- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
summiting ras dashen (the main reason i booked the trip)
the friendly, smily ethiopian people and children running up to shake your hand
the scenary, which changed all the time, always with something new to see
- What did you think of your group leader?
we had 2 leaders. messi, the ethiopian guide and suzie from the UK
messi is a lovely, sweet natured guy. when the group was together, he walked slowly, as you should at altitude and was calm and relaxed but on 2 days the group split into 2 and messi seemed not to trust suzie with her group and both days he left us to walk by ourselves while he joined suzies group. im not sure why he felt he had to be responsible for both groups. he seemed very nervous of the weather as we had heavy rain and thunder the first few afternoons. the ascent of ras dashen he did at a ridiculouly fast pace. again im not sure why. one guy couldnt manage and dropped out and the rest of us couldnt keep up with him. he seemed focused on getting up there as fast as he could and never looked back to see how we were doing. i found his behaviour very strange. maybe it was a bit of lack of experience too. im not sure
suzie didnt give us much information and always had to be asked the programme for the next day. she often contradicted messis timings but he was spot on. suzie also got very worked up about the weather. i have never known such a fuss about a bit of rain. we had waterproofs, but there were such dramas and she probably didnt help to calm messi down. she didnt tell us much about the country either and i was surprised that she didnt say anything about not giving money to people begging. one lady was going to give money to a man begging and i said she shouldnt but that should have come from suzie. messi was very strict about not giving handouts
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
try to learn a bit about the history of the country before you go.
dont underestimate this trek.make sure you are fit as there are some long days and that you are happy walking on rough, rocky ground. the last 100m to ras dashen is an easy scramble if you are used to moving on rock, but if not do some easy scrambles in the UK before you go. you will enjoy the summit a lot more!
the tents are pitched quite close together so take ear plugs as you can hear every sound
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
dont take any notice of people who say there is nothing to see in addis ababa. true, its a building site at the moment but it is a developing city. try to wander down churchill avenue/ gambia street and see the lion of judah and derg monuments and the red terror museum is meskel square is a must see.
forget the bad publicity the country got from live aid and which has stuck for 20 odd years. just go and see it all for yourself
there were 18 in our group which was far too many as people were different fitnesses/ confidences and on 2 days we split into 2 groups, which i think was the problem with messi trying to be responsible for both groups