PLAN YOUR TRIP

Getaway (South Africa) - - Travel -

GET­TING THERE

Re­turn flights from Joburg to Ad­dis Ababa on Kenya Air­ways start at around R5 300. Ethiopian Air­lines flights be­tween Ad­dis and Gon­dar are from R3 000. ethiopi­anair­lines.com, kenyaair­ways.com. By road from Ad­dis, Sky and Se­lam bus ser­vices are the most re­li­able, with a bus change in Bahir Dar on Lake Tana. R600 (R300 per leg of the trip).

WHEN TO GO

Timkat is from 19 to 21 Jan­uary (in leap years on 20th to 22nd).

NEED TO KNOW

Ethiopia’s Cop­tic cal­en­dar is seven-and-a-half years be­hind our Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar, and things get more com­pli­cated with leap years. The same goes for time – Ethiopi­ans use a 12-hour clock, start­ing at dawn and dusk (so 7am and 7pm are both be re­ferred to as ‘one o’clock’). A 30-day tourist visa on ar­rival at Ad­dis Ababa air­port costs $50 (bring two pass­port photos). Yel­low fever cer­tifi­cates are re­quired if you’re com­ing from a coun­try that has a risk of it. There is malaria in Ethiopia.

COST

For three nights in Gon­dar and two in Ad­dis (with do­mes­tic flights) and tak­ing into ac­count in­flated ho­tel prices dur­ing fes­ti­vals, food, drinks and a guided tour, you can ex­pect to spend around R17 000. If you have more time and less money, go by bus and use bud­get digs; this will cost around R13 000.

DO THIS Ex­plore the Royal En­clo­sure,

a World Her­itage Site. You’ll see the re­mains of ban­quet halls, Turk­ish baths and even lions’ dens in this com­pound of cas­tles. A tour with a guide (R150) in­cludes a visit to the palaces of Fasilides and Iyasu I. On Meskel Square.

STAY HERE

Lodge Fasil is near the Royal En­clo­sure but far enough from the fre­netic city cen­tre. Up­per rooms have val­ley views. R650 for a dou­ble room B&B. lodge­fasil.wee­bly.com L-Shape Ho­tel is aptly named and of­fers bang for your birrs. There’s good pizza at its restau­rant. R150 for a dou­ble en-suite. lshape­ho­tel.com

EAT HERE

Tele Cafe makes great ful – a paste of slow-cooked fava beans served with toma­toes, green onions, pep­pers and le­mon juice. On High­way 3, in front of Gon­dar post of­fice. Habe­sha Cafe is a must for in­jera, a spongy sour­dough pancake used to scoop up wat (stew). Meskel Square. Bun­a­bets (cof­fee bars) are on most busy roads, and your caf­feine kick will cost R5. The one near the L-Shape Ho­tel at 13 Ke­bele Street is full for good rea­son – fol­low the aroma.

* Prices and con­ver­sions cor­rect at time of go­ing to print

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