We had a great 4 weeks in Ethiopia, thanks to TravelLocal's local company and in particular Cynthia, Tania and Berhanu, the number one Ethiopian driver/guide. Before we left home, any queries or changes of plans were responded to very quickly and the final itinerary covered everything we wanted to see, working around our major requirement of being in Gondar for Timket. When a problem with one part of the journey was identified, it was successfully resolved in talks with us, the driver and the office. Yes, we had some long days of car travel, but felt that what we saw then gave us a real feel for the country and the people.
The only regret we have is that we were unable to visit a village in the Ziway area to see in use the fuel efficient stoves made and distributed by SEDA. Representatives of the group were happy to show us where they're made and talk about the program, and when back in Addis we were able to make a donation, but were disappointed that time did not permit seeing them in use. Others might be interested in this too and so maybe this is something that could be better publicised and encouraged at time of booking-a great way to help the community.
Berhanu was a great driver and even when conditions were very difficult at times (unseasonable fog in the mountains, a major truck accident, long days of driving) we always felt we were in safe hands. He was always a cheerful and helpful travel companion and great company. Everywhere we went he organised excellent local guides for us, another thing that we particularly appreciated, as they all seemed to have an enthusiasm for showing and teaching us about their country.
We had a wonderful, memorable holiday but would remind prospective travellers to Ethiopia that it is a very poor country and they must realise that not everything may be perfect. I'd also encourage them to find out about programmes available (eg SEDA) so that they can perhaps try to make a small difference to the lives of people there in return for a fantastic holiday.