Bus from Addis
-- purchase a ticket on the bus to Goba (or Robé) and tell them to let you off in Dodola. Purchase ticket from the same office in the bus station that handles tickets to Harer. Ticket was 43 birr, bus left at 7am, lunch at Ziway at 10am, get off in Dodola at 1pm.
Bale Mountain Hotel
-- got a room with attached bath for 30 birr. One of the nicest hotels in Ethiopia -- good food, coffee, running water, friendly staff.
There’s a bank in Dodola -- they cannot handle travellers cheques, but they broke some of my larger birr notes into smaller change.
Dodola horseback trek
through IFMP Office -- this was one of the highlights of my trip to Ethiopia. Mentioned in the Bradt guide, but not in the Lonely Planet. Go to website www.baletrek.com
for details. Went to the IFMP office at 3pm the day I arrived in Dodola and sorted out a trek starting the following day. Decided to go four days/three nights, via Adele, Angafu and Wahoro. I was able to meet up with another tourist after the first day and share some of the costs.
Here’s a breakdown of my costs:
- 88 b -- Taxi to/from the starting point: 11km one way, but you pay for the taxi returning empty to Dodola, 22 km return x 2birr/km x two trips (first and last day).
- 120 b- Guide (4 days x 30b)
- 240 b- horses (4 days x 3 horses (you, luggage, guide) x 20 birr)
- 60 b- horseman (4 days x 15 b) Note: I decided not to use a horse on day 2 (Adele to Angafu, only a 2 hour walk) and day 4 (descent from Wahoro to starting point, 4-5 hours downhill), preferring to take it slower and enjoy the forest. Take small change -- each day you get a new horses and horseman from a local village and you must pay each day. That way your money gets into the local economy.
- 75 b- hut charge (3 nights x 25 b)-- Again, bring change to pay this daily. Each hut can sleep about 8 people, but each must pay 25b. The money you pay stays in the villages -- about 20b goes to the hutkeeper and 5b goes to the community to fund schools or clinics.
When you arrive at each hut, the guide does an inspection -- there should be bedding, stove, cooking and eating utensils, salt, pepper, sugar, tea, cooking oil, kerosine, towels, toilet paper -- otherwise you get a discount from your hut charge. There’s a small charge for consuming some of the items (like oil). Eggs are available for sale and at one hut we purchased a sheep (60 b + 10b to prepare).
In the morning, my guide and I went to the market and bought the following: 2 packages of spaghetti (1kg, 8b), 3 tins tomato paste (3b), onions and green chili peppers (1.25b), 6 buns (1.8b), 2 tins tuna (16b), 2 packages cookies (4b).
My notes tell me that the total cost for four days was 690b, which works out to 172 b per day, or about US$20 per day.
The guide was great -- he pointed out the various plants and trees, and described their uses. Saw lots of birds, as well as colobus monkeys.