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,
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