We also used Alex Alebachew after seeing his name in here and other forums. We had planned a trip to addis, gondar, simien (6 days), lalibela, axum and then hawassa. We worked out the cost to sort this trip out ourselves and the got a quote from alex and the difference in price made it significantly worthwhile to have him organise the trip. We were so glad we did because he made the whole trip run like clockwork with guides to meet us from each internal flight and guide us each day. We are not people who tend to use guides but were were conscious that we avoided a lot of unnecessary hassle otherwise.
His email is alebachew_2005 at yahoo dot com
He was extremely trusting of us (we paid half up front and then half when we returned to england). He is very professional and clearly has an eye for the growing tourism industry in ethiopia.
Things we loved - trekking in the simens, walking around the gondar, a pre-sunrise walk around the churches and early services in the laliela churches, the undiscovered archaeoligy in axum, the one night of luxury in the haile selassi resort in hawassa, the coffee shop in the piazza area of addis..
One thing which we found was a big problem was the amount of tips that the mule men and guides expected at the ond of our simen trek. We had read the usual guidebooks and daily rate pulished in the park office but it seems that large professional groups have raied the expectations of the mule men. We had not wanted to carry sugnificant sums with us during the mountain trek and prepared accordlingly. We ended up tipping the mule men what we beleived to be a days' rate only to nave it thrown back and the local heavies surround us (we are aware of this prctice as a baraining stragegy but in this instance, there was a genuine misunderstanding between our respective expecqtqtions) . It left a sour taste following our wonderful moutnain trek. The money was not a problem, simply we would recommend that travellers get clear guidance from their guides or local experts as to what the current expectations are as to tips before they head off into the mountains.
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