Negash lodge is a large gated wood land located in the town of Wolliso, 113kms outside Addis Ababa, in the Shoa zone of the Oromia region, Ethiopia. It is about 2.5 hours’ drive from the capital Addis Ababa, depending on the road condition and traffic on the road. The lodge is located on a thermal hot spring which initially attracted the royal family in the 1930s to build a holiday home there. At the time of our visit, in mid-August, the lodge was quiet and the air heavy with moisture due to the heavy rainy season in Ethiopia.
The lodge is often a popular stop for those visiting the surrounding attractions. Wenchi Crater Lake is found 35kms from Wolliso and there is also the Silasé Rock church, carved into mountains of Chitu, 12 km from the lodge. The lodge itself contains a variety of wildlife and indigenous tress. The establishment has put in great effort in labeling the trees; a name tag hangs from each one. We often spotted the Varvet monkeys that come quite close to the lodging areas. The mornings are filled with the chattering of birds in the tress.
The prices include breakfast and free access to the gym and game area, and a big swimming pool which gets refilled from the natural hot spring every week. Massage, steam and sauna services are available at a lower rate for guests. The property includes a horse stable with a number of horses and offers paid horse rides. The staff is friendly and accommodating.
The food comprises of a variety of western and Ethiopian dishes. We were served an average breakfast buffet in the mornings, but they make the best omelets in the area on request. Of the local dishes we tried, they serve exceptional Kitfo and Tibs.
The rooms are spread out through the property and require some distance of walk through well pathed greenery from the reception. The Addis Ababa rooms are quite standard, while the remaining lodge rooms in the woods are culturally decorated rondavels named after the different Ethiopian local communities, each resembling the building style of the regions they represent. Our stay in the Tigray, Oromo and Dorze rooms were quite pleasant. The rooms are perfectly situated for morning coffee/tea from the terrace while looking onto Varvet monkeys feeding in the thick grass.
We could not access the large pool, surrounded by well-kept green area with gazeboes constructed in the cultural theme of the place, as the pool had to be cleaned at the time of our stay. It is good to note that the indoor pool, although adequate in length, is kids-size in depth. We were also informed that it is good to check with the lodge in advance whether the large pool is ready for use before planning to use it during your stay. Aside from the place looking and feeling a little run down from a lack of minor continuous maintenance, we were quite happy with the service and the tranquility that came from staying in a place with luscious greenery and in-house wildlife.