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TRIBES OF ETHIOPIA

OVERVIEW

One of the most remote places on the planet, Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is home to stunning lakes and some of the most untouched ancient tribal civilizations on the planet. Marvel at their animal skin lion cloths, beaded headdresses, lip plates, brutal fighting exhibitions, and ancient scarification ceremonies, that will make you feel like you have traveled back in time thousands of years. The Mursi women wear large circular clay plates in their lower lip and ear lobes. The Karo tribespeople cover themselves in ornate patterns from head to toe in white body paint, adorning their clay hair buns with feather plumes and their faces with spectacular masks. The Hamer tribespeople wear countless metal anklets, bracelets, beaded headdresses, animal skins, and an elaborate hairstyle of short tufts rolled in ochre and fat. The Arbore tribe sings and dances to eliminate negative energy and bring prosperity to the tribe. All of the different tribes live in simple make shift huts, dress traditionally, drink from calabashes and live a lifestyle similar to how they lived since the turn of the first millennium. The landscape with its numerous lakes and mountains is sublime. In some places, the vast flat expanses of land are so great that you feel like you can see the curvature of the earth. In short, bring your camera and an adventurous spirit.

 

WHAT WE LOVE

  • Visit the colorfully adorned and body painted tribespeople of the Omo Valley.
  • Observe the notable differences of the Mursi, Hamer, Benna, Tsemai, Konso, Karo, Arbore and Surma tribes- their unique cultures, rituals, and adornments
  • Meet a tribal chief adorned from head to toe in primary color paints and a feathered headdress
  • Witness an ancient bull jumping ceremony- a right of passage for a Hamer boy to become a man
  • Marvel at the brutality of the donga stick fighting- an important tradition for the Surma people, especially when a man is looking for a bride
  • Expert local guides sourced from the local tribes that enrich experiencing the fascinating tribal culture

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • All lodging and meals in the Omo Valley
  • Private 4 wheel drive transportation in the Omo Valley
  • Expert drivers, guides and translators in the Omo Valley

 

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Ethiopia today is a safe and peaceful country, however this trip is for the true adventurer. The drives are long, the tribes can be aggressive, and the begging can be overwhelming.
  • This trip is available year-round
  • Arrive in Ethiopia on a Sunday to maximize tribal market visits
  • Pairs well with Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar

 

DETAILS

  • Priced from $4,800 per person
  • Not included: Flights to/from Ethiopia, hotels, meals and transport in Addis Ababa, travel insurance

 

HOW TO GET THERE

There are international direct flights to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from numerous cities, most notably Washington D.C., London, Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai, and Nairobi.


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SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa
Spend the first day touring Addis Ababa.  It is the second highest altitude city in the world at 8000 feet above sea level. Addis Ababa highlights include the National Museum which contains “Lucy”, the oldest humanoid ever found (3.2 million years old). Also visit the Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa offering a dazzling array of colors, aromas, fabrics, produce, and jewelry.

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Butajira – Arba Minch
In the morning take a scenic drive south to Arba Minch. En route, visit the Tiya Stone UNESCO world heritage site.  These stone sculptures were erected in the 14th century and are believed to be ancient grave markers.  Stop for lunch at a local restaurant in Butajira. Drive through several small villages and arrive in Arba Minch in the evening. Enjoy the amazing views of Lakes Camo and Abay.

Day 3: Arba Minch
After breakfast, visit the Dorze tribe, known for their beehive shaped bamboo huts and professional weaving skills. The Dorze have mini gardens around their huts with vegetables, spices, and bananas. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo and see herds of hippos and one of the planet’s highest concentrations of crocodiles. The scenery is truly unforgettable. Cross the lake and take a hike to see zebras and gazelles. Overnight in Arba Minch.

Day 4: Visit the Konso Tribe
Take an early morning drive to the Konso village.  The Konso tribe is known for its colorful costumes, village life, wooden totems and terraced fields. Meet the chief of the Konso tribe.

Day 5: Visit the Benna Tribal Market
After breakfast, drive to Jinka. On the way, stop and visit the local Benna market, a colorful market that attracts other tribes in the region. Photograph the local tribes as they interact with one another and purchase some local handicrafts. After lunch, visit the Ari tribe and arrive in Jinka in the early evening.

Day 6: Visit the fierce Mursi Tribe
Full day excursion to Mago National Park, home of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi women wear circular clay plates in their lower lip and ear lobes. Mursi men are known for the fierce stick fighting. Mago National Park offers a variety of wildlife and bird species. Overnight in Turmi. 

Day 7: Visit the Hamer Tribe
During the day, visit the Hamer tribe. The Hamer wear thick copper necklaces and elaborate copper colored beaded hairstyles- a sign of health and wealth. Hamers are considered to be masters of body decoration.  They are also known for their dance and bull jumping ceremonies. Overnight in Turmi. 

Day 8: Visit the Karo Tribe
In the morning drive to Korcho, home to the Karo Tribe. The Karo are best known for their body painting. They use white chalk, charcoal, ochre and red earth. En route, visit the Arbore tribe, pastoralists who believe that singing and dancing eliminates negative energy and brings prosperity to the tribe.

Day 9: Lake Langano
After breakfast, we embark for Lake Langano.  We will stop and visit the Rastafarian Community House at Shashamane and drive further to Lake Langano. There are opportunities to trek, birdwatch, ride horses, take a boat excursion and cycle. Enjoy sun-downers over the spectacular views.

Day 10: Back to Addis Ababa
Enjoy the drive back to Addis Ababa. En route, visit the Abijata Shalla National Park.

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