EQST 014 Wondo Genet
Day 1: We set off early and join the Express Way, heading south, coming off at Mojo to join the main road south.
We start to climb after passing Langano, leaving the drier acacia forest for the greener areas around Shashamene.
Shashamene is situated at a cross roads, with roads north south and east west. It is also home to a Rastafarian community from the Caribbean. The late Emperor Haile Selassie I granted them land here in perpetuity in recognition of the support and solidarity of the people of African origin in the Caribbean for Ethiopia at the time of the Fascist aggression in 1935, when Mussolini’s Italian forces invaded the country.
From Shasmene we turn east for about 13 km for the mountain and spa resort of Wondo Genet – or “place of heaven”.
Haile Selassie had a lodge here, now part of the hotel, and the waters are reputed to have curative properties. The hot water comes gushing out of the rocks and one can stand underneath, getting a natural hydro massage. There is also a naturally heated swimming pool. The scenery around the lodge is hilly and Juniper forested. While most visitors may prefer to relax around the spa, there are some very good walks in the hills, with plenty of bird life – the endemic Yellow-fronted Parrot, the Black-headed Forest Oriole and the Golden-backed Woodpecker can easily be seen, along with the Redwing Starling, Grosbeak Weaver, Mountain Wagtail and Black Roughwing Swallow – and wildlife – colobus and vervet monkeys, anubis baboon and bushbuck.
Spectacular sunsets can be seen from the terrace outside the bar, with a great view of Lake Awassa.
Day 2: More relaxation, or forest walks. After taking lunch in the hotel, we return to Addis Ababa. We will take a stop at the Simbo Langano Beach resort on the shores of Lake Langano, and arrive in Addis Ababa late afternoon.