A modern resort with eco-friendly design
Lake Langano has always been an alluring place. It is less than three hour’s drive south of Addis, and is completely safe for swimming. The alkaline reddish brown water is free from bilharzias, which makes it distinctive from other Ethiopian rift valley lakes. The possibility of swimming in the lake without this danger is perhaps the reason why beginning from Emperor Haile Selassie’s time, the lake has attracted members of the foreign community and local picnickers for their weekend cottages. The sandy beaches along the western shore, water sports, the volcanic landscape, hot springs and an interesting bird life have drawn people to it.
Tucked within a 6-hecatre shore of Lake Langano, Sabana beach resort is one of the spots that is providing the base for visitor’s exploration of the area. It ranks among the most exciting establishments in the country and it is making it the third in Addis Journal’s list of top ten eco-lodges of Ethiopia. The setting – beachfront interspersed with a vast cliff-top – couldn’t be more conducive to relaxation. The landscape offers a stunning view over the lake. Acacia trees, savannah vegetation abound in the area from which the resort’s name was inspired.
Though Sabana beach resort can’t be strictly classified as eco-lodge, the resort has excellent environmental credentials. It is decorated throughout with colored fabrics and lavish ethnic designs, melding contemporary style and eco credentials with the comfort, cuisine and service.
The cottages are surrounded by walkways, weeping willows and open lawns. Roses are everywhere, as are hydrangeas, azaleas, camellias, and tree ferns. The resort is birdwatcher’s dream; it is not uncommon to see five different sunbird species on one visit to the area. Other birds to be spotted include Egyptian goose, sparrow weaver, superb starling, hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, kingfisher.
Sabana is good for families. There’s good security within a gated environment, so children roam without supervision, and leisure facilities. In addition to canoeing, water sliding, biking, hikes, rafting, families can explore the board games- backgammon, chess, dam and darts. Boat trip can be made to an island noted for its hot springs in search of hippos and crocodiles.
The resort is owned by the Ferrari Family, who also runs the renowned Blue Tops Restaurant in Addis. Lugi Ferrari is an engineer by professions who designs everything on paper before he lays a brick. A feisty and determined man, he’s passionate about conserving the biodiversity of the land and he’s determined to foster an ethos of conservation in the surrounding communities, beginning with the education of his staff.
Of course, this brand of rustic luxury doesn’t come cheap. But the feeling that comes with walk in the lakefront or dive into the water in the sunset is priceless.