I had an exceptional time at Soma Lodge, Arba Minch. When we arrived we were given a very informative tour of the lodge, the bungalows and the restaurant. The bungalows were very similar to Aragesh Lodge, the traditional weaving of the region meant the thatch work was practical as well as decorative. The bedding was also very comfortable and clean. Hot water is a rarity in the region and we all had warm showers after a very dusty 7-hour drive! The view was perfect, you can see both lakes clearly as well as down into the Nech Sar forest. The restaurant was very comfortable and the fresh grilled fish was the best fish I've ever had in Ethiopia. The owner, Getachew Haile, was very hospitable and paid attention to every detail of our stay, which is quite a luxury in Ethiopia (not a service-oriented country). We were able to request a 5 AM wake up and breakfast in order to make it into the national park to see the animals. Never in my experience of Ethiopia has someone been able to make a request like this and actually receive it on time! Not only that, but the price was unbeatable. Even the slummy Bekele Mola would have cost us more. Discovering the Soma Lodge definitely made the trip!
Points of interest: Definitely check out the Dorze tribe scarves, the Chenche Market just up the same mountain and the boat ride to see hippos and crocodiles. If you have nothing else to do then go to Nech Sar National Park and the crocodile farm.
The view was unbelievable and there was plenty of comfortable seating to watch the sunset and rise. There was also a traditional coffee ceremony set up just for us and the coffee from the region was very good.
We had allready put our tent at the campground, but because we were curious about the beehives, we asked the staff of the hotel to show us the interior of the beehives. We were surprised about how spacious they were, but it was even more amazing how stylish the ''rooms'' were furnished and decorated in an unique African style.
At the eastside the beehives had their own terrace with the most breathtaking views at the lakes and National Park.
East of Shecha, the southern centre of Arba Minch, we spent the night at the edge of the escarpment overlooking the lakes and the National Park.
We stayed at the campground, where they were building new facilities. There was shortage of water for the toilets and showers.
We had lunch in the restaurant, where we discovered, that it was also possible to stay in traditional beehives with more comfort than you should expect at first sight.
Great views, good food.
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