The Lower Omo Valley

The Lower Omo Valley, in the south of Ethiopia, is home to a fascinating range of distinct tribal groups, isolated from the rest of the world for centuries and still following their own cultures and customs. On this tour itineraries below you will explore Africa’s most fascinating ethnic groups. Whether it is wandering through traditional Daasanach villages, watching Hamer people performing a Jumping of the Bulls ceremony or seeing the Mursi’s mind-blowing lip plates, your visit will stick with you for a lifetime. Local markets and visiting villages, driving past the lakes of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and looking for the wealth of wildlife that this little-explored region contains. The Lower Omo is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups not only the Bume and Konso, but also the Gelebe, the Bodi, the Mursi, the Surma, the Arbore, and the Hamer, to name but a few. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs.

11 Days Tribes of the Lower Omo Valley


Exploring the Mursi people, Karo tribes and more than dozen ethnic groups residing here who live completely outside modern society.

Day 1 Addis Ababa Cultural Highlights:

The National Museum, Ethnological Museum, St George Cathedral and Musuem. Explore the massive Merkato, Holy Trinity Cathdral and head out of Addis for fresh-air walking in the Entoto Mountains and visit the Entoto Mariam Church. Finish the day dining and drinking tej( honey wine) at a traditional Ethiopian restaurants, while enjoying a show of song and dance. Overnight Addis Ababa.

Day 2

Drive to southern Ethiopia via, Butajira. An hour from Addis is the Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site, where many stone, tools, and fossils dating back 1.8 million years used by Home erectus. 4 KM of south of Melka Kunture, is Adadi Mariam southernmost rock hewn church date back to the 12thC. Continue a visit to the archeological sites of Tiya, the World Heritage list -Tiya Stelae Field clusters dotting the countryside, heading for overnight stay in Awassa.

Day 3

After breakfast, visit the Fish Market on the shores of Lake Awassa, with its mountainous backdrop is an attractive place. After the visit proceed to Guge Mountains , northwest of Arba Minch for Dorze Tribe territory famous for their towering homes and fine cotton weaving. You will visit collection of villages and know about the daily lives of Dorze Tribes. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and/or in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), will be visited. Overnight in Arba Minch.

Day 4

Exploring the local market in the morning particularly a visit the market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Different tribes walk long to and from market place and best time to visit is 10:30AM and 3:PM. Afterwards, continue driving back to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” the masses of crocs , and the local hippos. Overnight in Arba Minch.

Day 5

After having breakfast, drive from Arba Minch to Turmi, an important transit hub surrounded by Hamer villages. While you on drive you encounter the village of Weyto (market day Saturday), is the territory of Tsemai tribe. Drive through the Weyto Valley to Arbore, where you will visit local Erbore village (market day is Saturday). Heading to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe. There is smaller Thursday Market in Turmi. In the evening join the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as Evangadi. The Hamer are also considered masters of body decoration. Overnight in Turmi.

Day 6

In the morning, drive to Omorate, eastern bank of the Omo River to visit the Dassenech tribe. Omorate is visited exclusively as a morning trip out of Turmi that includes to cross th Omo River by local boat to arrive at Dassenech tribe. Drive back to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hamer village. An opportunity to attend Bull Jumping ceremony. It is a rite of passage into manhood for all hammer and Banna boys .15 to 30 bulls have lined up side by side and each naked boy take part must cross the lines of the bulls. Overnight in Turmi.

Day 7

After early breakfast drive from Turmi to the pair of Omo-River side destinations Kangaten and Kolcho. A visit of the Nyangatom village in the morning, whose women wear massive stacks of beaded necklaces. After the visit, come back across the river and head to the Karo village of Korcho. The cliff top of village of Kolcho is the smallest of three Karo villages. And with one of beautifully set villages of Ethiopia. The Karo Tribe, Omo Valley’s smallest groups are masters of body paintings and creating bold patterns. Drive back to Turmi for Overnight.

Day 8

Depart to Jinka set in hills above Mago National Park. Jinka’s famous Saterday market, the largest in the region attracts variety of Ethnic groups including Ari, Banna, Mursi and Bashada. Rest of the week there is a market in Jinka but fewer tribes come including the Ari and Banna. Proceed to Dimeka and Key Afar. In Dimeka (market days Tuesdays and Saturdays) is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karos. Proceed to Jinka for overnight.

Day 9

After breakfast, Drive to the forests at Wendo Genet, the summer residence of the late emperor’s family. Swim and shower in the natural hot springs and adjacent cold mountain streams. Overnight Wondogenet.

Day 10

The Borena town of Yabelo is a base for visiting, the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary and for a chance to see Swayne’s hartebeest and zebras and many bird species. After the visit, take a trip to south to visit El Sod, a village that is home to a crater lake with a large salt deposit called the House of Salt. Heading to Yirgalem, to home of 100-plus species of birds and black-and-white colobus Hyenas come to feed during the evening coffee ceremony during your stay at Aregash Lodge . Overnight in Yirgalem.

Day 11

After breakfast, drive back to north of Addis Ababa. On the way a stopover at Abiatta-Shala National Park located west of lake Langano. An opportunity to see ostrich, gazelle and warthogs. Lake Shala, 410sq-km surface sits within a collapsed volcanic caledera depths exceeds 260m making it the deepest in Ethipoia. Lake Abiatta isa perfect place to look for flamingos and can be seen in flocks of thousands. Overngiht Addis Ababa.

Depending on your arrival and departure time, the itinerary could be amended accordingly, for you to attend as many market days and cultural activities as possible.

If you need further information, please contact us we would be very happy to help you plan a trip of a life time. Just send us an email us.

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