Good morning Derek
David and I had a wonderful trip to Ethiopia. I ended up taking far too many photographs so it’s taking me quite a while to decide on which to keep and which to delete. I’ll send you some when that task is complete.
We were very fortunate to have travelled with a lovely, fun group which always adds hugely to the whole experience. Our guide Tammy was fantastic! His knowledge was excellent. He was relaxed, well organised, thoughtful and good fun.
I thought the itinerary gave a really good balance of culture and wildlife giving a very good overview of the parts of the country we visited. There was nothing I wouldn’t have wanted to do, all the visits from churches to archeology to monasteries to scenic panoramas to markets were excellent. My only real regret is that we didn’t add on another week to go to the south and see other parts of Ethiopia.
What we look for in accommodation is a clean room, comfortable bed, working shower and working power points and most of the hotels filled that bill really well. All the beds were great, all the rooms were clean, as usual there were some bits and pieces that weren’t quite right, wobbly taps, ill fitting doors, etc but nothing that in any way spoiled our stay. The showers in Axum and Simien were disappointing but everywhere else they were great. Everywhere we went the staff were friendly and helpful. Food was variable but generally very good. The locations of the hotels was superb, particularly Kuriftu Resort and Spa, Goha Hotel, Simien Lodge and Mezena Lodge.
It’s hard to pick out particular highlights as the whole experience was amazing with so much to take in, but Timket was astonishing. The fact that Timket seemed to stretch across almost the whole of our stay was surprising, as was the number of weddings we came across. The numbers of people taking part in Timket in Addis Ababa and the spectacle of colour, sparkle and joy was breathtaking.
Finding words to adequately describe some of the scenery is hard. Whether we were driving through different types of landscape, flying over it or staying in it the views were stunning, and the people living in it endlessly fascinating. Stopping a couple of times to take pictures of people working in the fields was brilliant too. Walking in the mountains and sitting with gelada monkeys was another never to be forgotten treat.
Tipping, as always on these trips, is horrible. We were very fortunate that one of our group was happy to take on the task, with guidance from our guide Tammy, but not knowing how much to give, when to tip, who to tip and having people expecting tips for doing their job is an uncomfortable side of travelling. I always feel sorry for all the people behind the scenes who don’t have the opportunity to get tips while others expect, and sometimes almost demand them, when they should be paid properly in the first place. I know that’s not going to change but it is one aspect of travel I really dislike.
I hope you can tell from this that David and I had a fabulous time in Ethiopia and we’ve been telling friends and family what a wonderful time we’ve had.