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Southern Ethiopia is certainly 'off the beaten path,' but in the most fascinating, beautiful and friendly manner imaginable. Those who describe its beauty and its people as surreal or other wordly have chosen their adjectives well. Ethiopia's less visited south will provide a visual and sensory feast, with amazing people, interesting wildlife, dramatic landscape, some unique lodges, and exceptional experiences every day. The vibe of the south is 'end of the world' amazing, with friendly people and bizarre and beautiful sights, and thanks to our great local guides we have access to places most visitors do not see. We begin our journey by driving south from Addis Ababa, with stops at the most interesting places along the way, to eventually arrive in the Omo Valley. A journey to the Omo Valley provides a glimpse into the lives of several of Ethiopia's diverse ethnic groups. The villages, markets and people here are fascinating to observe, and rightly so, with striking appearances brought about my intricate body painting, scarification and and elaborate hair fashion. While the idea of foreigners come to gaze upon these people might appear voyeuristic, the fact is that in their changing society, tourists tend to be respectful and interested in these various ethnic groups, and tourism is seen as a stabilizing influence. The natural landscape is diverse and fascinating, different from other parts of Ethiopia, but equally as compelling.

In addition to our guide who will accompany us from Addis Ababa, will have another 2 guides who are from the Omo Valley and speaks several Omo languages. Additionally we use local guides in each village, these guides are friends of ours and make your visit even richer and more rewarding. These guides and their rapport with local people ensure that we will be welcomed and enjoy experiences unknown to many visitors to the Omo Valley.

Although this is one of the least developed parts of Ethiopia, our accommodations are at some of the best resort hotels in Ethiopia. Other lodges are more modest, though we have chosen the best hotel in each area. The more simple lodges have clean and comfortable rooms, hot and cold running water, flush toilets, and more importantly, lots of atmosphere (in fact many of our guests are more impressed with these lodges than the deluxe resort hotels, as they provide such a unique experience).

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Addis Ababa

Arriving participants will be met at airport for transfer to hotel, and have day to rest and meet other participants. For those already in Addis we have a day of sightseeing, visiting a few of the most interesting places in the city. Get acquainted dinner for everyone this evening.

Overnight at Best Western Hotel.



DAY 2: THURSDAY, June 22

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Addis Ababa to Lake Langano

Morning departure from Addis Ababa by vehicle  for the 4 hour drive to Lake Langano, one of the most beautiful of the Rift Valley lakes. En route we stop at Abijatta-Shala National Park where we can observe rare Somali Ostrich at close range as well as gazelle and baboons. Afternoon arrival at our lakefront resort where we can enjoy a swim in the lake, the spa or the garden like grounds before later in the afternoon enjoying sunset over the lake, and then dinner the resort's acclaimed restaurant.

Overnight at Sabana Beach Resort.



DAY 3: FRIDAY, June 23

Lake Langano to Awassa

Relax this morning at the resort before we depart for our 2 hour drive to Awassa. The town of Awassa is set on Lake Awassa and we have chosen another lakeside resort where we will spend the next 2 nights, while exploring this interesting region. Late afternoon to relax and enjoy sunset over Lake Awassa from the lakeside hotel grounds.

Overnight at Haile Resort-Awassa.



DAY 4: SATURDAY, June 24


This morning we visit the local fish market, where you can observe fishermen who catch a vast array of fish from the lake. The market is both interesting and colorful, making for great photo opportunities. Large marabou storks, prehistoric looking 4 foot birds patrol the market, looking for fish scraps to eat. Nearby is a forest reserve with many black and white colobus monkeys, an increasingly rare species of beautiful monkey easily observed here, making them great photography subjects.

Late afternoon boat excursion to view birds and hippopotamus.

Overnight at Haile Resort-Awassa.


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DAY 5: SUNDAY, June 25

Awassa to Yirga Alem

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A 90-minute drive takes us to one of the most enchanting places in Ethiopia, Aregash Lodge on a coffee estate in the forested highlands. The former Emperor Haile Selassie tasked a Greek/Ethiopian family with developing the area, and the descendants of the family continue to operate the estate and lodge. We'll have the chance to tour the plantation, hike in the forest, or just relax on the beautiful grounds of the lodge. The lodge is known for its superb organic food, the bird life found on the grounds, its comfortable feel and great atmosphere.

Overnight at Aregash Lodge.



DAY 6: MONDAY, June 26

Yirga Alem to Arba Minch

Relax this morning over coffee and on the lodge grounds before we depart in early afternoon for Arba Minch. Arrive in Arba Minch and get settled into our luxury hotel (home for the next 2 nights), enjoy the pool or spa, and in late afternoon the sunset view of Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya from the hotel gardens.

Overnight at Haile Resort-Arba Minch.


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DAY 7: TUESDAY, June 27

Arba Minch, Lake Chamo exploration and Dorze Village excursion

A morning boat excursion to Lake Chamo provides the opportunity to see crocodiles, hippos, interesting bird life and spectacular scenery as both sides of the Rift Valley walls rise up above the glassy water of the lake. Return to hotel and some time to relax, and then late afternoon visit the Dorze tribal village; the Dorze people are famed for their tall beehive shaped homes, built of bamboo and false banana leaves. Our visit to this village will be coordinated by local Dorze villagers who curate this unique welcome experience as they share food, tradition and entertainment with our group.

Overnight at Haile Resort-Arba Minch.




Arba Minch to Konso

Today's drive brings us to Konso, and in the afternoon we explore the bizarre eroded landscape full of towers known geologically as 'hoodoos' a Native American Indian word to mean frozen people. Interesting how the local members of the Kanta tribe have nicknamed this place New York, as the eroded sandstone towers remind them of images of New York skyscrapers they have seen.

Overnight at Kanta Lodge.


DAY 9: THURSDAY, June 29


Today we enter the lower Omo Valley with its unique landscape and people. We drive to the small town of Turmi with it's friendly wild west feel and check into one of our favorite hotels, Buska Lodge. We will make later afternoon visit to a Karo tribe village. The Karo people are masters of body painting/decoration, using mud, ash and other local pigments. You too can have your body painted by tribes people if you wish.

Overnight at Buska Lodge.



DAY 10: FRIDAY, June 30

Turmi to Omorate

Morning drive to Omorate to visit the Dassanech people, and explore their market and town (with local Dassanech guide). Our next stop will be to a Hamer village, the Hamer are masters of hair decoration, using clay to shape their hairstyles, and the young men prior to the marriage must succeed at 'bull jumping'; if we are fortunate we may witness such a ceremony. En route back to Turmi, we'll have the opportunity to visit the Benna tribe.

Overnight at Buska Lodge.



DAY 11: SATURDAY, July 1


There are some beautiful savanna hikes to make in the vicinity of the lodge, with the opportunity to see interesting vegetation, bird life and perhaps antelope and monkeys. We also pay a visit to the Arbore Tribe.

Overnight at Buska Lodge.


DAY 12: SUNDAY, July 2

Turmi to Jinka

Today's excursion takes us to the market town of Key Afer. The market sells cattle, food, clothing, has restaurants and bars, and the array of goods on display is fascinating. Locals bring artifacts to sell, items you can purchase here are not manufactured for the tourist trade, but genuinely local. We continue on to Jinka, where we spend the night. Late afternoon visit to Aari village, the Aari are one of the largest tribes in the Omo Valley and we have local guide from this tribe to welcome us.

Overnight at Eco Omo Lodge.


DAY 13: MONDAY, July 3


We depart Jinka early and drive through Mago National Park en route to a Mursi village. Our local Mursi guide will explain the customs of his people, perhaps the best known of which is the giant lip plates worn by the women. Mursi also paint their faces and we will have many offers from young women to paint our faces, which can nice way to bond with locals, as well as provide interesting photos. Afternoon visit to the South Omo Research Center, a fascinating small museum.

Overnight at Eco Omo Lodge.


DAY 14: TUESDAY, July 4

Jinka to Addis Ababa

Morning flight from Jinka to Addis Ababa. We have the afternoon to relax in Addis or explore more of Ethiopia's bustling capital. Farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight in Best Western Hotel.





Relax in hotel until time to depart for airport for onward flight.




(Inclusive of 14 nights in Ethiopia, all meals, bottled water in the vehicle, 1 domestic flight, ground transportation; entrance fees; photography fees, services of licensed Ethiopian guides and drivers; services of USA-based trip leader.)

$6000. (Based on double occupancy)

$6600. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: International airfare, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature and travel insurance are NOT included.



Participants are responsible for their own air transportation to Addis Ababa airport where the journey begins. Many airlines serve this airport, including ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, a highly regarded carrier with high marks for both safety and service. Ethiopian Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. The 1 internal flight on this journey is also with Ethiopian Airlines and is included in the cost of the journey IF you travel to Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines (if not there is a surcharge of $60).

For those arriving before start of journey, or staying after end of journey, we can arrange additional nights in hotel.

Ethiopian E-Visa is easily available ONLINE (for most nationalities) for $52. 


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