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 1: SUNDAY, FEB 16
Addis Ababa to Arba Minch
Depart Addis Ababa 11:45 a.m. for an hour flight to Arba Minch, after check-in the hotel we drive to a Dorze village, high in the Guge Mountains. The drive and the mountains provide spectacular views of Ethiopia's River Valley Lakes. The Dorze are known for their tall beehive-shaped bamboo houses, and fine cotton weaving. We will tour the village with a local Dorse guide and meet some of his friends and family, visiting a weaving cooperative, you can try your hand at baking Kocho, the local bread and visit some of the extraordinary houses. Overnight at Paradise Lodge
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 2: MONDAY, FEB 17
Arba Minch to Konso
A 3-hour drive brings us 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
DAY 3: TUESDAY, FEB 18
Konso to Turmi
Further exploration of Konso this morning. From Konso the drive takes us into the beautiful landscape of the Lower Omo Valley and on to Turmi where we spend the next 3 nights. Overnight at Buska Lodge
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY, FEB 19
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 and Ari people. Late afternoon return to Turmi. Overnight at Buska Lodge
DAY 5: THURSDAY, FEB 20
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.
DAY 6: FRIDAY, FEB 21
Arbore and Tsemay Village
Today's excursion takes us to the villages of Arbore and Weyto, home to the Tsemay people. We continue on to Jinka, where we spend the night. Overnight at Eco-Omo Safari Lodge.
DAY 7: SATURDAY, FEB 22
Jinka to Addis Ababa
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. We next drive to Jinka for flight to Addis Ababa. Day room at Nexus Hotel
PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
(Inclusive of 6 nights in Ethiopia, a day room for the final day, 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.)
$2300. (Based on double occupancy)
$2800. (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 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 October 1, we can arrange additional nights in the hotel.
Ethiopian visa is easily available on arrival for $50.
On the final day of the journey we will provide you will a day room at Addis Ababa hotel, as most flights depart in the evening. If you wish to stay the night in Addis Ababa, we are happy to provide hotel reservation for this night or any additional nights.