We stayed for two nights at the twenty two roomed “Buska Lodge”:http://www.buskalodge.com/ whilst visiting the tribes of Southern Ethiopia. The lodge’s website describes it as ‘an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers (sic) the best accommodation and meal service in this region’. That is probably true, but only because there is no competition – it was without doubt, the poorest accommodation of our entire month long trip.
Our lodge, number 13, was a short walk from the main reception area and restaurant. The individual lodge was very spacious with a typical round design and bamboo roof. The twin beds, complete with mosquito net, were welcome as it was so hot. There was a huge shelf at a good height so we left our suitcases open and lived out of them without fully unpacking. There was a dining table and chairs and what was described as a ‘sunrise terrace’. The main problem was that the electricity was on a generator which was only turned on from 6am to 9.30am and 6.30pm to 10pm. Consequently charging of our phones, cameras, kindles etc, was difficult as we’d normally do this overnight. It was a good job we had torches to keep under our pillows as once the generator was turned off, the room was pitch black.
The bathroom was also a good size but because the shower attachment didn’t work, we had to limbo under the waist-high tap. The room was very hot and the standalone fan struggled to cool the large room so we were just as sticky and warm after we’d finished. Hot water was restricted to 6.30pm to 10pm and there was no hot water at any time in the basin taps.
At reception, I was reporting the problem with the shower head and mentioned room 13. At this point another customer gave us and receptionist an ear bashing because his group of 16 had left in the morning for a day’s excursion only to return early evening to find their things had been moved from their rooms (including our number 13) and consequently they had nowhere to sleep. We left him to argue his case.
There was no wi-fi and Credit cards were not taken. Massages were available for a very reasonable $13 an hour as well as pedicures and manicures.
The terrace opposite the restaurant had a couple of large tables and chairs. However, when we wanted cold drinks on returning to the lodge at 5pm (before the electricity came on) resulted in luke warm drinks with no ice. I’m not sure what they do about fridges in the kitchen?
Evening meals started at 7.30pm and whilst the hotel blurb described two restaurants, ultimately it was two circular seating areas with a buffet station in the middle (there appeared to be a pizza station but as it was full house, this wasn’t mentioned). The food was reasonable and despite sounding a little odd, a lasagne made out of spaghetti with gratin potatoes and tiny meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce was rather good. There was no pudding to speak of and we took our wine outside to finish before heading for our room at 9.45pm to ensure we were able to beat the generator curfew.
Dinner the following night was a beef fest – beef stroganoff, spicy beef mince and sliced beef with melon for pudding. Outside with drinks, we got chatting to a Polish family. Mum was very cultural and spoke good English. She told us she regularly visited London to discover the places mentioned in Samuel Pepys diaries which she read in English along with Nigella’s cook book!
Breakfasts weren’t a great affair with a very limited selection and we settled for toast and jam with juice and coffee as there were long queues for the egg chef..
However, our main issue was with the staff who seemed to lack any direction or professionalism unlike many other places we stayed at. Whilst I’d never recommend the lodge, I suspect it is difficult to find anything any better in the area.