Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Senior travel and product specialist
"Ethiopia offers a radically different African experience - the historical sites, unusual wildlife and the people - notably of the South Omo - are utterly fascinating."

Ethiopia Reviews

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent.  Loved the Simien Lodge; could have stayed another night.  Our trip to Ethiopia was truly amazing; one we will never forget. The people are beautiful, friendly and very welcoming. The scenery and wildlife are incredible and the wildlife fascinating. Our guide, Yohannes, was first class. His knowledge of the history of Ethiopia and of the birds, wildlife, flora etc is outstanding. All the drivers were excellent'. 



Mr and Mrs Perry
March 16, 2016

'Really appreciated having an excellent, single guide with us throughout. We had not experienced this before and thought it worked very well. 

Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent. 

Gardens of Abyaminch Lodge were excellent. Choices for evening meals seemed better when more guests were staying.

Simien Lodge is a great hotel in a fantastic location - would have stayed an extra night. 

Mayleko Lodge (Gondar): excellent room - the best all holiday. 

Sabean Hotel: excellent comfort, good in all other respects. Better than we had been led to expect! 

Bishangari Lodge: excellent in all respects. Very well run hotel in fantastic location. Food was particularly good. 

Bale Mountains Lodge: comfort excellent. Overvall this lodge was a disappointing experience as our expectations had been raised quite high for it. Service: the local people on the staff were very helpful. Schemes in place for the local community seemed well thought out and are an excellent initiative.

The holiday was really good and as you will know a fantastic combination of history, culture and wildlife that would be tricky to reproduce in such a short period in most other countries' 


Mr and Mrs Smith
February 26, 2016

'We (both my husband and myself) thought that Ethiopia was amazing - we went with high expectations and it surpassed these.  Our guide, Hennok, was first class, we got on well with our fellow travellers - but more importantly the scenery, wildlife, local people and culture we experienced were truly outstanding.  The tour arrangements worked extremely well - hotels were clean and comfortable, travel was efficient and on time, and the content of the trip was pretty much spot-on.  We knew very little about the Timket festival when we booked the tour, but now realise that it right up there with other top cultural events around the world.  To have been given such close-up access to the festival with our "guest passes" made it even more special and it will stay in our memories forever, especially returning before dawn and seeing all of the local people who had kept overnight vigil on the Ark of the Covenant.  We're so pleased that we went this year because we suspect that Ethiopia will become a "must do" on many people's destination list and that in coming years it may become more commercialised.  Very definitely one of our best ever (and we've had many) trips and we're still absorbing many of the wonderful things we experienced.  My husband is a keen photographer and he came home with some incredible wildlife shots (geladas, wolves and birds), stunning portraits of local people and great scenery shots'

Mr and Mrs Haley
February 8, 2016
Review items: Ethiopia    

'This trip was an experience of a lifetime not just because of the beauty of the country and kindness of the people, but mainly because of our exception guide, Henok. He is extremely knowledgable, patient, kind, and thoughtful. I had some mobility issues and he ensured that I was cared for and safe. He also has a great sense of humor which was very important with our jovial group, who got along with each other from the start and laughed constantly. He handled our mixed Brit/Yank jokes very well! Our driver, Lake, was exceptional. We never had a moment of worry about our safety, even over difficult terrain. Every day of the tour was a new amazing experience, from Gelada monkeys to the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and finally, the inspiring, beautiful ceremonies of the Timkut festival. I am spreading the word that Rainbow's Ethiopia with Henok is an experience not to be missed!

Jan Cowell, Pasadena' 

Ms Jan Cowell
February 4, 2016
Review items: Ethiopia    

'Dear Derek

We are now back in the UK, just a bit flight-lagged, having spent the last week in Dubai with our family.  Rosie and I have such happy memories of our recent trip. Our highest appreciations go to such a beautiful country with its lovely welcoming and happy people. To finish the tour with the amazing Timkat celebrations was the icing on the cake. Unforgettable.

The amazing guide Henok Tsegaye was definitely the best we have ever experienced in our many travels to other countries. He was incredibly well-informed historically and he is so proud of his country, which he loves so much. He was totally clear in his diction and instructions, attentive, caring, with a great sense of humour (he quickly came to realise when we Brits and the lady from the USA were winding him up in a friendly, jokey way!) and nothing was too much trouble. Those essential touches, such as plenty of bottled drinking water being always available wherever we were, make all the difference on a busy schedule. We will be sending him and Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour an email of appreciation. The drivers on our trips were all first-rate, courteous and careful.

Our group of ten visitors all bonded so well. We had fun and a happy time together. Amazingly, we discovered that one couple (Andrew and Viv) live here in East Molesey! If it is at all possible we will try to arrange a reunion for us all early this June, when Ken and Mandy are over from South Africa. We may even tempt Jan over from America!

A big thank you to yourself, together with your colleagues in London and Ethiopia for all your diligence in organising everything. We will send off the questionnaire to you when we come down to earth!

When we said to friends that we were going to Ethiopia several said 'why?'

It is merely that they are unaware of the culture, the history and the beauty there. Our photographs, some of which have already been posted on Facebook, show why! We have sent you a few. Let us hope that many more will travel there and see for themselves. We will certainly encourage this, since tourism is so important for the Ethiopian economy.

Kind regards

John and Rosie Rendall'

Mr and Mrs Rendall
January 27, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction (of the Ethiopia Timkat 2016 small group departure): Excellent.

Sora Lodge, Lalibela: very friendly, attentive staff.

Henok is an excellent guide. He dealt with all with humour and patience. He was knowledgeable and a delight. The driver - Hake (spelling?) was also exceptional'.

Ms Yate
January 25, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction (of the Timkat 2016 small group set departure): excellent. Jupiter International hotel is a comfortable, international hotel with hot water and Wifi.

Abayminch Lodge, Bahir Dar: good in all respects; excellent location. Electricity is erratic, didn't have this issue elsewhere.

Goha Hotel: good tourist hotel; good breakfast; OK dinner

Simien Lodge: great choice - loved it! Excellent in all respects.

Sora Lodge, Lalibela: excellent. Superb location; cooking class excellent. Fair to say vegetarians are not confused by choice.

Sabean Hotel, Axum: Comfort, facilities, location all good. Service and meals average. Meals here were a little poor especially dinner.

WOW, What a great holiday. Everything went like clockwork. Henok i the No 1 from the moment we arrived to the second we left at the airport for our flight back home. Nothing was too much trouble. New bottles of water in the bus every day. He arranged for the collection of our luggage from our hotel rooms, and even off the airport carousels. He took care of the tipping as we westerners are hopeless when it comes to this - when and how much. The VIP tickets in Addis for the Timkat festival meant we were literally right in the action. Again Henok was on hand to explain and direct us.

Ethiopia is THE place to go....and do it now whilst it is unspoilt by tourists. The people are amazing - we didn't see one private car for 8 days. People walk everywhere. The scenery is fabulous, awe inspiring with thousands of donkeys and mules, goats and sheep. Henok stopped at the roadside for us to photograph alongside a stop to see a young lady making injera, their local tef pancake (acquired taste but lovely).  Henok is Number1! 

Great holiday - where next?




Mr and Mrs Stockdale
January 25, 2016

'The trip was wonderful and it is really a beautiful country.  We had a great time and it certainly met and often exceeded our expectations.  Eyob, our guide, was fabulous as were the drivers'

Mr and Mrs Robbins
January 13, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent.

Jupiter Interntional Hotel: god in all respects; service excellet.

Panoramic View, Lalibela: excellent service and location; meals, facilitie and comfort: good.

Sabean Hotel, Axum: excellent location. Good in terms of comfort, service and meals. Facilities average.

Avanti Blue Nile, Bahir Dar: excellent in all respects. Facilities good.

Mayleko Lodge, Gondar: Good in all respects. Service excellent. Issues with lack of water due to power cut.

Simien Lodge: Excellent service, location and meals. Good facilities. Comfort: good.

Like many other Africa countries it is their attention t detal that lets them down. Electrical outlets not fixed to walls properly. The service and the local people were great; very courteous and extremely helpful. That is a massive plus f the country's tourism '

McAleer family
December 15, 2015

'Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent.

Bale Mountains Lodge: Excellent comfort, service, location, meals and facilities.

Awash Fall Lodge: facilities, service and comfort: average. Location and meals: good.

Simien Lodge: comfort, service meals and facilities good. Location exellent. '

Mr and Mrs Bond
November 10, 2015

Hanok was the best guide I have ever travelled with! Hanok made this holiday great. He was efficient, knowledgeable and caring. He is passionate about his country, rightly so. No notes or crib sheets, he has a brain overflowing with information!

J Conner
March 5, 2015
Review items: Ethiopia    

Ethiopia was great thanks.  Our local guide Henok was terrifiic.  Seeing the Timket festival in Addis and the St George festivies in Lalibela was wonderful; we got so very close to all the action and really experienced it.  We were very well looked after and everything ran well.  I didn't enjoy all the small plane internal flights but oh well, we got to see more of the country in a short time because of it.  I loved all the sights we visited and have learnt a lot.  There was an amazing amount of food included, we seemed to be always eating :)

S. Turner
February 24, 2015
Review items: Ethiopia    

Our tour guide, Henok,  was the best we’ve ever had – a very unassuming professional guide who imparted his knowledge of his country in a positive but unbiased way. He was very focused to ensure we had the best experience of Ethiopia possible. A smart, presentable and great guy.

J. McVeigh
February 21, 2015
Review items: Ethiopia    

Teddy, who was with us throughout the tour, was very helpful in guiding two older people with understanding, patience, charm and a sense of humour. His detailed knowledge of Ethiopian history, buildings and culture was superb and put across expertly. The drivers were safe, considerate and friendly, and the vehicles were clean and well maintained. They, together with the guide, made our holiday an extremely enjoyable experience.

J. Bartlett
February 19, 2015
Review items: Ethiopia    

The decision to have one guide for the entire holdiay made the trip. He learned what we liked and what we knew and tailored his approach accordingly. Any issues during the trip were dealt with by him, which made travelling so much more relaxing.  Also, you can have as much or as little privacy as you like.

G and N Leach
October 21, 2014
Review items: Ethiopia    

As noted, Eyob made the trip.  He is knowledgeable, prompt, efficient, personable and just an absolute pleasure to be with.  It is a beautiful country--much more mountainous than I suspected--but the poverty is staggering…..  Are we glad we made this trip?  Absolutely…….  Staff at all the hotels were very nice, especially at the Florida in Gondar. You put together an amazing trip for was seamless--and we thank you. 

P Goldstein & R Kornberg
August 12, 2014
Review items: Ethiopia    

We had a really super time in Ethiopia.  Thank you so much for organizing everything.  It really is a truly amazing place and was made even more memorable by the great guide we had. 

Nicole Sangster and family
May 20, 2014
Review items: Ethiopia    

We really enjoyed the holiday. Even though we liked the drive to Bahir Dar, we got so tired and needed to spend the whole day at the resort. As a result, we didn’t see the Blue Nile, so extra day here would have been good. We really appreciated “all inclusiveness” of the holiday! Initially, we thought the trip was a bit expensive but spent virtually nothing except tips and some souvenirs.

Merrilyn Berry
April 2, 2014
Review items: Ethiopia    

Service from tour operator: excellent. Overall satisfaction: excellent. All guides were good or even excellent. We enjoyed this trip so much that we are thinking of visiting again.

John and Angela Brown
October 31, 2013

Service from tour operator: excellent. Overall satisfaction: excellent. All guides were good or even excellent. We enjoyed this trip so much that we are thinking of visiting again.

John and Angela Brown, Discover Ethiopia Private 16-day tour,  31 October 2013

John and Angela Brown
October 31, 2013
Review items: Ethiopia    

Hi Derek,

I thought I’d drop you a quick note as I got back from Ethiopia this morning and if I don’t write now – I’ll forget as I’m back to work tomorrow…

The trip was great – as you said it would be – Dinknesh were excellent & everything went like clockwork pretty much.  Hard to pick highlights as so much of what I saw & learned was completely new to me. 

The drivers were all good; Hamad the guide was excellent; the hotels were fine; the food was mostly good – sorry, I don’t like injera! – the internal flights were ok as were the international ones – but all of that was a backdrop to a beautiful country with a fascinating (if complex) history; friendly people; amazing array of birds – if only Aynalem Hailu hadn’t needlessly given away the penalty everything would have been perfect!

Thank you again for putting together an amazing holiday.



Barnaby Evans
October 14, 2013
Review items: Ethiopia    

Ethiopia was amazing and I had a great trip….The country was amazing, and the people even more so!

Anders Schonberg
July 1, 2013
Review items: Ethiopia    

A poor country so rich in history, culture, fantastic scenery, wildlife and lovely people.

Hilary Way
April 1, 2013
Review items: Ethiopia    

Just a quick note to thank you for your help in organising this trip for us. All went well, the guides and drivers all turned up on time and were pretty good, food was 500% better than my previous trips, hotels were all good and Kim was amazed by all the sights. Plus we made it up Imet Gogo!

Again many thanks! 
Mike and Kim Smith
October 31, 2012
Review items: Ethiopia    

Great holiday – better standards available in Ethiopia than I expected. Felt spoiled and guilty given the levels of poverty but also very privileged to have been able to visit and people are amazing mostly. Organisation of the trip was spot on, everything worked and hotel / itinerary selection was great

Karen and Peter
May 31, 2012
Review items: Ethiopia    

It was – particularly for my partner, I think – a more challenging country than Madagascar but also very eye opening. (From his point of view, its religiosity was a bit too much!) All of the accommodation you chose was really excellent – and diverse – and all of the connections etc went well… things went amazingly smoothly everywhere. Best hotel of the trip to our mind: the Jerusalem Hotel in Lalibela – very good food, lovely staff and good accommodation.

W Gryk
January 15, 2012
Review items: Ethiopia    

What a splendid time I had in Ethiopia! The trip was much better than I had dared hope for, and my expectations were high. The group leader was excellent, and all nine traveling companions were a very agreeable lot. Going to Ethiopia has long been a dream of mine, and I appreciate all you did on your end to make the trip happen for me.

J Presley
January 31, 2011
Review items: Ethiopia    

(Our travel consultant) was excellent arranging the holiday throughout and re-arranging due to the ash cloud. His knowledge of Ethiopia was excellent when putting together our itinerary. Excellent service from Rainbow and a wonderful holiday overall! Thanks!

M Atkinson
April 29, 2010
Review items: Ethiopia    

Just to say thanks a million for organising such a brilliant holiday. We had a really great time, and the local company were highly professional.

J Murray
November 4, 2009
Review items: Ethiopia    
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