Limalimo Lodge, a state of the art Ethio-British boutique hotel located within Simien Mountains National Park, was host to a local festivity on Saturday, involving over 200 people from the local area.
Ambassador Moorehead opened the lodge for the new season and took part in celebrating its community engagement efforts, which are a central focus for the business. Perched on top of a dramatic escarpment, Limalimo Lodge was set up by a mixed team of Ethiopian and British entrepreneurs. It makes the perfect base to explore and experience the park.
The lodge has been actively supporting communities in and near the park since its inception, along with conservation projects within it. The contribution is sorely needed, as the park and its unique biodiversity are at risk from population pressures, livestock overgrazing and agricultural expansion. Conservation, driven by local people is the best route to ensuring that the park’s breathtaking scenery and its local communities will remain for generations to come.
The lodge’s conservation partner, African Wildlife Foundation, recently built a primary school in the near-by village of Adisge. Limalimo Lodge will spend part of its profits to pay for educational projects within it. The school is to be a model “Conservation School” for the area, and has the mission to help local communities see the park as a resource that needs to be protected: educating children is viewed as the best vehicle for impacting the viewpoints of entire families, according to the press statement from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Limalimo CEO Shiferaw Asrat was at the event, meeting with members of the community. “Community relationships are at the core of how we do business. Most staff at the lodge were hired from nearby villages and were involved in building it before then being trained on how to run it. There’s always more to be done, but today is about celebrating what we have achieved together.”
Local community members praised the work undertaken by the owners of Limalimo: “When we started, we didn’t know what would happen. In time, we have seen so much progress – both with the buildings, and within the community. The development will give a chance to our community. I wish you every success with this venture.” said Ato Mersha, who is the chairman of the local Kebele.
Talking about the event, Ambassador Susanna said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to open Limalimo Lodge for the new season. The facilities here are very comfortable, chic and above all eco-friendly. All the facilities are designed to satisfy customers, while promoting conversation and wildlife. The participation of the local community is central to Limalimo’s success. It is a great example of successful British-Ethiopian business collaboration in Ethiopia’s growing tourist sector, and I hope it will further strengthen our tourism ties with Ethiopia.”
Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site that has been dubbed Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The National Park combines high plateaus with plunging gullies that are hundreds of metres deep.
It’s home to some incredible wildlife including endangered Ethiopian Wolf and the Walia Ibex. The world’s largest population of Gelada Monkeys roam the terrain in enormous groups and are observed from above by abundant birdlife.