Magical getaway devised and staffed by locals
Degosach Eco Lodge 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, 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. one restaurant , 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 (200 ETBs, $9 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 unfavorable 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.