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Zewdu Melak - A Great Lalibela Guide

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Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

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 zewdume_18@yahoo.com and his mobile number +251 913 636 414.

16 replies to this topic
Singapore, Singapore
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1. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

I agree with your post wholeheartedly! We only had one afternoon (Dec 30th) with Zewdu, as my husband, two kids and I were only there for a quick visit. It is always a relief to have someone to pick us up from the airport. He managed to show us all 11 churches in the afternoon, without feeling hurried. He recommended a great place to eat and made sure everything was taken care of. Driver was great also!

Loved Lalibella and the kids!! It was a privilege to be there during the pilgrimage.

Thanks Zewdu, for helping us to have a wonderful time and great memories!!

Tel Aviv, Israel
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2. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

After the 3rd time i take Zewdu as my guide i have to write how greatful i am for the amazing treat he gave to me, my friends and my family.

at the first and the second time i visited the churches in Lalibela with his tour and i was so happy and satisfied with the interesting explanations.

the third time i came back to Lalibela was last week when i decided to hike the Abuna Jossef trekk around the town. the trek is more than amazing and challenging, and Zewdu was guiding us through all the way, and in the best way.

thank you Zewdu!

continue with your terrific work you do.


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3. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

I've traveled a lot and had a lot of guides, but I can honestly saw Zewdu Melak was the best guide I've ever had! He is professional, kind, fair, very well informed about all of Ethiopia's history (especially Lalibela), incredibly nice, and very flexible. He was super responsive when I was booking him online and created a great itinerary for us in Lalibela. We went to Lalibela over Christmas so a guide was especially necessary to navigate the crowds. Zewdu knew when to go where to avoid crowds and would change the schedule around if certain churches were too crowded or if we needed a break. Also, he grew up in Lalibela and seems to know EVERYONE so its kind of fun to walk around with him. He not only guided us to the sights but also was there to pick us up for dinner or after a nap. I really could not recommend him enough! Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions! His contact number is 0913636414 or zewdume_18(at)yahoo.com

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4. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

We loved having Zewdu as our tour guide in Lalibela. He's really knowledgable and planned lots of things for us, but he was also very relaxed and let us set our own itinerary when we were feeling tired! He's very easy going and a pleasure to be around-- he even took us to watch some 'shoulder dancing', and seemed to know everyone in the town! He was always on time to pick us up, and never let us down. I was really impressed by my experience. His email is zewdume_18@yahoo.com and phone number +251 913 636 414-- get in touch!

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4 posts
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5. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

I'd like to add my agreement to this thread. We had Zewdu as our guide for 5 days in Aksum, Lalibela and Gondar (his friend in Aksum).

He was exceptionally professional, knowledgeable and fun to be around. He had a perfect itinerary for everything we wanted to see, plus he took us out to markets and around town in rickshaws at his own cost. Restaurant recommendations were always great, always on time, and the quality of transport he provided was top notch. He was also knowing when a break at hotels etc. were appropriate.

I cannot recommend him more if you are traveling to Ethiopia. He is also in the process of setting up a website I believe.

Contact him on zewdume_18@gmail.com or +251 913 636 414.

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6. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

Correction: email address is zewdume_18@yahoo.com

Ho Chi Minh City...
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7. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

My GF and I joined Zewdu Melak for a private tour of Lalibela and the surrounding area for a few days in February. Lalaibela and its churches was a "can't miss" and It was a great tour. He was knowledgeable and articulate when describing their sites and their history. He also knows the general history and Ethiopia and its customs well. Sometimes he leads tours around the country. His English is great and he is a real professional. I'd suggest you take his advice when deciding where to eat, what sites to see, etc. He makes good and realistic itineraries while remaining flexible. My GF and I were often slow to get started in the morning and he always patiently waited and then adjusted the itinerary accordingly. Somehow we still always managed to see everything we wanted to without being hurried. He has a skill for that. He even helped us with personal things, like getting sim cards for our phones and taking us out at night to see local dancing at a traditional style club. Overall, I unhesitatingly recommend Zewdu if you want a tour of Lalibela, or anywhere in Ethiopia, You can reach him at zewdume_18@yahoo.com or +251 913 636 414. Have a great trip and say hi to Zewdu for us!

British Columbia
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8. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

I found out about zewdu through trip advisor recommendations, I wasn't planning to use a guide for my trip to lalibela but came across his name so decided to contact him and inquire. I was in bahir dar and planning to travel by bus the next day, zewdu was prompt in his response and was actually also in bahir dar finishing up a group tour. In the end he changed his plans to fly so he could join me on the long (and bumpy) bus to lalibela. It was great to have him join me and help navigate the buses and when to switch in Gashena, he did this all just to help and didn't ask for any compensation. The next day we had our tour in lalibela, I enjoyed it very much. Zewdu is well educated and is from lalibela so knows the history very well, he is thorough and professional. Another plus (which I hadn't seen other reviewers mention but it's good to know) is that Zewdu is fluent in German and often leads German speaking tour groups.

All in all, I can say he was a great guide, he went above and beyond (even checking in with me the days following our tour to see how I was doing) I would highly recommend him!

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

I recently spent a week in Ethiopia and boy am I glad I found Zewdu! He accompanied me to Lalibela, Gondar and the Simien Mountains and was happy to tailor the trip however I requested. He speaks perfect English (and German!) and acted very professionally the entire time, frequently checking my welfare and enjoyment levels (which never wavered). Furthermore, he was able to recommend and take me to great local places to eat, drink and shop,all at his own expense. He was always on time and explained the entire days itinerary with such precise organisation (which I love!), but was also flexible enough to cater to impromptu changes and requests from me.

I couldn't recommend Zewdu highly enough. He has trained at a university level in tourism and knows everything there is to know about the culture, traditions and sights of beautiful Ethiopia.

He is available and willing to guide people across all of Ethiopia and will tailor a personal itinerary to suit.

His details are:

Email: zewduger@gmail.com

Ph: +251 913 636 414

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10. Re: Zewdu Melak – A Great Lalibela Guide

Just wanted to push this back to the top as people might have been not wanting to go after riots. Everything is safe in Lalibela for tourists.

My experience with Zewdu:

We visited Ethiopia recently, and Zewdu was our wondeful guide for our 5 day tour of Lalibela, Gondar and Semien mountains. Zewdu organised our unforgettable tour in Ethiopia and he designed a good itinerary. He can organise and do a tour all over Ethiopia for a group or individual visitors.

I guarantee that you will enjoy his services and professionalism.

Let him know that you were recommended from us on TripAdvisor .

His contact details are: phone +251 913 636 414

Email zewduger@gmail.com

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