The rugged landscape of Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park isn’t exactly the place where you’d expect a state-of-the-art boutique hotel to pop up, yet that is exactly what the fantastic team behind Limalimo Lodge managed to build. We took the hellish 14-hour bus ride from Addis Ababa to the Simien Mountains on our Eastern Africa trip and were rewarded with breath-taking views and outstanding hospitality.
There’s no denying: Limalimo’s main draw is the incredible view from both the rooms and the communal living area. Miles and miles of rugged mountainscape make for one of the most impressive natural sceneries we’ve ever witnessed.
Lovers of good architecture will have another reason to make the pilgrimage here: the minimalistic design of the lodge is absolutely stunning. Designed by Addis Ababa-based Italian architect Mario Balducci, the rooms are bright, simple (in a good way) and airy, something that’s pretty unique by Ethiopian standards. Matrasses were flown in from Britain and are extremely comfy – we couldn’t wish for more after a long day of hiking!
We initially couldn’t help but feel a little awkward about the whole situation we were in. Imagine: just a few hours before dinner we were handing out plastic bottles to begging kids on the side of the road, now we’re sipping bottomless wine and enjoying a fantastic three-course meal in a gorgeous boutique lodge.
Luckily, it was quickly apparent that there was nothing to feel awkward about. The lodge’s friendly manager, Julia, passionately explained the backstory. Limalimo was built with a vision to bring sustainable and community-focused tourism to the Simien Mountains – bringing employment and development opportunities to the local communities around the area. It showed. Almost all of the staff came from the local community, were exceptionally friendly and seemed eager to learn.
To give these local communities a ‘face’, the lodge organizes guided half-day treks to the village down the mountain (for the small fee of $10, which is directly handed to the people in the village). We’re usually a bit hesitant when it comes to ‘people watching’ (eg. the Long Neck villages in Northern Thailand), but this felt incredibly honest and pure.
- We visited during the soft-opening, right before the lodge closed for the rainy season in July. The weather was wet, foggy and cold. We strongly advise planning your visit between October and April for better weather conditions!
- Wifi was spotty at best and only available in the communal living area during our stay – a perfect excuse to simply go offline for a few days and soak in the scenery.
- Don’t make the mistake we made: make sure you buy your entrance tickets to the park before you make it to the lodge. No tickets = no passing through the first checkpoint (and a 30-minute detour!).
Simien Mountains National Park
PO Box 82, Debark, North Gondar, Ethiopia
Rates start at US$ 200/night (full board) – Check availability
This stay was hosted by Limalimo Lodge, but expressed opinions are 100% our own / Follow my blog with Bloglovin