The former capital of Sidamo region, the coffee is excellent, as you would expect.
There are two lakeside hotels – the former Wabe Shabelle hotels have been privatised. One of them, the Midroc Zewed Village Hotel was being rebuilt when I visited, though you could drink coffee at the lakeside. But people rave about the Lewi Piazza Hotel (see Bradt Guide for details).
We had a very good Italian meal at the Dolce Vita restaurant, also recommended by Bradt and rightly so.
Shashemane is 25km from Awassa. It is a much less attractive town – more a transport junction and cross roads. It was near here that the Emperor Haile Selassie gave a plot of land to Rastafarian families and there is still a big Rastafarian community here. (Some of the local Ethiopian kids speak with a rich patois accent.)
We stayed at the Zion Train Lodge in Shashemane, run by a French Rastafarian family. It was quiet and friendly; and fun to have table d’hote dinner with Rastafarians. When we were there the water wasn’t working, but it was OK to wash from the bucket of water. Here is the tukul we stayed in.
The Shalom juice bar and vegetarian restaurant on the bypass road towards Awassa was a good place to eat and pass some time.