Let me begin by stating clearly that when you visit Lalibela, having a guide will greatly enhance your experience, and ability to appreciate just how unique this place is. A good guide will make everything run very smoothly, and it will be a lot more pleasant, than if you need to figure everything out yourself. In that sense it is very good value for money, and will not cost you that much, compared to the total cost of the trip.
During my visit to Lalibela Dec 3-7 2014 Zewdu Melak did an excellent job as my guide, from the moment he picked me up in the airport, until he we said goodbye the same place four days later. I did not know about Zewdu in advance, he was chosen by the hotel I booked (Panoramicview), and they could not have made a better choice.
Zewdu is very professional, and speaks English very well. He is amazingly knowledgeable about the World famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and the Orthodox Ethiopian Church, which probably has some relation to the fact that his father is a priest. He is able to convey his knowledge with lots of enthusiasm, and he is very pleasant company. He is very responsible and attentive to details, so that everything works, and yet able to adapt to new wishes when they arise. I have a passion for photography, and Zewdu always gave me plenty of time to take all the photos I wanted, often suggesting good subject matter and angles, and occasionally mediated communication with photographic subjects. He also made sure that I could attend a service in the largest of the churches, and the following blessing/healing ceremony where the famous Lalibela cross is used.
Although my experience with Zewdu as a guide is limited to Lalibela, and the surrounding area, I understand that he is available for assignments at many other locations in Ethiopia, and also that he can provide complete tour organization. In fact, I now know that I could have saved a nice amount of money by having him, rather than the hotel as a contractor for my four days in Lalibela.
I give Zewdu Melak an unqualified recommendation. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his mobile number +251 913 636 414.