Ethiopia Historical and Contemporary 11th-25th February 2012 Tour Leader Dr Richard Marsh
Dr Richard MarshSince we’ve not been able to meet for a briefing, rather than aslideshow of places you’ll see, I’ll try to give you useful informationabout practical things you need to know.
What’s in this Presentation?• A quick overview of where you will stay and what we’ll try to do (view in conjunction with your joining instructions)• Getting there and getting around• Money – how much will you need?• Weather and Health• Food and Drink• Questions folk have asked me over the years
Darwood, your National GuideDarwood (left) will be our guide throughout the tour. I’ve workedwith him for many years, he’s the best logistician in the business!Solomon (right) owns the Jerusalem Guest House in Lallibella
Addis Ababa Ghion Hotel• Central location with pleasant gardens (maybe a little busy with weddings in the run-up to Lent)• A little run-down• Thermal swimming pool (the only one you’ll find on the main tour)• Convenient supermarket in Meskel Square• Efficient money changing facilities
Addis Ababa What we’ll do• Sunday 12th February • Monday 13th February• Short City Orientation • Introductory Talk (mainly nuts and bolts)• Drive to the viewpoint on • National Museum Mount Entoto overlooking • Fistula Hospital the city • Institute of Ethiopian Studies • Trinity Cathedral (if folk not too tired may do this Sunday) • Talk from an Ethiopian NGO Chief Exec on challenges and opportunities
Axum Yeha Hotel• Wonderful location and views (watch out for the midges on the terrace in the evening)• A bit run-down• Internet available in the lobby• Food variable (don’t panic, we’ll eat out sometimes)• Efficient, cheap laundry service
Axum What We’ll do• Tuesday February 14th• Fly from Addis (early start)• Archaeological tour of Axum (always carry a torch)• Evening talk on the politics of the Queen of Sheba
Axum What We’ll do• Wednesday 15th February• Visit the Holiest Christian site in Ethiopia in Axum, the church compound• Afternoon, drive (see photo) to the pre-Axumite Temple at Yeha via the site of the Battle of Adwa (1896). I’ll try to introduce you to the basics of Ethiopian religious art and, if there’s time, talk about water pumps
Axum/Lalibela What We’ll do• Thursday 16th February• Fly Axum to Lalibela• Check in Roha Hotel (see next slide)• Visit Eastern Group of Churches (remember your torch and that you’ll be taking your shoes on and off)
Lalibela Roha Hotel• Convenient Location• New Management• Food and rooms reputedly much improved• Internet access in the lobby• Laundry possible
Lalibela What We’ll do• Friday 17th February• Visit the Western Group of Churches and Bet Giorgis• Afternoon visit to the Church of Nakuto La’ab• Dinner in the Jerusalem Guest House with live music (shoulder dancing compulsory...if I have to do it...so do you!)
Lalibela What We’ll do• Saturday 18th February• Yemrehane Chrestos Cave Church...this one’s for real connoisseurs and worth the walk• Talk about recent archaeological thinking about Lalibela• Free afternoon (bus available if you want to go to the centre of town)
Lalibela/Gondar What We’ll do• Sunday 19th February• Fly Lalibela to Gondar• Check in Goha Hotel (see next slide)• Visit the Castle compound and Fasilidas’ ‘bath’
Gondar Goha Hotel• Great location and views• Free wi-fi in the lobby and dining areas• Helpful staff• Laundry possible• Decent food
Gondar• Monday 20th February• Visit Debre Birhan Selassie Church• On to Kossoye for views over the Simien Mountains and maybe baboons and colobus monkeys• Return via the Ploughshare women’s project in a village where Felashas once lived• Talk: the Quest for Prester John
Gondar/Bahar Dar• Tuesday 21st February• By road to Bahar Dar• Check in Tana Hotel (see next slide)• Afternoon tour of Bahar Dar and visit an agricultural training scheme
Bahar Dar Tana Hotel• Great lakeside location (but beware the mosquitos)• A little run-down• I have seen a hippo in the lake• Buffet-style dining• Laundry
Bahar Dar• Wednesday 22nd February• All day trip on the lake to visit the sublime Narga Selassie Church with on-site talk, return via Zeghie Peninsular.• Private boat with a loo!• Packed lunch
Bahar Dar/Addis• Thursday 23rd February• Visit the Blue Nile Falls (actually, I can no more guarantee water than I can baboons or monkeys, but the walk is nice)• Fly Bahar Dar to Addis, check in Ghion Hotel
Addis Ababa• Friday 24th February• Visit Gemini Trust (working with families with twins and street children• Afternoon shopping in Churchill Road• Farewell dinner and traditional dancing• Group divides to go back to UK or down the Rift Valley (separate briefings for Rift Party)
Getting there And Getting Around Travelling to Ethiopia (these notes principally for those travelling with me from LHR• Remember your passport and e-ticket! Of course you will!• Make sure your Jon Baines’ Tours (JBT) is on the outside of your checked luggage• There are 2 groups travelling with JBT on the same flight: yours is the ‘Marsh Group’, the other is the ‘Williams Group’• Ethiopian Airlines is a decent airline...sleep maybe elusive, however!
Getting there And Getting Around Arriving in Addis (for all tour members)• Fill in a landing card on the plane (they bring them round) or in the immigration hall.• You are staying at the Ghion Hotel• Its phone number is 1 15513222• Your tour in Ethiopia is organised by Yumo Tours• If there are large queues at the currency exchange you can conveniently change money at the hotel.• Collect your baggage (you will need your baggage receipt to exit the building)• RV with me and we’ll head to the hotel
Getting there And Getting AroundInternal Flights• Ethiopian has a new fleet of aircraft• Flights are often late/delayed...be prepared for delays• Co-operate actively and cheerfully with security staff!• Some airports still have hand-searches of luggage• Some flights have ‘free’ seating...use elbows etc to ensure you have the seat you want...play the man not the ball!• Flights fly low with great views
Getting there And Getting AroundOne or two more thoughts....• Much of your tour is quite high up...take things slowly• Land transits by bus and 4X4 can be bumpy and dusty• Programmes change...I’ll tell you if there’s a change and explain why...• Oh, and, yes I did once leave somebody behind because they were late!!!
Money• Ethiopia’s currency is the Birr (ETB)• You cannot get ETB outside Ethiopia or take it out of Ethiopia• The exchange rate is set by the government• You must keep all your receipts• To change ETB back into your home currency you will need your receipts and a photocopy of your passport (do it at the hotel, mysteriously the change-back facility at the airport is always closed.• £1 (GBP) = 27.08 ETB• €1 (EUR) = 22.73 ETB• $1 (AUD) = 18.43 ETB• $1 (USD) = 17.26 ETB• $ 1 (HKD) = 2.22 ETB
Money• Debit/Credit Cards are rarely accepted• I recommend bringing spending money in $USD• Other currencies may be exchanged but with increasing difficulty outside Addis• ATM’s do not recognise non-Ethiopian debit/credit cards
MoneyHow much will you need?Obviously, that depends on you and your shopping habits.So, I asked Darwood for up-to-date prices on common items• 1 litre still water – between 15 and 22 ETB• 1 bottle local beer – between 19 and 22 ETB• 1 bottle local wine – between 100 and 190 ETB• 1 bottle imported wine...you don’t want to know...your really don’t!
Gratuities• Each participant pays into a gratuities fund at a rate of £60 GBP = $94 USD = 1,625 ETB = € 70 EUR• The money is dispensed according to a formula recommended by Jon Baines Tours and covers:• National Guide• Local Guides• Drivers• Extra assistance necessary in and around Lalibela and Gondar• Donations to churches etc• Water on the bus from Axum to Yeha• Water on the bus from Gondar to Bahar Dar
Weather and Health• It should be mostly warm and dry, but there is the chance of rain• It may not feel that hot because you are at a high altitude, do take normal sunblock precautions• Malaria is common around Lake Tana and down the Rift Valley• Upset stomachs etc are regular curses to visitors, you may wand to avoid eating for a day or so but do drink plenty of liquids• Evenings can be cool• A spare roll of toilet paper and sanitising hand-gell are useful
Food and Drink• You don’t go to Ethiopia for the food but you won’t starve• European food in hotels etc tends to be boring• Ethiopian food is rich spicey and sometimes chilli hot• Diet or Lite versions of fizzy drinks are rare• Local beer is fine...try the different varieties until you find the one that suits you• Local wine is fine...after the first glass or so
Final Thoughts and Things Folk have asked me• I don’t really know much about birds or wildlife...but Darwood’s got a book!• If you like reading in the evenings, Ethiopian hotels have patented the 9 watt light bulb, they can be very dim at night.• I try to finish days promptly at around 5.30 so we all have time for showers etc We normally start about 8.30 in the mornings.• If you don’t feel like doing something...it’s fine...nothing is compulsory
Conclusion• Ethiopia has captivated me for so many years now. It’s always a pleasure to see it through new eyes• I look forward to travelling with you
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