A delicious breakfast was the perfect start to the day to set us on our way for our long journey to Addis.
Our speedy transfer over the plateau didn’t allow us the chance to see a wolf but we did see some wart hogs, Mountain Nyala and Bush buck.
The drive to Addis takes about 7-8 hours but we advise most people to stop on the way down at the Rift Valley lakes and stay a night at one of the lodges on Lake Langano (we normally recommend Bishangari). This is a stunning area and a lovely way to break up the journey. The roads are very good so you can do the journey in one go but it is quite a long day’s drive. Up until the end of 2012, Bale Mountain National Park was really off the beaten track as the road from the Rift Valley road to the park was a dirt road so took up 10 hours to cross. 18 months ago they completed a brand new road which now makes this transfer only one hour long and has made the Bale Mountains far more accessible for tourists. The drive is fascinating passing through some stunning landscapes and villages. Its worth pointing out to your guests that Ethiopia does not have many ‘rest’ places so often you have to make do with a bush on a long drive!
We stopped off for lunch at the Kureftu Lodge at Debre Zeit which is a lovely spot overlooking a lake. The last remaining hour to Addis was quite painful with lots of overtaking. However a new motorway is due to open in two months time connecting Addis and Nazret which will reduce the journey down by one hour & avoid the need to do some heart stopping overtaking.
Kibran Tours thoroughly spoiled us for our last night in Addis with a cocktail party for the group with local dignitaries including Soloman Tadesse who has recently been appointed to head up the new Ethiopian Tourism Authority which is a combination of public and private sector partners whose remit is to develop tourism in Ethiopia. It was fascinating chatting to him and his team about his plans to develop tourism in a country where it is really in its infancy but with so much potential.
Assefa from Kibran Tours was keen for us to experience some of Ethiopia’s famous music scene and took us out to an Ethiopian Jazz evening. It is said that the driving force behind Etho-Jazz is Mulatu Astatke who first created it 42 years ago while studying music in the United States. It was mindblowing enjoying the most incredible jazz in a very unassuming cafe in the middle of a shopping centre in Addis! For me that evening summarised our entire trip to Ethiopia…..totally unexpected, unanticipated, and fascinating with unbelievable potential.