The omo RIVER VALLEY

A journey to the Lower 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 elaborate 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. You will also find the natural landscape diverse and fascinating as is the case elsewhere in Ethiopia.

In addition to our guide who will accompany us from Addis Ababa, we use a local guide in each village who will explain the customs of his people and ensure our visit is both rewarding for us, and respectful to the people we meet.

This is one of the least developed parts of Ethiopia, hotels are more modest than elsewhere, though we are using the best hotels in each of the 4 areas we visit and you can be assured of comfort and amenities (clean rooms, flush toilets, hot and cold running water).

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

Ethiopia Omo painted kids.jpg
thumbnail-6.jpg

DAY 1: WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18

Addis Ababa to Awassa

Late morning departure from Addis Ababa for an hour flight to Awassa on the shores of Lake Awassa, one of the largest and most scenic of Ethiopia's lakes. We visit the local fish market, where you will meet the 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 as the animals understand they are here protected and have lost much of their fear of humans, making them great photography subjects. Late afternoon to relax at hotel pool and watch the sunset. Overnight at Haile Resort-Awassa.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Ethiopia Dorse beehive house.jpg

DAY 2: THURSDAY, Jan. 19

Awassa to Arba Minch

A 4-hour drive takes brings us to the small town of Arba Minch, and along the way we stop for photos of Ethiopia's lush southern scenery. We stop to visit a Dorze 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 who curate this unique welcome experience as they share food, tradition and entertainment with our group. Late afternoon we settle into our hotel, and you can relax by the pool. Overnight at Haile Resort-Arba Minch. 

(B,L,D)

DAY 3: FRIDAY, Jan. 20

Arba Minch to Konso

thumbnail-4.jpg

This morning we drive 3-hours to Konso, known for its people of the same name. The architecturally inspiring ancient stone villages have led the area to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A highland people, the Konso are known for the ancient and intricate terraces that encircle their well-planned villages, we explore the local cultural center and museum to gain an understanding of their society. You will then have the opportunity to wander with a local guides, ask questions and take photographs. Overnight at Kanta Lodge.

(B,L,D)

DAY 4: SATURDAY, Jan. 21

Ethiopia Kanta towers.jpg

Konso to Turmi

Further exploration of Konso this morning, including a visit to the bizarre eroded towers that dominate some of the surrounding terrain. Continuing south from Konso we descend into the beautiful landscape of the Lower Omo Valley and on to Turmi where we spend the next 3 nights. Overnight at Buska Lodge.

(B,L,D)

Ethiopia-2-Mursi-men.jpg

DAY 5: SUNDAY, Jan. 22

Omorate Excursion Karo Village

Ethiopia another Hamer girl.jpg
Ethiopia smiling Karo woman.jpg
Ethiopia rural road.jpg

Excursion to Omorate visiting the Dassanech people, and explore their market and town (again 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. Late afternoon return to Turmi. Overnight at Buska Lodge.

(B,L,D)

DAY 6: MONDAY, Jan. 23

Karo Village

Northwest of Turmi live the Karo people, experts in body painting. Again we have

local guide to help us explore the village and market, late afternoon we return to

Turmi. Overnight at Buska Lodge.

(B,L,D)

Ethiopia Mursi woman n kids.jpg

DAY 7: TUESDAY, Jan. 24

Turmi to Jinka

Today's excursion takes us to the village of Arbore tribe and the market town of Key Afer. The market sells cattle, food, clothing, has restaurants and bars, this is strictly for locals, and the array of goods on display is fascinating. We continue on to Jinka, where we spend the night. Overnight at Nasa Hotel.

(B,L,D)

DAY 8: WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25

Jinka

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. Afternoon visit to Aari village where our Aari friends will arrange a special welcome ceremony for us. Overnight at Nasa Hotel.

(B,L,D)

DAY 9: THURSDAY, Jan. 26

Ethiopia mursi.jpg
thumbnail-10.jpg

Jinka to Addis Ababa

Morning visit to South Omo Museum and Research Center, followed by free time until we depart for airport for early afternoon flight to Addis Ababa. Farewell dinner with group and guides. Day room at hotel in Addis Ababa, as most flights depart late at night.

(B,L,D)

PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION

(Inclusive of 8 nights in Ethiopia, all meals, bottled water in the vehicle, 2 internal domestic flights, ground transportation; entrance fees; services of licensed Ethiopian guide and driver; services of USA-based trip leader.)

$2700. (Based on double occupancy)

$3200. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: International airfare, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature and travel insurance are NOT included. Negative Covid-19 test, required for entry to Ethiopia and re-entry to USA is also NOT included.

GENERAL INFORMATION

INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE

As travel in these pandemic times is not the same as it was (though we are confident it will still be enjoyable and safe, there are some additional requirements). Proof of Covid-19 vaccine and negative Covid-19 test are required for participation on this trip. Travel insurance also required for this trip.

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 2 internal flights on this journey are also with Ethiopian Airlines and are included in the cost of the journey IF you travel to Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines (if not there is a surcharge of $190).

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

Ethiopian visa is easily available on arrival (for most nationalities) for $50.