Where to stay in Ethiopia

Until recently there was little luxury accommodation available in Ethiopia, and to a degree that’s still the case. Across the country, you will find a range of camps and safari lodges some of which remain both basic and primarily functional. However, particularly in areas such as Lalibela and in Addis Ababa, there are now an increasing number of lodges, villas and hotels that are of a very good standard.

See below for our top pick of the best locations to stay in Ethiopia.

Bale Mountain Lodge, Bale Mountains

"A unique wilderness lodge in one of the most amazing places on earth."

Bale Mountain Lodge is an eleven room boutique forest wilderness lodge located deep within the Bale Mountain National Park (BMNP) of south central Ethiopia. Each room at the Lodge has a wood-burning stove and private terrace, and enjoys exceptional views of the lovely surroundings. The central building, fashioned from local stone, nestles into the hillside, minimising its visual impact.

In keeping with its eco-credentials, electricity is generated by a nearby micro-hydro plant, and the lodge is committed to minimising non-biodegradable waste through various innovative methods. Larger groups or families can be accommodated in a three bedroomed, rustic house with its own sitting room.

No trip to Bale would be complete without spending time on the Sanetti Plateau. Most trips up to the heights result in a sighting of the rare Ethiopian Wolf but even those trips that do not get a sighting can be sure of amazing bird watching, stunning views and, at 4000m above sea level, a truly breath-taking experience.

Mayleko Lodge, Gondar

Located just a couple of minutes from Gondar Airport, Mayleko Lodge offers comfortable rooms, a very warm welcome, great food and a refreshing pool. Twenty individual stone and thatch chalets are backdropped by Dilha Mountain and enjoy views of distant ridges, green valleys and small farms. Mayleko Lodge is the ideal base from which to visit the Royal Compound in Gondar.

The lodge puts great emphasis on engagement of the local community and sustainability as is apparent in the traditional construction design and the use of recycled hardwood, building material and locally crafted rustic furniture. All bungalows are en-suite and benefit from the privacy of their own verandahs. Other amenities include a restaurant with terrace and a swimming pool. An ideal base for trekking or horse-riding excursions, Mayleko Lodge is a great place to wind down and recharge your batteries.

Maribela Hotel, Lalibela

Maribela Hotel is located in the heart of the Lalibela Mountains in northern Ethiopia. It offers spacious and modern rooms all with breathtaking views of the Ethiopian Highlands.

Maribela has 20 well-appointed rooms with single, twin or double beds. Each room has an en-suite bathroom and a private balcony, ideal for admiring the panoramic views of the highlands and mountains. Other facilities in each room include a TV and Wi-Fi Internet access.

Lalibela is the medieval capital of Ethiopia, famous for its awe-inspiring rock-hewn churches; the seventh wonder of the world according to UNESCO world heritage records.

Buska Lodge, Omo Valley

Situated in the heart of Southern Ethiopia in the Omo Valley, Buska Lodge is the most comfortable spot from which to explore this stunning part of Ethiopia. Tucked away just outside of the remote outpost of Turmi, Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hammer community offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley.

Bedrooms are all found in individual rounded huts or "tukuls" as they are known locally. The beds are draped in full-length mosquito nets and fans are provided for guests' comfort. The en-suite bathrooms have hot running water and flush loos, although the hot water is restricted to certain times of day. Each tukul has a small sun terrace at the front where guests can relax and watch the sunrise. There is a lovely restaurant at the lodge which serves a variety of local and international cuisine. The staff here are very friendly and the lodge works with a number of the local Hammer Villages to ensure that the locals benefit directly from the tourists that the lodge draws to the region. A great spot from which to explore Turmi.