We had a wonderful stay here. We went through Tesfa (the office is near the Tukul Village at the bottom part of Lalibela) who organised everything for us. The trek up was no walk in the park and it took us around 4 hours, but we were provided with mules to carry our bags. And the guide who was controlling them was just great, he didn't hit them or anything, which we've seen a lot of in Ethiopia.
We were accompanied by a guide, a young guy from Lalibela who spoke English, as well as two guides from the village up in the highlands (no English, but know the area very well), near to where the tukul huts are. We spent two nights here and on the second day we had the choice of climbing Abune Yosef, a 40km round trip, or taking a walk through the highlands where we would get to visit the local school, church and the homes of some of the villagers. We opted for the second choice and spent a pretty non-strenuous day visiting the attractions and seeing village life. We were invited into the home of one family and partook in a coffee ceremony, were shown around and how they do things etc.
The beds in the huts were comfortable and bedding is provided. It was cold at night so I would recommend bringing something warm. There is no water or electricity but we enjoyed a lovely fire each night. There is the option to bathe/clean in water which they will heat up for you, but we were mindful of the fact that all water must be hauled by someone from the village so we declined. The toilet is a long drop with a window which looks out over the landscape. It's the nicest view I've ever had from sitting on any toilet!
There is a guard at night so safety is not an issue. There was a young girl, 17, who prepared our meals for us and she was just wonderful - made the most nourishing and tasty food which we really appreciated after spending the day exercising in the fresh air.
The three guides, cook and guard were all extremely welcoming and hospitable. It's part of the culture to take care of the guests and to give them the best food, make them feel welcome etc and only once the guests are satisfied, will they eat. This made us feel a little uncomfortable and sometimes, if the food is gone, they will only get something basic like firfir or bread...we were mindful of the fact that they had done just as much exercise as us during the day so felt a little guilty...
In order to catch a bus, we woke at around 4am and walked back to Lalibela on our last day. We had torches but the light of the moon was enough and there were crocodile lines of people on their way down to, and back up from Lalibela that whole way!
The views are formidable in every direction, and rumour has it that Brad Pitt did the same trek a few years back and also stayed here. Wonder which bed he had?!
I would really recommend this trek; around half of your money goes straight back into the local village.
If you're a sleep walker, make sure you lock your door at night as the tukuls are literally perched on the edge of a cliff!
All in all a wonderful experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lalibela Hudad is a rustic ecolodge close to Lalibela. It's a secluded natural sanctuar. A great place for wildlife sighting, hiking and relaxing. ... more less