Lake AwassaHawassa is a very pleasant lakeside town.  It is about 275 km from Addis Ababa on a good tarmac road (about 5 hours drive).

The former capital of Sidamo region, the coffee is excellent, as you would expect.

There are two lakeside hotels – the former Wabe Shabelle hotels have been privatised. One of them, the Midroc Zewed Village Hotel was being rebuilt when I visited, though you could drink coffee at the lakeside.  But people rave about the Lewi Piazza Hotel (see Bradt Guide for details).

We had a very good Italian meal at the Dolce Vita restaurant, also recommended by Bradt and rightly so.

Shashemane is 25km from Awassa.  It is a much less attractive town – more a transport junction and cross roads.  It was near here that the Emperor Haile Selassie gave a plot of land to Rastafarian families and there is still a big Rastafarian community here.  (Some of the local Ethiopian kids speak with a rich patois accent.)

IMG_0151We stayed at the Zion Train Lodge in Shashemane, run by a French Rastafarian family.  It was quiet and friendly; and fun to have table d’hote dinner with Rastafarians. When we were there the water wasn’t working, but it was OK to wash from the bucket of water.  Here is the tukul we stayed in.

The Shalom juice bar and vegetarian restaurant on the bypass road towards Awassa was a good place to eat and pass some time.


The Atheist Missionary · November 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

How safe is it to travel in these areas?

Owen · November 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

Safer than Peckham.

just a girl · December 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm

how long does it take to reach awassa from addis ababa??How are the health facilities there?Is it easy to find accomodation and all…..My parents will be going there for around 6 months.Is it safe??I have heard about jeers….is it really bad there??How are the people there…beggars,thefts etc??

Owen replies: I don’t know if another reader will answer your question; but you might like to buy either the Bradt Guide to Ethiopia or the Lonely Planet guide – both have recently publised new editions.

It seemed a very friendly and civilised place to me.

Naicho · December 31, 2009 at 12:39 am

From Addis Abeba to Awasa or shashemene, it’s about 3hr drive[though, depends on your speed]. Health facilities over there are very decent, this shouldn’t be your worry. in Awasa and shashemene, finding Accommodation is very easy. there are many standardized hotels over there. the area is generally very safe, especially Awassa is the most safest place in the whole country. you shouldn’t worry about your safety while you are in Awassa. But, in Shashemene, I advise you to not walk alone on streets during night alone. have local accompany you. Jeers aren’t a thing you worry. people over there are very friendly. some street kids may ask you for dollars or say hi to you in English just to test their English, other than that they are very friendly. compared to Addis abeba, Awasa has very few beggars and thefts[almost none]

Girum Ejigu · January 2, 2010 at 5:11 am

I love the sunset over Lake Hawassa. While driving from Addis to Hawassa – the acacia trees and “wark” (some big trees near Arsi Negale), Lake Langano and Wondegonet area are also attractive for visitors.

Helen Ireton · September 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

shasamene – the origin of rasta – and now the resting place of Bob Marley bones (concert by Ziggy Marley 2006 in Addis to bring his father back to his true origins) Such a wonderful lush area in a country fraught with hunger and povery. the dutch certainly succeeded in the irrigation system – one of the more successful sustainable projects.

Trip to the south · November 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

[…] and I went to Shashemane and Awassa this […]

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