This tour takes us to the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia – an area off the beaten track – home to some of the most colorful tribes and ethnic groups in the country. The costumes, colorful ceremonies and celebrations, arts, crafts, music and dances of the tribes like the Bena, Hamer, Mursi, Arbore and Tsemay are very fascinating. In the Omo Valley region the life of many of the tribal groups have changed little over hundreds of years and a visitor is offered extraordinary insight into their traditional cultures. On this trip we go to little visited villages and vibrant tribal markets.
DAY 1- DEPARTURE FROM YOUR HOME COUNTRY
DAY 2- ARRIVAL IN BOLE INTERNATIONAL AIR PORT AND DRIVE TO YOUR HOTEL Our staff will meet you in the airport and drive you to your hotel. Before you go to bed you will have the first experience of the Ethiopian coffee and Ethiopias national dish injera. Overnight Nexus hotel or similar DAY 3 – DRIVE TO HOSAENA
On our drive through the Rift Valley on our way to Hosaena, we visit Melka Kunture which lies near the Awash River Gorge 50 km south of the capital. This is one of the most important Neolithic sites in Ethiopia. Hand axes and various other implements have been found here. Next stop is at Tiya, where we can see examples of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stelaes. These stelaes are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers. Recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between 18 -30 and buried in fetal positions. Tiya is recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Overnight at Lemma International Hotel or similar
DAY 4- DRIVE FROM HOSSAENA TO ARBAMINCH
In the morning we drive to Arbaminch. On the way we visit the village of the Dorze tribe, famed for their beehive-shaped houses and their weaving skills. They are also farmers and prevent soil erosion by ingenious terracing of the mountainsides. Around their huts they have their own small gardens with vegetables, spices, tobacco and enset (false-banana or ensete). After lunch we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, where crocodiles sunbath on the shores and hippos cool themselves in the water. Birdlife is abundant here – we can see weavers, sunbirds, waxbills and colonies of pelicans. Overnight at Paradise Lodge or similar
DAY 5- DRIVE FROM ARBAMINCH TO JINKA
Konso, named after the Konso people, is known for its religious traditions, waga sculptures, and nearby fossil beds (the later an archaeological site of early hominids). The place was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on September 2012 due to its universal cultural significance because of terracing as agricultural practice.
Further along the route we visit the Tsemay village. The Tsemay tribe occupy the semi-arid region of the Weyto valley. Here they live as agro – pastoralist. The banks of the Weyto River are particularly suitable for crop cultivation and cotton-plantations. However, the Tsemay mainly grow sorghum and millet.
If we arrive here on a Thursday, we drive on to the small town of Key After to visit the tribal marked there.
Overnight at Eco Omo Lodge or similar
DAY 6- DRIVE JINKA
We make morning excursion to the Mago National Park. The Mago National Park is located on the eastern bank of the Omo River and ranges in altitude from 450 to 2,528 m. We cross the park to visit a Mursi village to enjoy and appreciate the attractive culture of the Mursi tribe. They are known for their strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lip slit to insert in the space a circular clay disc as a sign of beauty.
On your way back we stop to visit the South Omo Research Center & Museum. It is an excellent anthropological museum regarding the South Omo people. We will also visit the Jinka market. Here you will see the various tribes such as Mursi, Tsemay, Bena and Ari.
Overnight at Eco Omo Lodge or similar
DAY 7 – DRIVE JINKA -TURMI On our way to Turmi we pass through a vast meadowland with shrubs and “umbrella” acacia trees. At Turmi we visit a Hamer village. The Hamers have remarkable hairstyles made from a mixture of ochre, water, and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair then twist the strands repeatedly to create Coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. The Hamers are considered to be masters of body decoration. Overnight at Buska Lodge or similar.
DAY 8- TURMI
Turmi is our base while we explore the region to meet the different tribes who live here. Today we drive towards the Murile area to see the Karo tribes. Murile (also spelled Muelle and Murli) lies on the banks of the Omo River, and is a popular base for exploring this quite rugged area. There is a fair amount of wildlife in the area, and a good chance to see some form of antelope and possibly raptors overhead. The Karo tribe practice scarification, have elaborate hairstyle and are experts on body painting. They use clay and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on their faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs have no special symbolic significance but are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist trying to outdo his fellow artist. Karo men also sculpture and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre “caps” of hair usually containing several ostrich feathers.Today we also visit the colorful Hamer market. Here you will be privileged to see the dressing and hair styles of the Hamer tribe. Hamermen
Overnight at Buska Lodge or similar. DAY 9- DRIVE TURMI-ARBAMINCH
We visit an Arbore village. The Arbore are a group of about 4000 people who live as agro-pastoralists. Their most important possession is their cattle. Their agriculture (maize and sorghum) and their animal household is maintained by an elaborate irrigation system alongside the River Weyto. The Arbore have detailed knowledge of botanical species, distinguishing between 130 different kinds of sorghum.
We continue driving to Yabello through the natural and plain countryside. We make several stops if we meet tribes or sheperds on our way.
Overnight at Paradise Lodge or similar
DAY 10- DRIVE ARBAMINCH -AWASSA
We continue the drive north through the Rift Valley on our way to Lake Langano. We pass Sodo and the Alabs interesting architectural vernacular houses. We stop for a visit and lunch at Shashemene where we also visit the village of the Ras Tafarian community. Across from Lake Langano we have Lake Abiata and Lake Shala known for flamingos and other birds. You will have a look from a view point.
Overnight at Haile Resort or similar
DAY 11-DRIVE LANAGANO-ADDIS ABABA
After a lunch we drive to Addis Ababa via Ziway and Debre Zeyt. Debre Zeyt, surrounded by Lake Kuriftu on one side and beautiful tropical gardens on the other, is like a slice of paradise.
After arrival in Addis, we visit the National Museum. It is home to the skeleton of Selam, who like Lucy, is an Australopithecus afarensis. Often nicknamed Lucy’s baby, Selam actually lived nearly 150,000 years before Lucy. We continue on to the Ethnographic Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, located in a palace of former Emperor Haile Selassie. Here we see precious pieces of Ethiopian Christian art. We also, drive up to the Entoto Mountain to have a breathtaking view of Addis.
In the evening before check in to the airport, we have a farewell dinner at one of the best traditional restaurants where you will see the folkloric dances of the people of Ethiopia, and taste the variety of Ethiopian food.
Days : 11 | Nights : 10