Some current hotel prices

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

That’s a

Travel in Southern Ethiopia

We did a 2 weeks trip in South Ethiopia. This travel was less surprising and atonishing that the northen part (Lalibela, Simien).
Nevertheless, I would like to give update on the Dodola/Adaba lodges and also the Dinsho one.
Happy to start with Changeti as everything is perfect (clean, large tent, kindness…) thanks to the couple who is taking care of the lodge and even sweeping the cow dung up from grass.
But unfortunatly all the other ones (Angafu,Molichio and Duro) cannot be compared. Bed clothes are not clean and we needed to desinfect them before sleeping.
Duro was the worst as we could not stay in the dining room as the oven was expelling smoke instead of warming up the room. Windows panes of one bed room were broken.
Our local guide told us that these damages are dated back several weeks (or months?).
Question is to know who is responsible for the repairs as local farmers told us that they are not paid for that.
I will talk also of the Dinsho lodge where the owner (who keeps the bed rooms keys) was not there at 4.30pm and we had to wait 2 hours before he returns from town with our driver as he could not be contacted (his mobil was off). The following day was the same story with other guests.
I trust that this is a daily trip to town for drinking beers.
These comments are given in a positive/constructive way to avoid tourists just to notice (or most probably not) these disorders and nothing new happens even after the complains.
Could it be possible to write to The Tourism Organisation or Ministry of Tourism to explain our concern and let them know that if the situation persists, tourists will avoid coming to this marvellous mountains but do they care ?????..
I did not like at all the children dancing like Michael Jackson in the slop going to the Dorze village. Could we ask again (as you wrote many times in your guide) tourists not to give money.
In overall, I recommand the 5 hours trekking in the Wenchi crater and also Wondo Genet that deserves more than 1 day. I was disappointed by Awash Park where there is not so much to see
For the hotel, number 1 spot is SABANA in Langano, then Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch.
Ethiopia is a very fascinating country.

Robert Val

Rift Valley Updates

Langano Update August 2010.

1. Bekele Mola Hotel is closed – forclosed by a bank when B. Mola PLC put it up as collateral for a loan elsewhere… Watch this space to see if some entrepreneur will take over the jewel of BMs Rift Valley Chain and restore it to its 1970s number one spot!!!!

2. Abula Bassuma also seems to be closed. It’s large sign in Bulbulla village has gone.

3. SABANA is NOW the place to go. I had only eaten there in 08 and 09 but stayed 2 nights recently. Sabana hqs whqt you rarely get in Ethiopia, built in QUALITY. The whole place was designed by an engineer. The rooms are simply decorated and superbly practical. The stunning restaurant design deserves a prize. Book before you go – 0461191181 – they will give you a booking number and you pay at Topview, Blue Tops or Pit Stop in Addis. Cash only. Rooms $75 upwards – bit cheaper mid week. Prices quoted include tax/service. Turn left off Awassa road after 200km stone – clear signboard. NO CAMPING.

4. WABE SHEBELLE – ok if your budget wont stretch to Sabana!!!!! And you don’t mind litter all over the place, and dogs. Latest newish twin rooms c 392 birr – inclusive. Check toilet, showers, and lights work before accepting room. Designated camping area now appears to have many hotel tents up.

5. Wenney and Bishangari directions. 2009 Bradt Guide page 455.   This is wrong and confusing.   The road to both places is the same one. As stated it goes left off Awassa tarmac highway about 2km past Bekele Mola. Huge billboards mark the corner. Good gravel road for several KM; then a track.

Awassa Update August 2010.

1. Hailes Resort. North end of lakeside road. Well signposted. Bedroom design outstanding.   Hotel design could have been transported from Majorca ? Pool great as long as they can stop it going green. 100br to swim.   Nice sunbeds and great view from them. Local people complaining about high drinks prices – Gin and T = 88br. Rooms over $100 ??      To rent  high speed motor boat for quick return trip to new Lewi Resort– rumoured to be 750 br.

2. Lewi Resort. South end of lakeside roads – next to Wabe Shebelle 2 ( now “Midroc Village” !!!! )

About 12 amazing bungalows with “Best in Ethiopia” Interior design that even outdoes Haile’s bedrooms !!   Each has a huge circular double bed with two headboards between which sits your CD/TV control console.   Large flat screen TV. These are $146 plus 25% ?? but have NO real view of lake.

By the lake is a smallish block of rooms. Front ones with lake view and garden to lakefront are about $95 plus 25%; ones at rear no lake view $65 plus. This place is trying to be the Sheraton of the South.

3. Places to eat in Awassa

a. Lewi Piazza ~ or new Lewi . Indoors in evening outdoors for breakfast – great.

b. Blue Nile – nice outdoor area at front. Excellent National Food section at rear.

c. Tadess Enjeri – but sign in Amharic only !!! Near top of main street. North side – just below supermarket.

4. Good value for money hotel in the likely event of your holiday budget or per diem not stretching to Hailes or Lewi prices , then try SOUTH SPRINGS HOTEL. When arriving from Addis this is the first hotel you see – on rhs of main Kenya highway on the corner where the lakeside road turns off to your right. Has vehicle gates on both roads – but name sign only on Moyale Road. Twin / Double Rooms 210 (140 for residents). Ezxcellent value.

Also has some nice family units for 4 people with small lounge and two bedrooms. It is some 3km from town centre but no prob if you have a vehicle.

Wondo Genet  ( from visits April and August 2010)

1. The cottage as they call it – ie Haile Sellassies circular bungalow. Costs us some 1400 br for a night at Easter 2010….. accomodates 5.

But you do sleep in the emperors bedroom !!   Has double, twin  both ensuite; and a single for the bodyguard (no loo)

2.  Buffet breakfast – beware – cold scrambled egg etc. Not exactly attractive. Menu cards tatty and poor choice.   The place is still magical but the restaurant could do with a gigantic kick in the …………..( or privatisation ). I am amazed the top UK company Exodus still takes people there !!

3.  On a day visit in August with my teenage grandchildren – larger pool was EMPTY –  just started on refilling process  Smaller pool full of two busloads of non swimmer school children – who were having a great time. ……. This was a Tuesday – so possibly avoid Tuesdays if you want to swim !!!!!!!

Frank Rispin

Security issues

We just came back from 1 month Ethiopia and have several security updates:

1. Boats on lake Tana are not safe. Our booked boat tour from Ghion hotel in Bahar Dar was a disaster, as the front door opened in the middle of the lake and 11 tourists and 2 locals were sure that the boat will sink, as lots of water came in. We were very lucky, that the boat did not sink, as only 2 life vests were on the boat. We recommend to avoid the boats with doors from Ghion hotel, and check if life vests for all are available.

2. Taxis and public transport are not safe. We had a bad accident with a taxi in Gondar, as the brakes stopped working and we crashed in a wall. The tourist on the front seat broke his arm. We were lucky. We recommend to avoid any bad looking old car, and try to sit in the back and convince the drivers to drive slowely. Do not trust hotel employees who recommend “safe” private taxis like in Ghion in Addis or Goha in Gondar.

3. Wondo Genet “birding guides” try to press money, at least 100 Bir per hour for accompany you in the forest. As it is not safe to walk alone in the forest, we suggest to avoid Wondo Genet at all, or go with a booked tour and their guides.

Jochen Krauss