We stayed in a variety of interesting places on our Ethiopian trip, all with one thing in common; character. Staying with Mesfin & his guys at the Hudad on top of this mountain headland / cliff was a really wonderful experience. We were anxious to get a confirmation from the Hudad, as we had changed our dates. Luckily for us, we bumping into one of the guides in Lalibella town and he assured us all was fine. On the mountain there is no wifi (another top reason for going, almost..) so correspondence can be delayed / sporadic, but do not despair or give up hope! Relax into the local pace and have faith.
Having read reviews I had packed a warm 'down jacket', carrying it through the sub-tropical areas of Ethiopia I did doubt my need for it. Once up on the mountain, it was essential once the sun went down and was accompanied by a hat and long sleeves. Due to the altitude, there are wild temperature fluctuations from day to night, one morning i managed to get sun burnt whilst having breakfast outside, but I digress. We opted to take the car / van to the nearest road drop off point and walk up from there. Steep it definitely was, loose rocks and all sorts, but stunningly beautiful. Also a good idea to have a donkey take your pack, unless you are some sort of masochist (!), so you have a fighting chance of enjoying the walk. Our guide and personal fixer for our time there was Yayo (sorry for the spelling!), who walked us up then morphed into our "fixer" and sorted everything else we needed for the duration. We went out walking with him on one day and he was very knowledgeable about the local area, flora & fauna and people. He was also happy to chill out and relax with us, even helping my wife to improve her Amharic language skills.
Our hut was very spacious and made in the traditional way, with a compacted earth floor and mud & stick walls. This keeps it cool during the day but also at night, so you need to wrap up warm if you feel the cold. Hot water bottles turn into 'morning wash' warm water in a simple, clever and sustainable way - very smart where water is scarce. We slept very well here and were pleased we had mountains of blankets.
The other people staying here were all cut from a similar-ish cloth, with a little bit of adventurousness in everyone. If you are used to international business hotels, this is not the place for you. If you enjoy living in the open air and feeling the heart of the planet beat, you will enjoy this. The guides and all of Mesfin's team are from the local area, so it provides an income for the local community, which is an excellent additional benefit. I have to mention the food, as this is always close to my heart; it was, in one word, excellent! If you agree that food tastes better eaten round a fire in the open air you will be similarly happy. I did go and personally thank the cook using my few words of Amharic, as she was mostly in the background working hard.
One of my favourite memories is of watching the big eagles & vultures wheeling around on the thermals right in front of us around the side of the plateau. In particular watching the local falcons hunting, diving and claw-to-claw grappling with each other in the skies above - breathtaking. The fresh mountain air and lack of dust (omnipresent everywhere else we went) gave the whole place a fresh and clean feel, well run and friendly. After the hectic Orthodox Christmas in Lalibela this was a very welcome change of pace.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lalibela Hudad is a rustic ecolodge close to Lalibela. It's a secluded natural sanctuar. A great place for wildlife sighting, hiking and relaxing. ... more less