Initial airport pick up was not well organised, the driver was waiting down the airport approach ramp, in the car park! We had expected someone standing with our names on a card at arrivals. Magnolia hotel in Addis was very good. Our trip to Lalibella was excellent, good guide and very nice stay at Mezena Lodge. Our driver for the lower Omo valley trip was excellent, safe driver, good guide and pleasant personality. Also a good mechanic who helped several other drivers with vehicle problems. Our first night stay at Jinka Resort was not good, very basic room, limited quality food but pleasant waiting staff. Next was 2 nights at Emerald Lodge at Turmi, this was better but food was of limited quality (the manager admitted they had been unable to employ a chef!). Lastly we stayed at Jinka Eco Lodge which was very nice and had excellent food. The 'cultural tours' of tribes in the Omo valley were generally good but the local guides were of mixed ability.
The overall trip was good with some great experiences covering a range of locations. Magnolia hotel Addis was good with excellent breakfast and staff Our trip to Lalibella was excellent and a good start to the trip. In the south, we had a very good driver/guide called Bayoux
Initial meet at Addis Ababa airport international arrivals was not good. We expected someone with our name on a card at arrivals. In fact he was waiting down the approach ramp in the car park and it took us some time to find someone who knew the Local Expert and pointed us to a chap who was sitting chatting with friends and he was able to tell us where the driver was! Choice of hotels: Jinka Resort was not good, the room was very basic, there were bare wires on the walls, holes in the mosquito net and many rooms were obviously awaiting refurbishment and looked derelict. Reception and luggage staff were gruff, waiting staff more pleasant but food very limited and not of 'international' standard. Emerald Lodge at Turmi was better but the room was very hot and here too the food was of quite limited range (the manager admitted that they had been unable to recruit a chef). Jinka Eco Lodge was good, with excellent food. On our final evening we were taken on a short trip to the museum to see Lucy. Then by 6pm we were dropped at the Taitu hotel and picked up from there for airport transfer at 10pm. Although we had a pleasant meal, the hotel had NO other facilities, no sitting room/lounge and we would have been much better off at a modern hotel.
The drivers and guide in Lalibella were good. The driver in the south ( Bayoux) was very good, safe driver, pleasant personality and a good mechanic who was able to help several other drivers who had vehicle problems. Some of the local guides for tribe visits were not good, especially for the Mursi, and for the Hamer market and bull jumping. The ones for Koro tribe, the Bana tribe and the Ari tribe at Jinka were very good.
Definitely go to Lalibella it is amazing. Don't stay at Jinka Resort Do go to the Jinka Ethnological museum to understand more about the tribes from their own point of view.
1. Visiting the churches at lalibella 2. Meeting and learning about the tribes of the South Omo valley