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“Indescribably beautiful”
Review of Lalibela Hudad

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Lalibela Hudad
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 February 2012

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.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank aababa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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134 - 140 of 159 reviews

Reviewed 12 February 2012

Everything that has been said in the previous reports is true. It is beautiful, peaceful, aesthetically wonderful. There is something magical about this place. It's the ancient mountains, the beautiful aesthetic of the buildings which are built with true artisanship, the wonderful food, the beautiful traditional clothing that is in each room for you to wear for warmth and atmosphere. But what we remember most is the people. The warmth and the camaraderie was so special. The camps fires, the songs, the wonderful humour, the ease of just being together. We feel like family and we were only there for 2 nights!!! Thank you Mesfin and all the other wonderful people we met. We miss you all

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jenny O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2012

Leave the fascinating but busy and sometimes stressful tourist town of Lalibela and head up to the Hudad. 3.5 or 4 hours walking (or less by mule) and you will be confronted with a rocky steep path up the cliff to arrive at your private paradise. An amba (flat topped piece of land) surrounded by cliffs makes it into a private (and peaceful) mountain fortress. Sunset and sunrise are spectacular, the hospitality amazing and the incredible feeling of just floating above the town with views in all directions is something I never expected to find! I did expect something good but not as good as it turned out to be. Enjoy the traditonal leg washing, the campfires with local farmers (not the forced experience you sometimes have to endure) and the excellent service, choice of drinks and food. Huge double beds and warm clothing are there to make your stay even more special. Loos and showers are somewhat basic (to be improved I am informed) but who needs all that when its cold at night and you are warm and well fed. The Hudad makes the best of having no electricity - making a feature of great eco loos and eco showers (during the day when its not too cold!) yet there is a good mobile and internet signal for those that need.

I almost don't want to write all this as when lots of people realise just what a great place this is it will not be the secret hideaway I now know it to be.................but there you go - I have already spilled the beans.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank 13exotictraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

Lalibela Hudad is a pioneering eco-resort atop a volcanic plateau, overlooking exquisite scenery. It is truly a "world lit by fire" - no aircraft contrails, no electric lights, no traffic noise, no evidence of "civilization" except a few scattered villages on the slopes of neighboring valleys - just pure, unadulterated peace and beauty.
The plateau is large, reached by a narrow gateway that ensures you are surprised and delighted by your very first view. The tukuls (stone, thatched huts) are well separated, each with its own special outlook, and furnished with huge, comfortable beds, cushioned settees, and a selection of decorative local artifacts. A thoughtful selection of warm, handmade clothing is provided for your comfort. The tukuls are lit by candlelight, which makes you feel as if you've returned to the days of Emperor St. Lalibela. Two restaurants and additional, more elaborate bathing facilities are under construction. We had the opportunity to see how quickly and effectively the Ethiopians work, so anticipate the development will proceed as planned, and rapidly. Everything is brought up by human labour, and every scrap of rubbish packed out the same way...a remarkable undertaking.
The wildlife is abundant and treated with respect by the operators. We saw eagles, ptarmigan, baboons, and marmots, in addition to a number of small songbirds we couldn't identify. We encountered no pests or aggressive wildlife. A certain amount of the food is grown on the plateau but mostly it is retained as a natural habitat.
Guests and staff make their own fun in the evenings, seated around a crackling fire in front of the main building. Everyone contributes something - a dance, a song, a story. This is a rare opportunity to interact with Ethiopians on terms of equality. Their genuine hospitality makes you feel so very special. The evening ended with a washing of the feet and massage of the lower legs - heavenly.
The access is improved and mules are available (400 ETBs, $24 at time of writing). Guides take excellent care of you, monitoring your safety and comfort. The focus is on ensuring that you have a wonderful experience on your own terms/level. Nobody rushes you, nobody draws unfavourable comparisons between his extraordinary fitness and your pallid Western state ;).
I have no hesitation in recommending the trip even to the less fit and certainly plan to return when I next visit Lalibela.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank BostonGCC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We spent a wonderful day climbing a very steep hill to get to the top of this "Ambo" - a type of natural rock formation with a flat top which is typical of this part of Northern Ethiopia. It took about 2 hours of steep climbing, a long part of it on mule. At some stages it was so steep that we had to get off the mules and push them! There is just one entry to the top, which is surrounded by sheer cliffs. There is a lovely large building which is the centre of the area, where there are drinks and cooking facilities. Round this central feature are a number out of tukuls (round huts) for single habitation and a few family size rooms in construction. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
We happened to get there by chance, because of a contact with a young Italian architect who is involved in the project. The driving force is a charismatic Ethiopian, Mesfin, who has a background in the hotel industry and was asked by the villagers to come and help them set up an eco-lodge. He trained some of the villagers to become god waiters and cooks and room attendants. The work is being undertaken by the villagers working cooperatively. The deal is that they will share the profits with Mesfin.
We recommend it highly; there were two families, totalling 9 people and everyone had a great time!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank BenjaminLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2012

After a hike of a few hours with my very charming and motivating guide Derebe I arrived on this mountain top. Based on my wishes (visiting villages, sites) he created a two-day hike I really enjoyed.

The views to all areas are incredible. The next morning I woke up early to enjoy the view from all areas. Who needs a tv if you have a view like that with all nature and animals surrounding you.

The rooms are clean and the bed was the best I had. Since the tukuls are far apart you have a lot of privacy.
The hudad has no floating water and electricity, but the (eco)toilets are clean and staff provides you with hot water to bath in. They are working very hard on a bit more luxury. However this was even better then hotels I was in who had water and electricity.

They even provide warm sweaters, blankets and campfire so you can go there with just a daypack (very cold at night). Having a footmassage in front of campfire while the guards were singing was very special and I still smile thinking of that.

I don't know how the cook does it, but diner, breakfast and lunch was delicious. The staff is very thoughtfull and it feels like a 5-star hotel with this service.
The fact that you can arrange everything (cook, mules etc) through them makes it easy to get there.

I really want to go back and that says a lot for someone who always want to see more of the world.

I saw roadtracks close to the hudad but don't know from where you can reach it by car. So either walking or by mule.

http://lalibelahudad.com

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled solo
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Thank IngetH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2012

A party of nine of us made the treck on Mules to this amazing place. It is a wonderful experience for scenery, wildlife, hospitality, cultural experience and architecture.
The buildings are deliberately rustic- using the venacular style of architecture with a stylish interpretation.
We had a tour of the unfinished part of the 'eco resort' from the owner Mesfin and his Italian British-trained architect Mario. The buildings are beautifully made of locally quarried stone, carried up the mountain by the local villagers- some large pieces taking up to one hundred men to move. It is a fabulous achievement ( not yet complete when we visited in December). They are building a restaurant and two large villas.

We had a wonderful evening with locals round the campfire, singing and dancing. Despite the lack of electricity and a kitchen as we would know it, the local staff cooked up a storm on the open fires.We even had a choice of meals- chicken with rice, pepper steak, macaroni with tuna etc , red wine and cool if not cold beers- all carried up the mountain in the party who accompanied us on the mules. The altitude is around 10,000 feet so visitors will find it very difficult to walk up although the locals are acclimatised and run up carrying crates of beer and food.
The accommodation in the stone tukuls is charming and comfortable and we were able to use a solar charger for our i phones and i pad. Extra hats, jumpers, dressing gowns and large furry blankets are all provided in case of cold evenings. Ablution facilities are still very basic but I think they are building solar heated showers.
The troop of Gelada Baboons are great to watch with the Alpha males sporting huge manes like lions.
I think the mules were about $25 each for the round trip- well worth it although it took a bit of organising. Luckily one of our party spoke Amharic.
We wish Mesfin the best of luck with this venture. We love his philosophy of employing locals and sharing profits with the village.
Believe the other reviews- it is well worth the effort to get to the Hudad.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Hewood25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lalibela Hudad

Address: AboChagula Reserve, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Region: Ethiopia > Amhara Region > Lalibela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 Speciality Lodging in Lalibela
Price Range: £43 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
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 

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