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Radisson Blu Hotel (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

5 Case Rating
Location The hotel is located in the centre of the city but in a relatively quiet area. They operate an airport shuttle every 30minutes and takes about 15 minutes to/from Bole airport. To other areas of Addis Ababa like Mercado or the national museum is around 10 minutes drive away. The location is perfect for business or leisure in the city. Room The room is a nice 5 star standard room with an excellent variation of lighting and mellow ambience consisting of brown & cream leather with wooden fittings. The king size bed was super comfortable thanks to the soft mattress topper & soft pillows- hard to wake up. Either side are small side tables with above lamps as well as flexi-reading lights. One side offers a two pin Euro plug socket. There is a workable desk offering a UK and Euro plug socket, phone and lamp with an above large mirror for say doing make-up. A thick cube brown leather armchair is located in corner with foot stool, side table and tall lamp- great for watching the TV that faces the bed. The TV is multi functional with menu showing information about hotel services, wake up and as well as a room service menu shown. 70 International TV channels spanning Europe such as BBC, French, Arabic, Africa and local TV- with plenty of movie and sports channels as well as radio options. . There is a long leather stool at base of TV, a luggage rack, mini fridge, tea/coffee making facilities wth a complimentary bottle of water. Plus a large wardrobe with slippers, shaving kit, dental kit, ironing board, hair dryer and laptop size safe. The spacious bathroom offers both a separate bath and shower cubicle that worked perfectly and offered mini bottles of amenities for hair and body by the french brand Anne Semonin. AC is offered on a dial and the soundproof windows can also be opened, blacked out drapes are also offered for those needing rest day time. Overall very comfortable business hotel room with a premium African ambience. Facilities The hotel offers fast WIFI that can be used for multiple devices, secure using your room number. VPN's work fine. Catering facilities include a buffet style restaurant with excellent standard of food and choices, the different types of fish they offer stood out as exceptionally good. Plus many deserts, fruits and breads as well as traditional local foods, which tasted great. They also offer an outdoor bar that is quite happening in the evening with a DJ playing chilled music and the area has comfortable sofas with fires burning to keep you warm as its cool in the evenings. There is also a bakery lounge area near recepion for breads & coffee's in the morning and indoor bar area. Leisure facilities include a small gym with modern equipment and a SPA with massage facilities that are reasonable priced, say a chair massage of 20 minutes is less than $10. There is also a shop with local goods and clothing. Plus a concierge desk to arrange transfers and tours is also offered. Business centre is also available, plus many conference rooms. Staff Staff are very friendly and hospitable, welcoming at reception & helpful at the concierge desk & restaurant with sincere enthusiasm. The driver also that provides the shuttle is pleasant to chat with. Overall staff are meeting a 5 star standard of service. This hotel is included if your in transit between Ethiopian airline flights over 8 hours and flying business class with meals provided. However despite this I would certainly not hesitate to book this hotel if I was visiting Addis Ababa again.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Kazanchis Business District, Kirkos Subcity Kebele 17/18, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Ethiopia – Authentic Face Mask (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia – Country and Flag (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia – Lion of Juddah (Addis Ababa)

Tanzania – Freddy Mercury House (Stonetown)

Tanzania – Kilimanjaro (Stone town)

Tanzania – Kilimanjaro (Zanzibar Airport)

Tanzania – Lion (Zanzibar Airport)

Tanzania – Mount Killimanjaro Elephants (Zanzibar Airport)

Tanzania – Stone Town Famous Door (Nungwi)

Egypt – Pyramids and Sphinx (Cairo)

Tanzania – Zanzibar Stone Town (Nungwi)

Tanzania – Zanzibar Sunset (Nungwi)

Egypt – Tutankhamun (Cairo)

Sazani Beach Lodge (Nungwi, Tanzania)

3 Case Rating
Location Suzani lodge is located in Nungwi but on the west coast side. The main area of Nungwi is 25 minutes walk down the beach or 8 minutes by car. From the airport it is about 1hr 30 min drive or $50 by taxi one way. If your stay is not extended hiring a car is a preferable option since it's $30 a day in mini 4x4 & roads are ok. Nungwi is the main beach village place on northern tip of Zanzibar, sunrise is on one side (where Savani lodge is) and sunset is where most the hotels are. The location of Sazani has its positives and negative. If you after absolute seclusion and peace the beach is very nice with fewer locals hassling you on the actual beach. The sunrise is beautiful and it is set on a hill facing the Indian Ocean, you will hear the waves breaking even in bed. The sea itself requires shoes due to rocks un-seen due to the cloudier water. I cut myself thinking it would be fine without shoes. Bring sea shoes. The main area of Nungwi village is where the action and energy is at, bars, restaurants and market shops, this comes with people hassling you slightly but unless your prepared to walk 25 minutes each way to get there, which at times you can't do due to tide quite close to shore, it's better to stay there. The restaurants on the beach are fantastic, the beach there is more clearer, placid with an incredible sunset; a must see. The village is quite interesting to walk around to witness Zanzibar village life. Sazani on the other hand is a relaxing location but very much confined to the lodge unless you hire a car. There are taxis though but unsure how much they cost. If you purely don't wanna see anyone, chill and read books and eat at the hotel restaurant and bar then Sazani is a good option. Room The room at Sazani lodge is very simple since it's an eco-friendly lodge. They don't offer AC in which whilst a sea breeze comes thru the open but netted windows, it does get a bit hot at night. They do offer a fan above but it feels like it's just circulating the warm air. The double bed is of an artistic antique style traditional wooden frame with mosquito nets all over & a small cosy lamp inside. The remainder of the room consists of a open wooden wardrobe and a wooden box safe with padlock. The curtains blows in the wind and therefore it can be quite open at night privacy wise if you have the light on. But the breeze and sounds of the waves aids in a restful sleep. The bed is a little too firm for my liking but it was adequate. The bathroom offers a shower and bath combo in some rooms or a simple shower in the other, since I changed rooms. My 2nd room, due to wanting to be closer to reception to get better WIFI has only a shower. It is understandable not up to standard of most places, the water is mainly hot and cold just dribbles in my room. They offer home made soap in which is nice but nothing else so bring shower gel if you prefer that. There was no hooks for the towels in my bathroom in which means you have nowhere to hang your wet towel in the bathroom, though you can do so in room or outside. The room in general is very local and authentic, the traditional African style huts but has ceilings inside & kind of wooden padlock bolted doors to a degree representing the famous Stone Town doors of Zanzibar . My only main discomfort was that without AC it's pretty hot at night even with sea breeze. But I can imagine you get used to it. Outside of each room are seating to listen to the sea & observe the incredible view. They give you a warm 2 litre bottle of water as an amenity. Facilities Wifi is only available if your by reception or room 2. Despite this the speed is still excruciatingly slow so if WIFi is important bear this in mind. Catering includes a restaurant with set menus. I only had breakfast and you get a fruit plate and egg product with bread slices. There is no juice or water but tea and coffee. The breakfast was edible but not particularly amazing and dinner being $10 set menu vs a standard entree menu with fresh fish BBQ on the beach (in main area) at $6 made me go there. If your a fish lover it's exceptional. The lodge is overcharged and other guests I chatted were unimpressed with food when compared to restaurants in the village. There is a bar with a lovely view on top of a rock cliff, the bar tender Omar made that place with his welcoming friendly attitude and it's quite an ideally relaxing spot. At night it was dead when I was there in January, great for a couple but much better bars with energy in the main village that offer some degree of energy. The lodge offers a spa, where the lady charges $25 for an hour ranging from local to Swedish massages. It's nice because you get to hear the sea waves during your massage. There is also an old style gym in corner using cement blocks as dumbell and barbells. They also offer some water sports but overall it's almost half the price to book in town if insurance doesn't matter to you. The highlight though was the hammocks & sleeping beds under a nice shady tree, perfect for listening and watching the amazing Zanzibar sea with a cool breeze for pure relaxation and mediation. Staff Staff throughout this lodge are by far the highlight, they make you feel very welcome and at home. From the managers and reception staff to chef, massage lady and their greatest asset; Omar the bar tender. Simply mentioning where is a good spot for sunset he is willing to take you and sincerely looks after you as a guide. It was liking hanging out with a best friends and I was only there under 48 hours. Thanks to him and rest of staff is what gets the higher rating. Overall though staying at Sazani made me realise I like AC especially when dealing with sunburn from the powerful Sun. Therefore I didn't find the room overly comfortable plus the shower function is poor with things like no hooks added to this. I do realise it's an eco lodge but other than the bed it doesn't seem well maintained. In that regard I think it's slightly over priced for say staying in another secluded part of Zanzibar on the beach like Paje. At the same time Nungwi is a cool place to be with nice energy and stuff going on, it is only slightly cheaper than the main hotels in Nungwi which in my opinion is better place to stay if you like to explore and have some night life, especially if you don't have a car. Yes you can walk but its quite far and the tide can come in. The beaches themselves are both good in both areas but given you don't get a pool, the beach is more swimmable friendly in Nungwi. However the Sazani offers a memorable setting & ambience with really nice staff.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Sanzani Beach, Nungwi, Tanzania
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Namibia – Hyena (Windhoek)

Namibia – Fish River Canyon (Windhoek)

Namibia – Elephant (Windhoek)

Hertz – Chevrolet Spark LS

Car Rental Company: Hertz Company for Purchase: Expedia Location: CPT – Cape town International Airport As you arrive at CPT airport, expect a 10 minute walk after leaving international arrivals. You have to go outside of airport down some tunnels and eventually you arrive at the car hire centre- where all car hire places are. Hertz has its own building in which offers about 4 counters, a dedicated Hertz Gold, Hertz Corporate and 2 normal Hertz check-in. The cars are a few minutes’ walk away from this centre in an open plan car park. Hertz also offer free WIFI in which is handy if you’re having to wait. Staff Staff at desk were training another staff who processed me, so overall very little interaction in terms of words. Just wanted passport, driving license, address where I was staying and credit card. He then went through the process with the staff and I just listened. There was actually no upsell until I asked. For something like 90 ZAR  (GBP4/US$6/€5.5) it reduced my excess premium from 8000 rand to 2000 rand if I had actually damaged the car that it was a right off. Basic collision damage was included. The guy didn’t even upsell a GPS when mentioned he said Cape town is easy to drive you won’t need one. Well perhaps to him but people wanting t0 hire a car like myself and go to places like Simons town and on to cape point- get the GPS. It costs only 75ZAR (GBP3.50/US$5/€4.5 ) plus it’s a new tom tom so very handy with things like speed cameras. Staff then simply get you to sign a bunch of stuff. The process look quite a while longer than most places I have been but he was training a new guy. Car Selection There was no selection like you find in the US- you are simply given the car you agree to at the desk in which my category was Mini 4 or 5 door car- Chevrolet Spark or Similar. Car Review - Chevrolet Spark (Manual) This car was the cheapest option but included USB and AC. Seating Manual seating- very basic. Typical mini hatchback, bar to move forward and back and seat switch to determine angle. Not a comfortable car, no armrest on any side as its angled down. Very compact and small. Drove 2 hours to cape point & back and found it uncomfortable, certainly would not recommended a drive outside of the city of Cape town. Cape point you can just about get away with before it becomes really uncomfortable. I would say the comfort level is 2/10. Controls The controls are mixture of in your face digital display just above steering wheel- shows fuel, reves and then there is normal km speedometer as a dial. AC is a circular dial that didn’t work very well as vents are oddly placed. But a basic dial design. Audio is very basic again two dials one for volume and one for menu- to say change eq, bass and treble. Gear box - absolutely terrible, about as unsmooth as you can get even though clutch is as expected tight. Revs up noisy and accelerator pedal shakes whatever the speed. There is a car power socket, an additional USB and an audio in jack for your own device. Lights are circular design on side. Wipers work as standard. This car has no automatic function (lights or wipers) though is quite new. However the USB and standard power socket worked well. Space and Storage The boot is small. It won’t fit a huge case but a case that is say the largest you can get away with as hand luggage will get in back with roofed cover. Anything bigger back seat. Back seats have little space. This is a micro hatchback. Driving The cut a long winded description- it is terrible to drive. There is nothing fun about this car. Changing gears is not smooth, clutch is tight but creates large revs without much acceleration, I actually dreaded changing gear much of the time but being Cape town and its mountains you need to constantly. Uphill at some points you almost need to go to 1st and that’s with one person in the car. There is no acceleration unless your at speed already say on a highway you can get it up to maybe 120-30kmph. However don’t embarrass yourself at the traffic light challenge. Even corners it handles badly. In slow traffic jam the constant gear change with clutch control is not pleasurable. I drove to cape point about 1.5 hours from city where I was staying and I just wanted to get out of the car as soon as possible despite my love of driving. Audio The audio is also terrible, either Hertz have put a restriction on volume but you can’t get much noise out of the machine. Controls only show bass and treble with EQ as pop, rock, classical and talk. The sound is tinny and when bass is upped it just has no depth but actually sounds like a high pitch drill. It’s not great car to listen to music. Fuel Efficiency Likely its sole strong point, drove around 200km (to cape point from city and back) not even quarter empty cost me 130 ZAR  (GBP6/US$9/€8 ) Verdict For the price paid £10.20 (US$15 / €15)  for 24 hours, it was an excellent alternative to a taxi including the cheap fuel. But as the saying goes you pay for what you get and this car is a terrible vehicle- worth the price. Not fun to drive, uncomfortable to sit for long periods over an hour and rubbish sound system. However it does have a USB so you can charge our phone and plug it in to listen to music- though I probably recon decent headphones are better. It also cost nothing in terms of fuel. However, I hope I never rent such a car again.

Capetown – Table Mountain Cableway

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