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Derek Schuurman
Derek Schuurman Product Manager Madagascar and Alternative Africa
"Ethiopia offers a radically different Africa experience - its remarkable 'historical' sites, unusual wildlife - notably rare mammals and abundant birdlife - and the people - notably of the South Omo - are utterly fascinating."

Bale Mountains Reviews

Hello Derek 

Thanks very much indeed to you and Rainbow for all the help, advice and organisation for our recent trip.  I am sure you will want feedback and perhaps you want an online survey, but I just wanted to say it really was the trip of a lifetime, and we had an extraordinary time, thanks to the guides, especially Belete Beleke, who says that he knows you, and we thought he was extremely special: a great spotter of incredible birdlife, animals and plants too.  Very intelligent, he adapted our itinerary very slightly so that we should not be exhausted.

However, something you may not have caught up with yet - at Erta Ale, we discovered that the Afar have closed a significant portion of the new road you mentioned  - we estimated an approx 3km hike up the gravel track that a 4x4 would just have made,  before reaching the "footpath" scramble to the camp at the top - but at least we did make it, if somewhat slowly, we realised we would never have done it from the previous camp!  Apparently the Afar were losing too much money through people not hiring camels to take their gear to the top camp!  They seem adroit at collecting cash for all kinds of extras, even ones already paid for.  

We really did have a wonderful trip.  Thank you again, 

With very best wishes,

Rosie

 

Hi Derek

I just want to endorse everything Rosie says below but especially to praise Belete Bekele - he really was exemplary. 

Big thanks for your and Rainbow’s help and advice - it was an unforgettable trip. 

Very best wishes

Ruth

 

 

 

 

Ms Hoare and Ms Anders
November 25, 2019

Hi Craig and Derek,

 

Many thanks - we had a great time! The trip exceeded our expectations - all the logistics/transport/guiding were great!

 

Our biggest surprise was that as a result of so few guests going to Odzala we had our own chef travelling with us! We had successful and very enjoyable gorilla sightings on both treks. Odzala was very remote - exactly what we were looking for!

 

We will contact you for our next trip.............

 

Regards.

 

Duncan, Carol, David and Deborah

 

Mr & Mrs Evans and Mr & Mrs Hughes
February 8, 2019

Dear Derek,

 

We have just returned to Australia after our almost 4 weeks in Ethiopia. 

Our trip could be divided in 2 – the Southern and Northern component.

We felt the driver (Robi) and the escort Younis for the southern 2 weeks were excellent. Knowledgeable and attentive. We felt very comfortable with the driving particularly in difficult conditions.  They both enhanced the experience.

The northern component had Sayed as the escort. Whilst he was good, he was not have the same skills or knowledge of Younis so by comparison he suffered a little. We were satisfied with his services.

We have no hitches with accommodation and recognised that what was provided was “best available” or very close to it.

Overall, we were more than happy with the arrangements put in place by Rainbow.  We were glad we just didn’t “do” the classic tourist northern circuit.

The south was, for us the highlight. The Bale Mountains were truly memorable, we saw at extremely close range a number of wolves. Whilst we didn’t see lions, we heard them on consecutive evenings – they were not that far away.  Lake Langano was excellent.

The Omo Valley was fascinating and we felt privileged to see a number of the tribes and their way of life (one that is no doubt changing).  In the north we were captivated by the Simeons – we enjoyed time sitting with a group of researchers watching the Geladas and were fortunate to have a small group Wahlia Ibex pass very close to where we were standing.

Timket was a once in a lifetime experience. Just extraordinary.

We left Ethiopia feeling that we had gained a greater appreciation of the country, its people and the inherent issues facing the country. More so, than could ever be gained by the groups whizzing around in groups of 10-12 in mini buses.

Thank you for organising an excellent trip.

 

Mr and Mrs Rae
January 26, 2019

Hi Derek,

Thank you for organising such a fantastic tour for us. We had a wonderful time, the country is amazing, the wildlife and of course the birds. At a rough check Trevor saw 270 birds, a lot of endemic so he was delighted! We had a fantastic guide, he was so knowledgeable about the country and wildlife. He was great fun and nothing was too much trouble.

We are now going to sort through hundreds of photographs!

We were so pleased with the way the holiday was organised and will hopefully be travelling with you in the future.

Thank you again

Lynne and Trevor Wright

 

Mr and Mrs Wright
November 28, 2018

Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. Will return. 

We had the very best guide. We would want to use him again. He was exceptional. 

Maribela Hotel, Lalibela: an incredible experience with amazing staff and food excellent.

Simien Lodge: a wonderful place. Lovely. 

Bale Mountains Lodge: really enjoyable stay - lovely accommodation and very friendly host.

Sabana Beach Resort: great bird watching. 

We have had a fantastic time - deeply enhanced by our incredible guide Zee and the drivers. Very knowledgeable and fun to be with, and attentive to the point of making us feel like royalty. Our guide went above expectations with the information he gcave us and the little extras - nothing was too much trouble. The best guide we have ever had. Excellent staff. 

Mr and Mrs Hickie
March 14, 2018

'Overall the trip was fantastic. We were very well taken care of and have only high marks for all aspects of the trip. Our guide and drivers excellent. Great experiences and got some great images both wildlife and other'

McLeod party
October 6, 2017

'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

'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.

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

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
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