Aragash Lodge is perched on a peaceful forested hillside overlooking the small town of Yirga Alem, just one hour drive south of Awassa. The rooms are made up of individual tukuls, or thatched bamboo cottages, dotted around manicured gardens, connected by characterful stone pathways through the avodcado, guava and mango trees. Built in the style of an indigenous Sidima Village, each cottage is fresh and clean, decorated with traditional bright colours and furnished with local furniture for a warm, luxurious stay. Its location is tranquil and ideal for long hillside walks past coffee plantations - it is also particularly popular with birdwatchers with hundreds of species of birds to be seen. Upon arrival guests are greeted with a traditional coffee cermony that can be folowed by pre- dinner hyena viewing. Other activities include guided treks in the nearby forest, horseback and mountain-bike riding and visits to historical caves, sacred sites and natural springs. Much of the food served here has been grown locally, and all bathrooms are equipped with hot running water - a refreshing change from other, more basic, Ethiopian hotels. Friendly and relaxing, this is a real gem of a spot to spend some downtime at the end of your time in the Omo Valley.
When visiting the Simien Mountains, take binoculars - they're great for spotting Ibex and Gelada baboons.