Simien Lodge

1032 Reviews

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Date of travel

January, 2016

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Culture / Sightseeing

“Simien Lodge”:, in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountain National Park, is the highest lodge in Africa at 3250m above sea level. It is was reached by travelling 22 km along a dusty track from the town of Debark.

The individual 26 tukuls (round rooms) were in three rows (six on the front and 10 on the second and third) and set on a slight hill away from reception and the restaurant. We were in the middle row which was a bit of a hike along a rather uneven stone path. Sturdy shoes are the order of the day.

Each tukul has a small tiled porch with chairs and a table but because it was at the back it didn’t get the afternoon sun and was rather dark and cold. The room was pretty spacious with a large double bed, plenty of shelves, desk and a couple of chairs. The bathroom was a reasonable size with shower, loo and basin and a rather precariously hanging mirror above the basin. However there was a hairdryer and room safe. The flat ceiling was covered in bamboo and walls were stone with an thatched roof which has to be repaired every three years.

As the water is heated by solar power, we decided to have early showers just in case it all went as one tank feeds two tukuls. The solar power is also meant to provide under floor heating but the stone tiles still felt cold.

Each night before dinner there is a film in the bar about the Gelada baboons delivered by a young Australian biologist which was very good, informative and funny especially when he made a stuffed leopard to find out the reaction of the baboons when a predator was at close quarters.

Although there was a huge circular fire in the dining room, it was only lit it in a couple of places and so it was a little chilly (blankets are provided for snuggling into when sat in the bar). During our stay, we were one of only two couples with the rest of the guests in big groups. As dinner was a buffet you need to get your timing right to avoid queuing. The soups at Simien Lodge were excellent on both nights: blended vegetable soup one night and tomato the next – they were hot, full of flavour and a good consistency. There were around 10 main dishes on offer (many of them vegetarian) and we both plumped for macaroni cheese which looked a little dry, until we spooned over what was described as a vegetable sauce which was spicy. I followed with a swan choux bun for pudding.

Hot water bottles are provided at reception for you to take to bed.

We woke the following day to a strong knocking on our window and found a small bird tapping away with his beak. Although breakfast was a buffet, it was pretty organised as someone was on toast duty and there was an egg chef.

On our second night, the power went off unexpectedly just as we were about to shower. However, fortunately the water was solar heated and we showered and dressed by torch light. As it looked as though the cut could last we decided to light the three candles which we in a box with what we assumed was the matches – but no, bizzarely it was a shower cap. Fortunately we had matches. Out of our window, we could see new guests arriving – poor people having to arrived in the dark with no electricity. Whilst it came on over dinner, it went off again in the early hours of the morning.

Helen Jackson

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