Exclusive Ethiopia is a collaboration pairing Tamara Britten’s detailed research about Ethiopia with the experience and capability of Mulugeta Ababu, an Ethiopia-based tour operator registered with the Ethiopian Government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Let our combined expertise help you design your ideal Ethiopian holiday and create for you the experience of a lifetime.Read: Exclusive Ethiopia article
Tamara Britten is the founder of Karibu Kenya, and co-founder of Exclusive Ethiopia.
Tamara has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and a BA in History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. She is the author of the Karibu Kenya Accommodation Guide, which is endorsed by the Kenya Tourist Board, the Kenya Tourism Federation and the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association. While researching the guidebook, Tamara travelled around Kenya for two years locating camps, lodges, resorts and hotels, some of which had never before been listed in a guidebook, and checking out the facilities and activities at each.
An itinerate traveller, Tamara has worked in safari camps in Kenya, lodges and mobile safaris in Namibia, bars and restaurants in Thailand, an adult education centre in Hong Kong, and English language schools in Asia and Africa. She has also published articles and stories in publications around the world, and won a number of writing awards. Along the way, she picked up qualifications in teaching English as a foreign language, scuba diving and yoga to name but a few.
With Mulugeta, Tamara travelled around Ethiopia exploring all the destinations a tourist might like to visit, checked out the accommodation facilities, tested out the activities, and explored all the nearby sites. The result of this is Exclusive Ethiopia, a website committed to providing the precise holiday each individual visitor wants and giving each client a taste of the splendours of Ethiopia.
Mulugeta Ababu is registered with the Ethiopian Government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism as a Federal Tour Guide. He studied at Lion Ethiopia, and there gained two diplomas, one in Tour Guiding and Tour Operation, and the other in Ethiopian History. He also studied to become a deacon in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, then served as a deacon in five churches around Lalibela for ten years. He is an authority not only on the religion’s traditions, customs and beliefs, but on the many religious sites including monasteries and churches around the country.
With likeminded tourism professionals, Mulugeta established the Addis Ababa Tour Guides Association with the aim of protecting the tourism industry and guaranteeing the professionalism of tour guides. He was the association’s first chairman, and remains on the board to this day. The association’s members have experience in all aspects of the tourism industry, including field logistics, tour management, tour guiding and hotel management, and have been in the industry for an average of 15 years. All members have worked in every region of Ethiopia, and know the highlights and tourist destinations of each.
Mulugeta has excellent relationships with tourism service providers in the country, including hotels, lodges, resorts, ground transportation, local guides, drivers, cooks, equipment providers and most importantly the destination management offices. Through these long established contacts, Mulugeta has access to the top accommodation facilities, the most qualified tourism personnel and the best deals, and uses these to put together the most enjoyable and interesting trips around Ethiopia.
He firmly believes that the client is always right, and is committed to making clients’ dreams a reality by saying ‘yes’ to all their wishes. With Tamara, he founded Exclusive Ethiopia, through which he’s committed to providing the precise holiday each individual visitor wants, and giving everyone a taste of the country he so loves.
Andy Hill, Editor of Swara Magazine, said: ‘What sets Tamara Britten’s splendid book apart is that it has broken away from the well-trodden path of hotel guide to give us an authentic and personally researched tour of just about every place a curious tourist or citizen might wander into.’
John Burdett, Director of Africa Exclusive, said: ‘In all my years in the business, I have never seen an accommodation publication as comprehensive as this.’
In 2010, Tamara Britten decided to combine her experience working in Kenya’s tourism industry with her MA in Creative Writing and produce a guidebook to the country. Little did she know that the project would take over two years, and would lead her to the most remote and little visited parts of this diverse country. Taking off around Kenya in her sturdy land cruiser, accompanied by her trusty laptop, Tamara visited mountains, deserts, beaches, towns and game reserves searching out accommodation facilities, from boutique resorts to exotic safari camps to budget cottages to quirky bandas. Getting directions from locals, following rickety signs and driving down tracks little used, she found places unmapped and undocumented. Interested not only in the rooms, facilities and activities of a hotel, Tamara spoke to locals about the place’s history, folk tales and legends. She discussed eco-policies, rating awards and staff training with the managers; she inspected the rooms, the grounds and even the kitchen of each place; and she checked out the activities, events and adventure sports at each.
The result of this is Karibu Kenya Accommodation Guide, the only comprehensive guidebook to Kenya. Endorsed by the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) and Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association (KPSGA), the guidebook is now used as promotional material by the Kenya Tourist Board: a copy of the book was given to every dignitary who attended the World Travel Awards, held in Nairobi in October 2013. Divided into clearly demarcated regions, the guidebook features a photo, a detailed description and quirky anecdotes about every place. As well as listing accommodation facilities of every budget, the guidebook covers the history, geography, climate, peoples, attractions, national parks and annual cultural festivals of Kenya, and gives information on the country’s infrastructure, banking, communications, transport and medical facilities. It highlights responsible tourism and the wildlife code, and provides links to the Kenyan associations that regulate and certify tourism facilities.
Karibu Kenya is a friendly and personal booking service that creates bespoke holidays in Kenya.
You will not be challenged to decipher the marketing-speak of safari camps and chain hotels to try to figure out whether the infinity pool is a 4-meter kiddie pool. All camps and lodges are judged by the same criteria, described by the same person, and portrayed clearly with no embellishments.
Written recently, and with updates coming regularly, our content is not taken from old marketing brochures. In fact, sadly, we have removed some places that have not stood the test of time. More happily, we have added places that are new or have been renovated. We keep abreast of changes in the industry and revise content frequently.
Ethiopia: such a diverse, curious place, visit if you can. Ask Exclusive Ethiopia to arrange your trip. I can’t say enough about how wonderful Tamara and Mulie are.
We visited Lalibela and it was a dream come true! Our driver Jonnie was the best ever. You must see St. George for yourself: pictures do not do it justice. Mulugeta was extremely knowledgeable and very professional. I am planning a trip to Danakil salt lakes and will only use Exclusive Ethiopia for my tour needs!
We just came back from an amazing trip across Ethiopia with Mulie and the team. An unforgettable adventure within the Omo Valley tribes, in the Danakil depression and the rock hewn churches of Gheralta and Lalibela!
Mulugeta is passionate about his country and people, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He has an excellent knowledge of Ethiopian culture, history, geography, farming, flora and fauna, religion, tourist needs and behaviour.
Amazing guide, very considerate, and very good English. The cook was a magician and I liked his emphasis on hygiene. The trek was amazing!
I cannot thank Mulugeta enough for his professionalism, helpfulness and general demeanour. I don’t think I’ve ever had a tour operator – besides Tamara – with this level of expertise and skill set.
The tour was really fantastic. All the guides and drivers were great. Emmanuel, the driver, was amazing, and anticipated our needs before we even knew we had them. Kim, our guide in Gondar, was really impressive in knowledge, and in hospitality and friendliness. We couldn’t recommend her highly enough.