The Omo Valley
The Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia is containing some of the most colourful ethnic groups. The fascinating costumes, vibrant ceremonies and celebrations, arts, crafts, music and dance of the Benna, Hamer, Mursi, Karo, Geleb, Arbore and Borena people are very special. Follow us on a trip where you take part in this extraordinary cultural events. You get truly off the beaten track, exploring little visited villages and pulsating tribal markets of the Southern Ethiopia.
Day 1: Addis Ababa – Arba Minch
Drive to the southwest out of Addis-Arba Minch which means ‘Forty Springs’ in Amharic. Enroot you will visit the villages of the Gurage tribe with their neat thatched-roof circular houses, surrounded by “Enset”-false banana trees. We will take time at their back yard farm to witness and learn their culture. Our next stop along the way is the archaeological site– the stelae of Tiya. These are several steel clusters that dot the countryside all the way down to Dila. O/N: hotel/lodge
Day 2: Arba Minch- Dorze – Boat Trip Lake Chomo
After breakfast visit the Dorze tribe and their village, famed for their bee hive shaped houses and their weaving skills. Weaving is a primary profession for many Dorze. They are also farmers, who prevent soil erosion by ingenious terracing of the mountainsides. Around their huts they have their own little garden with vegetables, spices, tobacco and “Enset” . The boat trip along Chomo Lake in the afternoon is along the best anywhere in Ethiopia. One can spot many Hippos and the world’s most spectacular concentrations of Giant Crocodiles. The water birds are great and the scenery is truly unforgettable.
Day 3: Arba Minch – Jinka
After an early breakfast we will continue driving to Jinka. En-route we will visit the Konso tribal village, who managed to develop a highly specialized agriculture economy and, in the process, one of Africa’s most fascinating culture. The day is an excellent day to meet the people, take photograph with them and learn their culture that is untouched by outside influence. On the road you will visit Ari, Benna and Tsemai tribes and also you will be able to visit the colourful Key Afer market, which is attended by all the three tribes.
Day 4: Jinka- Mago (Mursi) –Jinka
Jinka is the nearest town set in the hills above Mago National Parks. The excursion will escort you to see widespread custom of half-naked Mursi women, the insertion of wooden and terra-cotta discs into the ear lobes, the split and stretching of their lower lips to make room for similar discs. Though these ‘lip plates’ may appear bizarre to outsiders, the Mursi regard them as signs of beauty. Generally speaking, the larger the lip plate the more desirable the wearer. Evening drive will take us back to Jinka. O/N: lodge/camp
Day 5: Jinka- Demeka – Turmi
After breakfast we will drive to Turmi, a settlement for the Hamer people very much known for their colourful hair style and bull jumping tradition at times of wedding. The ladies normally adorned by leather made skirts decorated by sounding pearls and by gleaming aluminium which is normally fixed to their neck. Enroot visit to the Dimeka market which is mainly attended by the elegant skin wearing Hamer and Benna women, and decorated men. Since it borders on Benna territory, its Tuesday and Saturday market attract locals from both tribes. After taking time in the market we will drive to Turmi.
Day 6: Turmi – Kolcho –Turmi
On this day we will drive to Kolcho, a settlement for the Karo ethnic groups, perhaps the most beautiful, with its lofty views over the Omo River and traditional Karo dwelling. They are experts in body painting, using clay and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic pattern on each Faces, Chests, Arms and Legs. Even Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes with special ochre Cap of hair usually containing several Ostrich feathers. In the afternoon after drive back to Turmi.
Day 7: Turmi – Omarate – Turmi
An early drive to the Omo valley to cross the river and enjoy the home of Lower Omo people and their remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups. Omorate is nestled along the baking eastern bank of Omo River, 72 km southwest of Turmi. Their Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Gelebe (Dsaneech) one of the tribe you will visit settling on the bank of Omo River is the real attraction across the river. After seeing the small villages we will return bake to Turmi. Late afternoon enjoy the ceremony of Evangadi Dance if there is any wedding held on same time you are there and there might also be a bull jumping ceremony, which significance of a passage of from childhood to adulthood.
Day 8: Turmi – Arba Minch
On this day we will have a full day drive to Arba Minch. Along the way visit the tribes of Erbore which rest 72 km from Turmi. The Erbore people are mixed bunch, with ancestry linking back to the Omo Valley and Konso highlands. With their beads and aluminium jewellery, they resemble the Borena people. The drive continues to Arba Minch passing through Weyto, little village that lies at the junction to Arba Minch. O/N: lodge/hotel
Day 9: Arba Minch – Wondo Genet
Wondo Genet is a resort town in Ethiopia. Located southeast of Shashemene in the Sidama Zone of the Southern Nations. Wondo Genet, surrounded by dense forest, birdsong, a variety of larger wildlife and – in season – fruit and honey is truly a breath of fresh air. Enjoy yourself for well-deserved relaxing swim in the natural hot springs known for their therapeutic powers. The forest walks, the beautiful Colobus monkeys and the surrounding Sidama village with false Banana culture and coffee plantation are promises to rejuvenate your soul.
Day 10: Wondo Genet – Addis Ababa City Tour
You have the choice of to do as you wish this morning, for more swimming and adventure walks in the forest to having a relaxing breakfast in your room. We will then set on a drive back to Addis Ababa aiming to reach the capital for noon. Afternoon lunch we will embark on the city tour of Addis Ababa.
Addis Ababa, founded more than a century ago, means ‘New Flower’ in Amharic. At an Elevation of 2400m, the third highest capital in the world, the climate is pleasantly cool. The city mixes past and present. Statues from the imperial times coexist with placards from the former Marxist Regime all over the city. We will visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains when discovered in 1974. We will also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and time permitting Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis. Complementary farewell dinner party will follow in one of the most renowned Cultural restaurant in Addis to test the cultural food and drinks, enjoying dances from the different ethnic groups with traditional coffee ceremony.
You may choose to fly out that same evening or you have the choice of spending one more night in Addis. The preceding morning can be used for souvenir shopping, taking walks on the main streets of Addis, and discovering Addis bustling outdoor markets e.g. “Merkato”, exotic dishes, espresso bars and patisseries which are reminiscent of Rome and the Mediterranean.