In early November, my boyfriend and I and one other couple (friends of ours) decided to do a trek in the Simien mountains. We went with Explore Abyssinia Travel, headed by Seyoum Yigzaw, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. Compared with our experiences with some other hotels and/or tour operators in Ethiopia, Seyoum was an absolute saint! The trip that he put together for us was incredible - well organized and memorable. Our guide throughout the trek, Bego, was knowledgeable, friendly, and told us all kinds of crazy stories about trekking in the Simen mountains, and even showed us some of his own "secret" places he usually doesn't take tourist trekkers to (though I'm sure he probably says this to every group! :)
on one evening during our trek, it rained VERY heavily for about 3 hours straight and hailed as well; at the camp, almost everyone's tents were flooded, and people didn't have stoves to make dinner. however, thanks to the professionalism of explore abyssinia, our tents were practically the only ones unscathed, and we were able to eat a delicious dinner by candlelight thanks to our wonderful cook and guide.
while some people prefer to arrange their own trekking in the mountains as opposed to going through an outfitter, i would highly recommend explore abyssinia. we found the prices reasonable, and the quality of service VERY worthwhile. compared to the other groups we encountered who had organized their own trips, i think we were able to have a much better experience thanks to the knowledge and generosity of our team from explore abyssinia.
also, in gondor, we highly recommend lodge du chateau! we had originally made reservations at a different hotel (the taye hotel), but when we first arrived in gondor, we went to meet seyoum at lodge du chateau, and immediately fell in love with the friendly service, delicious coffee, and amazing views from the upper deck.
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