This is the first time I am writing an enthusiastic review even before I do the tour.
Late January 2020 I started planning for my husbands and mine one month... read more West Africa trip in December. After contacting 5 tour operators for Ethiopia we settled quickly for Grant Express Travel and Tours, because of their good tour offers, reasonable pricing, and quick response time.
For our trip we want to focus on historic sites and culture, and so we had a lot of special requests. Yared was incredible patient and tailored the tour exactly to our ideas. This took more than 10 emails back and forth and finally we booked the tour beginning of March and paid a deposit of $2489.As we all know shortly after, the pandemic reached also US and now we gave up on doing the tour this year.
It took 2 emails and 3 days after I sent the bank information, I had the deposit (minus bank fees) back on my account. Such an exceptional customer service is hard to find anywhere in the world.
I can't wait until travel is possible again and we can do the trip. It will be easy, because everything is organized already.
I paid ~$1000 USD for three days for two people in Axum and Lalibela.
1) Hotels--the two hotels they put us in were awful. One didn't have air... read more conditioning in the room. One didn't have a credit card machine (not that it wasn't working; they didn't even have one yet!). The service wasn't great in either one.
2) Price is just not worth the experience. All of Ethiopia is too expensive for the quality you get.
3) Food--itinerary included meals out of the hotels but in reality we were taken back to our hotels for every meal. The food was terrible at both and this was not what we paid for or expected.
4) One out of two guides was decent. The first guide didn't acknowledge or make any changes based on what we wanted to do/see as well as our comfort, fitness level or interest.
I wasn't surprised that GETTS never reached out afterwards to see how any of it went. They're not interested in improvement.
We were diverted from our cruise destination, and made a quick change to travel from Dubai to Ethiopia. Mr Yared Belete and his co-worker Amele looked after every detail. We... read more were met at airports by professional drivers and guides, taken to hotels (at our request in the mid range), and led on a truly unforgettable tour around the north of Ethiopia. Aksum with its stelae, Lalibela’s rock hewn churches, Gondor’s castles, Bahir Dar’s beautiful Lake Tana.
We did it in 5 days- we’d recommend spending a little more time in Lalibela (loved the Lalibela Harbe hotel), where you could go to some of the outlying monasteries and churches. Our guide there ‘Massala’? (Not sure of spelling) was terrific - took us through the Saturday market and a Sunday Mass in Bete Medhane Alem in Lent. Quite an experience, and peek into the fervent devotion of the people of this country that has guided them through the centuries. Drive from Gondor to Bahir Dar introduced us to the regular country life. Lake Tana was beautiful, a change of pace, and seeing the hippos at the mouth of the Blue Nile was a treat. Take bug spray for evening. Trip to the Blue Nile falls was tough bcs of the very rough road. And a note for the traveller; fly into the country on Ethiopian Air and it will give you a huge discount on internal flights around the country.
We had only 6 days in Ethiopia, and a list of things we dreamed of seeing. We thought it was almost impossible to fit everything in, but GETTS made it... read more happen. We can't give them credit for the weather cooperating in the middle of the rainy season - that belongs to Mother Nature alone - but they managed to put together an itinerary through Lalibela, Simien Mountains and Gonder in a short 6 days, with seamless transitions, excellent accommodation, comfortable vehicles and fabulous food. Everything in the price they gave us was included, and they chose excellent hotels and restaurants throughout. The guides and drivers in each area were professional, really friendly and engaging, and really made our six days feel full and exciting, without being exhausting. We found the price of our private tour to be very fair, and we really needed next to no petty cash the entire time, because even bottled water was provided. Our short trip to Ethiopia (a stopover en route home from southern Africa) was like an entire second holiday, and we loved every moment of it. We highly recommend this very professional tour service.
Yared, the owner of GETTS, helped us to put together a fantastic 4 week tour for the 4 of us. We started by flying from Addis to Mekele so... read more that we could head into the Danikil Depression. We climbed Erta Ale, went to Dallol, on to the Tigrai region in the north including Wukro and Axum and then to the Simien Mountains. Gondar followed and on to Lalibela. We flew from there to Jinka to tour the Omo Valley. Our travels took us from there to Hawassa and to Bale National Park before we headed back to Addis. Girum, our guide, was exceptionally knowledgeable and personable. His English was excellent and his curiosity about his own country helped all of us learn. He obviously cared about making this a great trip for all of us. He met us the first day and stayed with us until our flight out of Addis 4 weeks later. He suggested adjusting changes that helped everything go smoothly and found us great local places to enjoy Ethiopian lunches. All drivers were excellent, friendly, always on time and always going out of their way to make sure that we were comfortable. The tour cost included all accommodation, meals with all non-alcoholic drinks, water, camping needs for the Danakil, vehicles, drivers, guides, entrance fees, permits, local guides, policemen, porters, boat rides, domestic flights. The only things we paid were fees for photographs, tipping costs and alcohol costs. This made travel very, very simple and affordable. If everything hadn't been so well organized, travelling for 4 weeks in Ethiopia would not have been nearly as enjoyable. There are challenges travelling in Ethiopia. We had requested moderate to high accommodation. In Ethiopia that is equivalent to N.A. two stars. But, every place was very clean, all had showers, all had good beds. In the south the heat was challenging without AC or fans. Surprisingly mosquitoes weren't a huge problem, probably because it was the dry season. We tried to work in hikes and walking but there is a lot of country to see so a lot of time is spent in a vehicle on some pretty rough roads. In summary, we highly recommend GETTS. They were super well organized with excellent people in all areas.