In order to reach the Guassa plateau from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, you have to travel approx. 260 km. A paved and then ground road (approx. 80 km) leads to Tarmaver. It takes about 5 hours to travel there by car. Is it worth travelling for so long? Definitely yes!!! We will reach one of the most natural places untouched by civilization in the highlands of Ethiopia. The area, occupying approximately 100 square kilometres, is perfect for trekking. There, we can admire stunning views and meet endemic animals, including Gelada monkeys and Ethiopian wolves. In addition, there are beautiful birds – more than 100 species have been counted here, including Ankober Serin threatened with extinction, and predators with majestic Lammergeyer (vulture). The vegetation of the Afro-Alpine zone is also extremely interesting, e.g. great lobelia. It takes indeed half a day to reach to the Guassa plateau from Addis Ababa, but it is worth remembering about the fact that it takes two days to reach the Siemen Mountains offering similar attractions.
The entire protected area of the Guassa plateau is jointly managed by the authorities and the associations of farmers living in the neighbourhood. The roots of this system dates back to the seventeenth century, making it one of the oldest protected area management systems in sub-Saharan Africa. It is based on the communities called “quero”.
Ecotourism is promoted here in order to create an alternative source of income to the local community. A small hotel and a camping place have been built, and now they are managed by the Association of Tourism in Guassa. They are beautifully situated among the meadows of the Afro-Alpine character. The structure of the hotel uses local materials; its architectural character is also traditional. The hotel offers several rooms for rent, there is also a room designed to stay during a day, dining room and kitchen. The centre of education and information cannot be missed in such a place. A bathroom with a shower and a toilet are in a separate pavilion.
You can pitch a tent at the nearby camping place. During bad weather, capers and hotel residents can spend time by a fireplace and cook in a kitchen equipped with the necessary appliances.
Note! Take essential foods with you.
Income from tourism is used to support the local community. The organization and management of tourist in the Guassa plateau is an example of tourism successfully connecting the interests of tourists and farmers, while respecting the nature.