Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Simien Lodge is Africa's highest hotel, at 10,700 feet. Perched on the edge of an escarpment, it enjoys view of some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in all of Africa. Guest accommodations are in round thatch-roofed tukels, the Ethiopian name for a house. Each tukel at Simien Lodge has two rooms—a sitting room plus a bedroom with two large single beds—and two bathrooms. Hot water for showers is heated with solar energy, with an electric backup. All rooms have tile floors with hot-water under-floor heating provided by the solar system. At this altitude, nights can be chilly, so tukels are insulated with fiberglass in the walls, ceiling and floors, and beds have warm duvets with additional blankets available. Guests should bring warm clothes, however, as the tukels do not have central heating. A sheltered private balcony off each tukel provides a chance to relax and enjoy the spectacular surroundings.
Dining is a highlight at Simien Lodge. The spacious restaurant is centered around a log fireplace in the middle of the room. Meals feature both European and Ethiopian fare. The bar—the highest in Africa—is also a popular element of the lodge. Comfortable chairs circle around a central fireplace where guests can relax with their choice of drink: several types of Ethiopian beer are served, along with South African and Ethiopian wines, and other beverages.