3 independent reviews for Ethiopia vacation, Ethiopia in Depth

Reviews for Ethiopia vacation, Ethiopia in Depth

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review 2 Mar 2019

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

Getting up close to the Geladas.

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

Get some altitude pills to help with the breathing or aclimatise somewhere over 2500ft. Take walking sticks and practice with them. Get used to eating spaghetti or macaroni for most of your meals since the local fare is not to western tastes. Unless you like INDJERA try it once and then relegate the experience to history, this is made from the teff grain and its consistency is sponge and rubber like, while its taste is slightly sour probably from the fermentation process, it takes on the flavours of the food and sauces it is used to envelope as a wrap on their way to your mouth. Cooked meat is going to be overdone and the fish will be a good standby, the menu will promise lots but is likely to be limited. The tomato soup will come out of a packet and they will make it thick by not using enough water. I did not try the garlic soup but those who did could not taste the garlic, try to avoid western style meals like French onion soup you will be disappointed, stick with the Italian basics, these invaders have left their influences throughout the country not just in the local cuisine. Harden your heart to the treatment of the beasts of burden. Buy pens or other give-away items locally, they will be cheaper and the money goes into the local economy faster, a single bic pen costs about 30 pence each here and the equivalent of just over 10 pence there in country, buy a box of 50 and it will cost less than 10.00. Shoes are big items in country, if you can live without your old scuffed castoff footwear its likely that your shoes will be in better condition than those that locals can afford which tend to be made of plastic. Ask about the local charity that the tour company supports and see what it is they need then purchase those items locally it will cost you less and benefit the local economy directly.

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

Mostly NO. The poor are everywhere, our transit benefits the local businesses and not the majority of the population. Education is not compulsory and the wide boys are those who try to get handouts from the tourists by spinning elaborate lies which are easy to spot as lies. The first contact is often a request for money or candy or third in line pens not of much use where the kids do not go to school but a commodity they can sell/trade to those who do go to school. The big schools in the major towns are relatively well funded, the smaller schools are where your largesse can most benefit the kids and supplement the wages of the teachers by your donations. Do not create a riot by giving out pens where other kids can see that gifts are being made, they will congregate quickly and descend en-masse and you will not know where so many came from, in which case some will lose out if you do not have enough to give, the adults also like to be given pens.

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

The arrival at Addis Ababa airport was a shambles. The guide does not have permission to enter the airport and waits in one of two places outside the arrivals area at the bottom of the steps and at the bottom of the ramp a distance of several hundred feet separating the two collection points. When I exited the arrivals building it was just after 07:00 in the morning and the aircraft had been on the ground for about 30 mins. The guide had not arrived to collect us, I contacted the local office and they said the guide was on the way. I waited at the bottom of the steps sitting next to the guard for 10 mins then tried the bottom of the ramp area to see if he was there he was not another local asked if I needed help and he phoned the hotel and they told me to join their bus that was waiting for two Italians. By 08:35 the driver of the bus was fed up with waiting and drove me to the hotel where it took a quarter of an hour to get a room, they were not yet ready for the group arrival, but eventually I was shown to a room and after a further 10 mins I went down to the lobby at 09:15 to change money and found the rest off the group had arrived and were trying to check-in. I asked when/where the greet & meet was to be held, at which I asked a few questions but the answers I got were not cast in stone as the information provided changed throughout the trip mostly to our benefit. Overall the trip was a success despite falling and hurting my shoulder muscles on stepping out of the shower at the hotel, lucky for me I had a couple of strong painkillers in my emergency first aid kit or I would have been in trouble.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Baron-Vahl for his feedback regarding his recent vacation in Ethiopia. Whilst we were pleased to read he enjoyed his vacation overall, we felt that it was important to highlight some ways in which this vacation supports the local community. This vacation is run on small numbers which allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes; in Ethiopia, it is also by the law that tourist accommodations have to employ local staff. Whenever food is provided ingredients are locally sourced, otherwise, we try to eat at local restaurants and Tej cafes; all of this ensures that we support local production and the community. When in Gondor, the trip to the Kindu Trust that works with disadvantaged children, their families and communities is a good way to provide some monetary support by purchasing some of their handicraft. Occasionally, we will stop by schools or villages to donate some educational supplies but we will try to make sure that our operator manages these visits well and not to disrupt any classes or cause even more problems in the area.

review 3 Oct 2018

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

The walks and informative guides.

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

Be prepared for basic level accommodation, lengthy delays at restaurants and variable road conditions.

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

Not really even though I was of the impression that was the intention of Responsible Travel to do so/

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

The Guide Gabre was very good and the schedule followed was as intended with mostly full days and a variety of experiences provided.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank you for your feedback, although we are sorry that you were left feeling unsure about whether your trip was run in a manner that benefited the local communities and environment. On this trip, for example, we stay in family-run hotels, contributing to communities that otherwise would not be visited by tourism. There are a number of activities where the local people rely heavily on tourism for income, and when we pay park fees it contributes to the funding of conservation initiatives and community projects.

review 2 Oct 2018

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

Simien mountains and Lalibela

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

Make sure you are fit enough. Some of it is hard work!

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

Yes.

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

A great experience.

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