Ethiopia rural accommodation, nr Lalibela

Map

Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ethiopia rural accommodation, nr Lalibela

Environment

The Community Guest houses at between which guest trek are owned by the local communities. Environmental considerations are an integral part of the enterprises.

Ecotourism is a fundamental part of the project.
- numbers of tourists per site will be limited to 6-8
- eco-toilet (dry composting urine separating toilet)
- water available for washing, but tourists made aware of limited resource
- shower – (sun heated water) water diverted to promote tree growth
- Indigenous tree planting
- Protecting cliff faces with terracing
- Encouraging local community to see flora and fauna as a resource to protect

Community

Going on a trek with the local communities in Ethiopia is the best way of directly supporting rural communities. This is because the Community Guest houses at which our guests stay on their treks across the rural landscapes are cooperatives owned by the local communities.

Your visit will directly generates incomes for some community members as wages with the profit going into a fund for the whole community. This is not charity, but is payment for a quality service by local people. Their is a dignity to such exchanges which is not present in just handing over money. The tourism business in addition to giving the communities much needed income also gives them skills and the confidence to work together for joint benefit.

Of the payment for the trekking 55% of the (pre tax) payment goes directly to the community.
[25% is for the local guiding business that provides well trained guides and gives support to the communities, and 20% goes to marketing and booking services].

This income is used by the communities to pay wages for their own staff (from within the community), food and material costs.; the remaining profit goes inot their own bank account from which some is used for reinvestment, with the rest going support the local community endeavours. This may be for micro-loans, grain banks and stores or other activities.

Reviews of Ethiopia rural accommodation, nr Lalibela

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 28 Jun 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We decided on the Abuna Yoseph trek and whilst hard on the feet it was absolutely worth the effort. The camp we stayed at was in the most stunning position. In any other country I am convinced this entire area would be designated a national park. The landscape aside, what really made this trip was the people. It was a wonderful experience staying and walking with the locals and whilst humbling at times it never once felt uncomfortable which is remarkable given the difference in wealth between the hosts and guests. Our local guides signing after lunch in the mountains and Fentaw our host/translator dancing back in Lalibela will both live long in the memory.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This specific trek was hard work. It does involve one extremely long day and the altitude has an impact. However, I personally am not the fittest and I managed it with no altitude acclimatisation. Make sure you have good boots though and are prepared for blisters etc. The other treks are a lot less challenging though, I believe, so there are options if you are less ambitious. Make sure you leave some time to see Lalibela itself, at least one full day. A meal at the Seven Olives is also highly recommended. If you can, take equipment that you can leave behind. Even if it is an ageing pair of boots - the locals have very little and would appreciate it. This sort of thing is best left to the NGO to distribute however as they have done a great job in not creating a climate where guests are asked for money etc etc.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. The income received goes directly to the communities in the area you walk through. Of all the trips I have done this one is the only one where I have no reservations regarding the impact of my tourism on the country and local people. This is a fantastic organisation - please support them. The local people have so little and yet are among the friendliest and most welcoming hosts I have ever encountered.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Amazing. This trip followed on from our trip to Uganda which was impossible to top. This came pretty close though and I'm only disappointed that we only had 4 nights in Ethiopia as it is the most remarkable country with the most amazing people. This place deserves more tourists and this organization provides the opportunity in a brilliant way.

Reviewed on 02 Dec 2006 by

Take a look at Justin's photos from this trip. (click photos to enlarge)
Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo Click to enlarge Lalibela accommodation holiday photo

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The walk is simply spectacular with magnificent views over the escarpment every step of the way. We saw no other tourists at all, but the highlight for me was the opportunity to meet and spend time with local priests, farmers (I tried ploughing a field with oxen), friendly, happy and polite local children, weavers (again we had a go!) and farmers. The people are really lovely and very welcoming and we found it an extraordinary privilege to meet them and learn about their lives. Our local guides spoke very good English and looked after us well – there’s nothing better than having drink and some pancakes sat on the cliffs watching the sunset, the indigenous Gelada baboon and some stunning birds.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book it, it will be the experience of a lifetime and the perfect addition to a visit to the rock churches in Lalibela. Plan to do some walking at home before you leave. It’s pretty much flat all the way –along the top of an escarpment - but plan to wall for about 7 hours per day (you can take a horse for part or all of this if you prefer). As about visiting weavers and local people’s homes – the guides are from the villages you trek through and know exactly where to take you (and how to do it in a respectful way). If you have the chance visit towards the end of October – just as the harvest is coming in.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The communities that we visited never had any savings before tourism. Tourism has provided this income, and enabled them to prepare in case the rains fail. They’ve also used it to make micro loans to other members of their communities so that they tool can develop small grain trading businesses. It’s a remarkable demonstration of what a difference tourism can make. We listened to a number of speeches from village elders and priest who explained how they could no longer rely on their crops, and that tourism income what a vital additional income.

Convert currencies