Christmas trees from Somerset to establish Christmas trees in Ethiopia. ……Trees for Trees!!!

Batu Lodge, a gem found just inside the Ziway city boundary, is bursting with trees, blooms and birdsong, in what seems, a very short time.  Small bungalows equipped with guesthouse type fixtures and little extras for the discerning traveller, face onto the swimming pool and water feature, all designed by owner, Michael Russell.

In 2005 Mike, a British-educated International Forestry Adviser, returned to Ethiopia with a party of North Korean forestry professionals, to study intensive plantation development. During that tour the massive potential for tourism as a means to support development of the most-needy rural communities, became glaringly obvious. As a result Michael and his Ethiopian wife, Selas, planned to establish an eco-tourism lodge, which could provide the means to earn sustainable income, with which to provide some of that much-needed development support. After a number of attempts a site was identified at the northern edge of the small town of Ziway (now Batu), and after an extended period Ziway Batu Lodge was opened in May 2015.

The “tree connection” is that a significant amount of the funding for the Lodge came from the Russell’s Christmas tree farm in North Somerset, UK, which had the added bonus of alerting the tree customers of the project and the need in Ethiopia, with many expressing an interest to become part of the project, either as tourist visitors or more. The “tree connection” is not intended to stop at this point, in that there is a hope that some of the hoped-for profit from the Lodge can be used to reclaim large areas of degraded land on the Rift Valley escarpment that could include timber, pole wood and indigenous species. Such a project would provide employment, commercial material, non-timber forest products, improve the environment, establish wildlife habitat and foster increased tourism. Revenues would allow the project to continually expand. To complete the Christmas tree connection, it is planned that some of the timber tree species could be utilised for Christmas trees, when plantations are thinned in December. The circle would then be completed; Christmas trees from Somerset to establish Christmas trees in Ethiopia. ……Trees for Trees!!! For more information about Trees for Trees!!! contact Mike directly michaelrussell519@yahoo.co.uk

To find unexpected gems like this, join Tatu Tours around the country.  Contact tatuethiopia@gmail.com