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In November 2010 my husband and I travelled around Ethiopia for three weeks by public bus with a private guide. Travel (especially bus travel) is a genuine adventure and not for the faint hearted as there is long travel days (even longer if the bus breaks down) on badly kept roads. But it is an exceptional method to obtain up close and individual and experience the life and culture of the residents.

Addis Ababa
We arrived at the airport at 3.30 am. We had not scheduled any lodging due to our early arrival so we remained at the airport till about 7am. A taxi accepted take us into the city for USD$ 10. We went to the Ras Hotel where we needed to wait till 9am to see if they had a space.
Travel Idea: We stayed at the Ras Hotel 3 times due to its central location. The price consists of breakfast which is horrible but lunch and dinner are good.

Bahir Dar
We remained at the Ghion Hotel on Lake Tana and did a boat cruise to the islands to see the painted churches. The Blue Nile Falls location is pretty, however, unworthy the long bumpy ride to get there. Since damming the river, the waterfalls are certainly absolutely nothing like the posters reveal.
Travel Pointer: Inspect if a guide is included with your Lake Tana boat cruise. There was 9 of us on our boat. No guide accompanied us on the boat except for our private guide Samson. The very first island we checked out Samson acted as interpreter otherwise we would not have comprehended exactly what we were taking a look at. The second island we visited the church guide spoke English.

The deserted castles are extremely interesting and it deserves working with the guides inside the gate.
Travel Pointer: We remained at the Belgez Pension which was cheap, tidy and peaceful however the rooms were very little and confined. They do your cleaning for a really small charge – give to the cleaners in the morning.

Simien Mountains
We did a one day 4WD excursion with another traveller and our guide Samson.
Travel Suggestion: We would have wanted to have stayed overnight even though we are not trekkers, as the landscapes is stunning.

We invested 2 nights in Lalibela checking out the fantastic rock churches.
Travel Pointer: Keep your entrance ticket helpful as they will be inspected at each church entryway.

Arba Minch
Arba Minch is an overnight bus stop between Addis Ababa and Jinka
Travel Suggestion: Spend an additional night on among the stopovers and do the lake tour.

We employed a 4WD locally to explore the primary 3 people in the area (Morsi, Hamer and Karo people). We shared this cost with 3 other travellers who were on the bus and stayed at the same lodging as us.
Travel Idea: Purchase your bus ticket to Addis Ababa early (a minimum of 1 day beforehand) so you can acquire a much better seat number otherwise you will find yourself stuck at the back of the bus on the 2 day journey. Purchase great ear plugs so that you can shut out the noise of the loud video playing.

We utilized a range of transport that included: public bus, minivan, 4WD and boat.
Travel Idea: If you discover that quite a few of you are heading in the same direction, it will be more economical and comfortable to lease a minivan and motorist like we did from Bahar Dar to Gondar (7 individuals).

Tour Guide
We utilized the services of a personal guide. This was the first time we have hired a guide for the entire journey through a brand-new nation. The guide showed important in keeping the touts away (worth the money alone), dealing with regional tour operators and acquiring hotels.
Travel Idea: Use a private guide’s extensive knowledge and experience to enjoy Ethiopia through the eyes of a regional.