These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Catherine Potten review 21 Nov 2011
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Walking in the Simien Mountains. I had seen pictures and had been telling my friends that I wasn't going to the desert but I was not prepared for the spectacular beauty of these mountains. The walking was not challenging as we were on the escarpment but it helps if you are relatively fit as you are at altitude.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
If you are looking for a mixture of culture in a country that for centuries did not have outside influence and so is pretty unique, as well as being active outdoors in wonderful scenery, then this is a superb trip.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Not too sure. We used local guides & were obviously bringing income to the areas that we visited. We travelled between towns by air as travel by road takes too long. If you are conscious of reducing air travel then note that there are 3 internal flights as well as the international flights.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Fantastic; Ethiopia is a wonderful country to visit. The people are welcoming and to visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in a week's trip is no mean feat. Our tour guides were excellent; everything was well organised and apart from the fact that I wish that we had spent longer in the mountains this can only serve as proof that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Read the operator's response here:
We are so delighted you enjoyed your trip Catherine. I'd also like to emphasise how this trip benefits local communities - the walking component of the trip was set up as a community project, offerring employment to local guides and a source of income to villages who participate. This encompasses everything from guides/camp assistants to purchasing supplies. Our 2012 Ethiopia program includes another incredible community project TESFA - silver medal winner in the AITO Roger Diski community tourism award. To read more visit www.community-tourism-ethiopia.com
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, we have also set up a charitable foundation through which we can channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.