. At the camp site lovely black and white colobuses. End of afternoon we made a game drive, starting behind the Colobus camp site, crossing the river by car, and then through high grass. So high that soon our main concern was not finding animals, but finding the track. I think we were the first car there since long. The armed scout walked ahead of our car, to look for the track. During two hours of game drive, we saw 1 dikdik, thousands of tse tse like flies and one sad lonely turtle, that was all. So dont go to Ethiopia for the animals, but for the people! And when we found that turtle or tortoise, our local guide who had been to the Mursi village with us, lift the poor animal from the ground, hold it above his head, put it back on the ground and then put his feet on it. I think Ethiopia has still quite a lot to learn as far as nature conservation policy is concerned!
Omorate = had to go to an office where an official checked our passports and wrote our names in a notebook. Local guide asked us 100 birr to cross the Omo river, two ways. Your guide book says “a few birr”. Probably faranji price, we did not bargain. No police escort necessary.
Way back in Konso = had lunch in new Kanta Lodge, looks very beautiful, nice tokuls, nice garden. Extremely crowded, all the landrovers with faranji stopped there for lunch.
Arba Minch = lovely boat trip to see the huge crocodiles, very exciting, many fish eagles, goliath heron. Swaynes Hotel definitely misses character, isolated place, no locals, a small bottle of water costs one euro, and there was no running water for a big part of the day. Very nice atmosphere however in Tourist hotel in lower town, popular with both locals and foreigners.
Nechisar NP = saw baboon, dikdik, yellow necked francolin, Grant gazelle, ground hornbill, ground squirrel, kudu, Burchells zebra, and all five remaining Swaynes hartebeest, hundred procent score.
Humbo = visited the thursday big cattle market, not many tourists, people dont ask money for pictures
Tiya stelae field = worth a visit if you are interested in history. Very knowledgeable guide who opened the doors for us.
I will preface this by saying I have probably driven close to a million miles in my life and I can honestly say that the trip from Shashemene to around Goba may have been the toughest drive I have ever made. I rented a Yamaha 600 Tenere during my stay in the country and it took everything the bike had and alot of skill to make it through this road in one piece. There was new road construction going on for the first part of the road which appears will be very nice if it ever gets built but from what I could learn that may be a while. Driving in Ethiopia is an unreal experience in and of itself and if you don’t have quite a bit of skill I would say leave the driving to other folks. The trip from Addis to Dodola took me about 7 hours and from the pain in my back felt like I had been driving a lot longer (beautiful drive though).
I stayed in Dodola at the Bale Mountain Hotel. Nothing special but decent although the folks working the restaurant area were really, really slow but just grab a couple of your favorite beers and enjoy the nice surroundings. I did manage to find one decent place to listen to some music at I believe it went by the name of the Rose Motel or something close to that, it was probably 400-500 meters down the road from the hotel in the Dinsho direction.
The trip from Dodola to Dinsho took me about 6 hours (mind you I was driving extremely slowly due to road conditions and didn’t want to risk busting my tire out in the sticks). A beautiful, scenic drive nearly throughout. I stayed at the Dinsho Lodge, had a hard time finding someone to open a door to I just hung my mosquito hammock in the open area and slept there. The care takers of the park were wonderful. Anouska and Teddy invited me up to their house and cooked a nice dinner and had some good conversation. If they are still there I would recommend having a chat with them, very helpful with many things. They also set me up with places to stay on top of the Sanetti Plateau and in Rira which I was very thankful for. Saw several Nyala’s, some warthogs around the Inn and quite a bit of other wildlife as well.
From Dodola to Goba I can’t remember how long it took but not as long as the previous days travel. I stayed the first couple of nights at the Goba Wabe Shabelle Hotel. It was relatively expensive (172 Birr) but one of the nicer hotels that I stayed at. I moved after the 2nd night because it was on the outskirts of town and I wanted to stay in the town without having the long walk back at night to the hotel.I moved to the Yilma Hotel next to the Nyala bakery. It was undergoing some renovations for the better at this time by the new owner who also purchased the Nyala bakery. Nice guy who I think will make the place much nicer than it was at the time I stayed there (I think he gave me the Ethiopian rate of 30 Birr per night, think it was generally 60 Birr for faranji). The Nyala Bakery also had pretty good pastries and coffee as well. There is one internet cafe that I could find which is located right beside the City Cafe in a very small room. The connection never got to working during the daytime when I tried it though.