Our itinerary takes visitors to the south of Ethiopia to meet a fascinating range of distinct tribal groups in the Omo Valley.
We journey first to Arba Minch for a relaxing cruise along Lake Charno with a chance to spot wildlife, and a visit to the Dorze village to explore their tall beehive-shaped huts.
From here we travel further southto the tribal lands of the Omo Valley, to visit some of Africa’s most traditional tribes. Our trip takes us as far south as the Kenyan border and the town of Omorate. We visit Turmi the home to many of the Hamer people, the Mursi, who wear huge clay plates in their bottom lips, and the Karo who decorate their bodies with elaborate markings.
We return to Addis Ababa via Lake Ziway one of the freshwater Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia, for some wildlife spotting.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
• Mingle with the tribes of the Omo Valley
• Wildlife watching
Arrival and departure transfers are included, whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you.
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary. Should we need to change hotels, but we will endeavour to keep the same standard. However, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
You will be escorted throughout by an English-speaking guide. You will also have local English-speaking guides.
As listed within the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).
All entrance fees
A bottle of mineral water every day
Guests are responsible for arranging their own visa. We would recommend that you obtain your visa in advance of your trip using the evisa service.
We don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours
It is important that you have insurance in place prior to arriving in country.
Guide and porterage tips, also local payments for photography
Day 1 - Addis Ababa L/D
On arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After lunch a city tour will take you to the National Archaeological Museum, to view the 3.6 million-year-old remains of “Lucy”, discovered in 1974, Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Drive to the top of Mount Entoto, which rises to an altitude of 10,500 feet for a panoramic view of the metropolis before making your way back to your hotel. Overnight at Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar.
The Ethiopian capital is situated on the southern slopes of central Ethiopia’s Entoto Hills and is the world’s fourth highest capital city with altitudes of 2,350m to more than 2,600m. The city was founded in the 19th century by Emperor Menelik II.
Addis Ababa ”new flower”) or Addis Abeba, also known as Finfinne (”natural spring”), is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia.
As a chartered city, Addis Ababa also serves as the capital city of Oromia. It is where the African Union is headquartered and where its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was based. It also hosts the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), as well as various other continental and international organizations. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as ”the political capital of Africa” for its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city lies a few miles west of the East African Rift which splits Ethiopia into two, through the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia.
Day 2 - Arba Minch B/L/D
Travel to the city ofArba Minch (literally 40 springs). Enroute visit Tiya Stelae Field, a UNESCO world heritage site and Malka Kuntera archeological site. Overnight in Paradise Lodge or similar.
Tiya is among the most important of the roughly 160 archaeological sites discovered so far in the Soddo region, south of Addis Ababa. The site contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, most of which are difficult to decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined.
According to UNESCO, these are the remains of ancient Ethiopian cultures whose age has not yet been precisely determined. The erection of megalithic monuments such as those is a very ancient tradition in Ethiopia. These obelisks are not soaring monoliths as in Axum, but they contain depictions of swards and various symbols not found in other regions.
The carved monoliths vary in size from 1m to 5m. Their forms fall into several distinct categories: figurative composition, anthropomorphic, hemispherical or conical, simple monoliths. Stelae with depictions of swords, associated with enigmatic symbols and schematic human figures came be found in the northern area.
Day 3 - Arba Minch B/L/D
Morning boat trip on Lake Chamo, the largest of the Ethiopian rift valley lakes, to visit hippos and Nile Crocodiles at Azo (Crocodile) market on the lake. Afternoon drive to Chencha village to visit the Dorze tribe who live in the highland areas, surrounded by bamboo forest and are well known for their traditional weaving and towering huts. Overnight Paradise Lodge or similar
Lake Chamo or Dorze Village
Dorze village is located in the Guge mountains. The tribe is amongst Ethiopia’s smallest ethnic groups, mostly clustered in the southern part of the country in villages around Chencha and Arba Minch in the Semien Omo District. The tribe are famous for the shape of their huts which resemble a beehive and for their cotton weaving. They are also expert farmers acknowledged for their ingenious terracing technique, allowing them to farm efficiently along the mountainside and yet prevent soil erosion. As you travel to the village you may well be entertained by young boys performing native Dorze ‘hip wiggling’ dances.
Day 4 - Turmi B/L/D
After breakfast drive to Turmi to visit the hammer tribes, stopping on the way to visit the Cushitic Erbore Tribe with their untouched culture. Turmi is our new base as we explore the region and meet the different tribes who share this valley but live a life uniquely their own. The two main tribes who live here are the Karo and the Hamer, both of whom practice scarification and have elaborate hairstyles. Overnight Buska Lodge or similar
The Karo are experts in body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on their faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs have no special symbolic significance but instead are created for fun and aesthetic effect, as each artist tries to outdo another. Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre ”caps” of hair usually containing several ostrich feathers
Day 5 - Omorate B/L/D
Afterbreakfast drive to Omorate. Cross the Omo River by traditional boat, to visit Dasenech tribes, blood relations of the Masai tribe in Kenya, Return to Turmi, in the afternoon, if you are lucky, you will visit a bull jumping ceremony (the right of passage to manhood for hammer and Bena tribes) and in the evening visit the hammer people with their Evangadi night dancing. Overnight Buska Lodge or similar
They are well known for their remarkable hairstyles made of ochre, water, and binding resin, resulting in copper-coloured locks. This is a sign of wealth for this tribe. The Hamers are also considered the masters of body decoration. The Hamers are also known in Evangadi dance (night dancing) and Bull Jumping activities.
This a traditional Bull jumping which is rite of passage for a younger son; coming of age must be passing through this ritual so as to get marry. The young man must jump, minimum four times, over a line of more than 10 bulls. He has to be nude while in jumpingexcept for a few cords bound across the chest as a symbol of the childhood he is about to leave behind him. This event lasts three days, on completion of this test, the young man joins the ranks of themaza-Maza are other men that have successfully completed the bull jumping event. During this ceremony, the women of the tribe provoke the maza to whip them on their bare backs. This is extremely painful and causes severe scaring on the women. The scars are a symbol of devotion to the men and are encouraged by the tribe. After a successful bull jumping, there is an evening dancing ceremony called Evangadi, a Hammer tradition. The Hammers have unique huts that are made up of mud, wood and straw. This event is not a day to day activity (it is conditional), but there would be a chance to this event by paying a fee about $30p/p directly from the tourist for the community
Day 6 - Jinka B/L/D
Morning, drive to Jinka via the colourful markets of KayAfer (if it Thursday), Alduba and Dimeka (if it is Tuesday or Saturday). On these beautiful markets you will visit Bena, Hamer, Tsemay and Ari tribes. Overnight Eco Omo Lodge or similar
Bena people are neighbors with the Hamer tribe and it is believed that the Bena actually originated from them centuries ago. Just like most of the indigenous tribes in the lower Omo Valley, the Bena practice ritual dancing and singing. The Bena look very similar to the Hamer and are often called the Hamer-Bena. Common rituals and traditions of other tribes are shared by the Bena. One of the distinctive aspects of the Bena/Hamar cultures is the ”bull-jumping ceremony” that enables a young man to make the transition into adulthood. After having successfully jumped a row of bulls, the young man is eligible to select his wife. The Bena men often have their hair dressed up with a colorful clay cap that is decorated with feathers. Both the men and women wear long garments and paint their bodies with white chalk. Women of the tribe wear beads in their hair that is held together with butter
Day 7 - Mursi B/L/D
Travelto the Mursi village through the Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribe. The Mursi people are famous for their women putting lip plate on their lower lip and men for their stick fighting (Donga), after visit drive back to Jinka and Overnight Eco Omo Lodge or similar
The Mursitribe are one of the most famous tribes from the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, renowned for the now-uncommon custom of their women, upon reaching maturity, having their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Age is an important factor in the Mursi society and aged men are considered to be the wisest. Those with good oratorical and debating skills are chosen as the leaders of their clan. Cattle ranching is the primary means of livelihood of the Mursi and the cattle wealth of a family represents the family status in society
Day 8 - Yabelo B/L/D
After breakfast drive to Yabelo and on the way visit Konso people. The Konso people are the hard-working people and well known for their specially land management. The Konso landscape is one of the world heritage sites in Ethiopia registered by UNESCO. Overnight XXX Hotel or similar
A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems, replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead. They also have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. This will be an excellent day to mingle among the people, take photographs with them and learn firsthand about a culture virtually untouched by the outside world.
Day 9 - Yirgalem B/L/D
Morning drive to Yirgalem. Enroute visit the Yabelo sanctuary and Tutu Fella Stelae site around Dilla. Overnight XXX hotel or similar
Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary
Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and wildlife sanctuary in southern Ethiopia. It is located in the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region west of the town of Yabelo, having an area of 2,500 square kilometers and elevations ranging from 1430 to 2000 meters above sea level. This wildlife reserve was originally created to protect Ethiopia’s endemic Swayne’s hartebeest. Hartebeests have since been poached out of the preserve, along with most other wildlife however will also probably see Burchell’s and Grevy’s zebras.
Day 10 - Addis Ababa B/L/D
After breakfast, drive back to Addis Ababa. Stopping on the way to visit rift valley lakes of Lake Ziway where you explore lots of species of birds like Marabou stork, hammer cop, pelican, sacred ibis and heron. Arrive in Addis Ababa for dinner and music dinner at a traditional restaurant. Transfer to airport to the airport in Addis Ababa for your flight back home.
Lake Zway or Lake Ziway is one of the freshwater Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia. It is located about 100 miles south of Addis Ababa, the lake supports a significant population of hippopotamuses and birdlife