6 independent reviews for Ethiopia birdwatching holiday in Bale Mountains

Reviews for Ethiopia birdwatching holiday in Bale Mountains

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review 28 Nov 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

There were so many memorable times that it's difficult to choose, but highlights were birdwatching while eating lunch overlooking Bishoftu Lake far below; walking in Awash National Park guided by Mohamed and eating traditional food overlooking Awash Falls; staying at Sabana Resort and swimming in Lake Lagano; overnight in Paradise Lodge near Arbaminch; getting to know our driver and laughing with him; getting to know Eskinder, our host and tour organiser. Great birding!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The roads are often in a poor state and populated with people on foot, carts, donkeys, goats, cattle, even camels, so be prepared for some long periods in the vehicle. There is so much to see this is rarely boring but be prepared.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It is essential that the National Parks are supported so as to persuade the government of their value to the economy to ensure they are protected. Wildlife tours do this as well as providing work for the local drivers, guides and other staff. We felt that the owner of the tour operator we used was very caring and thoughtful man, who does all he can, not only for his clients, but for his staff and his country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very definitely a great experience to remember and cherish.

review 22 Jan 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Ethiopia is a most diverse and interesting place to visit. I would recommend it to anyone. The tour was excellent for anyone wanting to take in the culture, history and natural wildlife of the country. We really enjoyed the different aspects of the vacation - national parks, history, culture. Exciting place!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We rushed it too much and tried to fit in too much. Would have liked to stayed in some places for longer - Langano, Awash, Lalibela. Hope to remedy that if we go to Ethiopia again (hopefully). A comment to very keen birdwatchers like ourselves. This is not a dedicated birdwatching company and the guides only seem to know the more usual birds - pelicans, maribou storks, flamingoes. We worked hard to get our bird list but lost out on a lot of mystery birds.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely!!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I would rate the company highly for people who want to experience Ethiopia. I would not recommend them however for keen birdwatchers.

review 28 May 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Very good organization - excellent choice of National Parks and excellent guides - and a very good careful driver.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a plug for bathroom wash basins - some hotels fairly basic.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes to a small degree - money into local economy via accommodation and meals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent - would recommend this operator to anyone wishing to go to Ethiopia who is interested in wildlife and the National Parks.

review 25 Oct 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Difficult to say because we enjoyed the whole trip so much! The trekking and stay in the Simien mountains was amazing for the stunning geology, wildlife and flora. Our two nights in Awash national park were a hit too but seeing a hippo just a few metres from our boat on Lake Tana after returning from the island monasteries was a real highlight!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Eskinder's travel arrangements were faultless and our guides and drivers were kind, helpful and very knowledgeable. I contacted him a few times before finalising the trip and Eskinder usually responded within a few hours and came up with an itinerary that suited us all as a family of 4 with 2 children aged 11 & 12. To allow us to see as much of the country as possible in the limited time we had, we made 4 internal flights with Ethiopian airlines and we found this to be safe and straightforward too.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

It definitely benefited local people because for one it was an Ethiopian tour company and Eskinder booked local guides, drivers and hotels. Environmental impact was unfortunately inevitable because of the distances we were covering.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We all agree that this was truly one of the most stunning countries we have visited (especially after the rainy season when all was lush and green) - we met lovely people and saw some amazing things and felt very safe and comfortable throughout. We are very keen to return and see more of Ethiopia and would be getting Eskinder to arrange this for us.

review 21 Nov 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

1. Contact with the Mursi tribe in the Omo Valley 2. Hot springs at Shala/Abijata national park 3. Rock Hewn church in Addis Ababa 4. Giant Lobelia in Afro-alpine terrain on Sanetti Plateau 5. Everything else - it was all memorable

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

1. Book with this company. The first class guide and driver were excellent throughout the tour. 2. Take anti-diarrhoea tablets as a precaution. Antibiotics are available at local Pharmacies in the unlikely event that they be needed. 3. Take a good camera 4. Be prepared for an experience of a lifetime - it is a wonderful country.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Sensitive advice from our guide taught us the value of minimising impact on the local cultures and peoples in each area visited. Bookings in ecologically "green" hotels and eating places were made wherever possible. Conservation of species and cultures were a recurring theme of the tour. Money we put into the local economies went to such as National Parks and cultural villages rather than to individuals or multi-nationals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

In old fashioned terms 10/10; or in other words we received a top class service at a fair and reasonable price. This was the most memorable vacation that I have ever taken and would not hesitate to recommend it. Nothing was too much trouble for our driver and guide, they were both first class.

review 24 Feb 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Eskinder and his team ensured that our vacation was packed with exciting and memorable moments throughout. If we had to select one highlight it would be experiencing the beautiful scenery and variety of wildlife in the Bale Mountains, particularly seeing a number of Simien Foxes at close quarters (thanks to the sharp eyes and local knowledge of our guide Girma and driver Yaris). We also have warm memories of Eskinder, who was so friendly, reassuring and took a close personal interest in ensuring we had an enjoyable experience. Also, of our guides and drivers, who quickly became our friends and good traveling companions and gave us many insights into Ethiopian life and culture.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

You can have complete confidence in Eskinder to ensure you have a safe and interesting experience in as much comfort as possible. Roads in some areas were in very poor state, but our vehicles were in good condition and our drivers were excellent. Also to ensure our best possible comfort at Dinsho Lodge in the Bale Mountains, Eskinder arranged for new bedding to be purchased! We found Eskinder and our guides very flexible and sensitive to our needs; so let them know what you want and they will do all that they can to deliver. Also, they are all Ethiopian, so let them help you to experience the country in a way that European guides can never do.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We were pleased that in our own small way we were able to benefit local people. The tour operator is an Ethiopian business, the staff it employs are Ethiopian and in many instances using the income they get to fund higher education for either themselves or members of their family. All accommodation, meals and other services used on the trip were providing income for local people. Fees paid to the parks and wildlife reserves contributed to their maintenance and as far as possible our vacation was organised to have minimal impact on the environment e.g. walking in wildlife areas, using existing local cafes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This was an excellent vacation. One of us had previously had a great experience of Ethiopia as part of a UK tour group, but traveling as a couple with an Ethiopian company and Ethiopian companions made for a much richer experience. We have never before had a vacation operator make such effort to ensure our happiness, and we've previously had a lot of good vacation experiences! We still have much to see in Ethiopia and will certainly use Eskinder and this tour operator again.

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