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OMO VALLY TRIBES

Ethiopia encounters more than 80 ethnic tribe groups. The Omo Valley is a melting pot of cultures that have tried to keep untouched their traditions for generations up to our days. In addition, it is home to abundant wildlife as part of the Great Rift Valley scenery. Starting in Arba Minch with a boat trip on the Lake Chamo surrounded by hippopotamus and crocodiles, this unforgettable tour will take you to different tribes such as the Dorze, famous for their cotton-weaving skills and their bee-hives looking houses, the Mursi and their women with large plates in their lower lips or the Hamer, known for their goatskin outfits and the “bull-jumping” old tradition that young men try to accomplish if they want to get married. You will not be indifferent to this mosaic of unique cultures and ancient traditions.

Culture and trips

Omo Valley cultural trip

siting the peoples of the South Omo (cultural route) is an enriching and educational experience. Up to two dozen tribes inhabit the area and we visit villages and local markets in the hope of meeting many of them. The most famous are the Mursi, renowned for their clay lip plates, but there are many other vivid encounters. Whilst the emphasis of the trip is on the people, we also visit the Rift Valley Lakes with their beautiful scenery and fertile surroundings, and we are likely to see a wide range of mammals in Nechisar and Mago Parks.

Konso

The people of Konso are known for their terraced agriculture and wooden totems commemorating their ancestors.

Mursi Village

The Mursi village, whose women have the custom of expanding their lower lips using disks that gradually get larger and larger. These are people who farm the land and breed livestock; they live in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world.

Arba Minch

Arba Minch is one of the largest town in Southern Ethiopia and the gateway to travel in the Omo Valley region; all planes and vehicles come through this bustling crossroads before heading further south. Arba Minch is set on an escarpment overlooking the Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. The town's name in Amharic literally means "forty springs" that are found around the town.

Turmi

Turmi is the central town of the Hamer people. It is a main trading point between many of the Omo Valley peoples so markets here are particularly interesting. Optional Bull jumping is possible during harvesting season in the surrounding village. The most important event in Hamer society is the bull jumping, an initiation rite. Up to 15 bulls are lined up in a row. The initiate with naked body has to leap on the back of the first bull, then from one bull to the next, until he reaches the end of the row. He must repeat in the opposite direction, then third times.

Hammer

Hammers have remarkable hairstyles made from ochre, water, and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair then twist the strands repeatedly to create coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. Hammers are considered to be masters of body decoration.

Karo

The Karo adorn their bodies with different paintings, done for dance, feast, or celebration. Yellow mineral rock, black charcoal and pulverized red iron ore are traditionally used for the body painting. They use bid biros, nails, candy wrappers, and cartridges for body decoration.

Omorate

Omorate lies on the eastern bank of the Omo River and is almost totally isolated from the rest of Ethiopia.

Dorze

The Dorze people, who live high in the mountains, are famous for their beehive-shaped bamboo houses. They use ingenious terracing and have a unique traditional life style with their colorful weaving products.

Dassench/Geleb

After crossing the Omo River we encounter the Dasenech people. The main attraction is the their Villages on the out skirts of the town. The Dasenech are also known as Galeb or Reshiat they were forced out of there homeland in a region called Nyupe, to the west of Turkana, by the expansionist wars of Turkana in the 18th century. They now cover a large territory of the western banks of the Omo all the way south to Lake Turkana.

Rift Valley

The Rift Valley is a deep fission that extends for over 6,000 km from the Middle East to Mozambique – testimony to the (most recent) violent and massive shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates. The rift contains a marvelous series of lakes, which are teeming with fish and provide a habitat for hundreds of species of birds.

Lake Awassa/Hawassa/

Lake Awassa that is set in a volcanic crater, Awassa Lake is the smallest in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Here, we may view hippos, grivet monkeys, and colobus monkeys with their wonderful white faces encircled by deep ebony crowns. Birdwatchers will especially enjoy such avian wonders as the silvery-cheeked hornbill, black-winged lovebird, and Abyssinian black-headed oriole. The city of Awassa with its diverse ethnic mix will be especially enjoyable as we walk through the daily market where colorful villagers negotiate for fish.

5 Days (by flight)

Day 1

In the morning, fly to Arba Minch with time to visit the Nechisar National Park with a boat trip on the Lake Chamo
to see crocodiles, hippopotamus and abundant bird species. Overnight in Arba Minch (lodge or hotel)

Day 2

Drive to Turmi to see the Hamer tribe, where you may witness the “bull-jumping” tradition than the way to Turmi.
Overnight in Turmi (lodge, hotel or camping)

Day 3

Drive to Murulle to visit the Karo Village, famous for their meticulous body-painting tradition.
Drive back to Turmi for overnight (lodge or camping)

Day 4

Drive back to Arba Minch. On the way, visit the Dorze village, known for the beehive-shaped bamboo houses and
the fine cotton weaved by their people. Overnight in Arba Minch (lodge or hotel)

Day 5

Fly back to Addis Ababa with time to do some shopping or sightseeing. In the evening, farewell
dinner at a traditional restaurant with local dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s ethnic groups.
Transfer to airport for departure.
End of the tour
6 Days (by surface)

Day 1

Drive to Arba Minch via Hosena. You will be able to see different historical places on the way such as Melka Kunture,
a stone-age archeological site; Adadi Mariam, a 12th century rock-hewn church and Tiya, a stelae from the 12th century considered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Before reaching Arba Minch, visit the Dorze Village, known for the beehive-shaped bamboo houses and the fine cotton weaved by their people. Overnight in Arba Minch (hotel or lodge)

Day 2

Visit the Nechisar National Park with a boat trip on the Lake Chamo to see crocodiles, hippopotamus
and abundant bird species. Proceed to Jinka and visit some ethnic tribes such as Gamo and Derashe. Overnight in Jinka (lodge, hotel or camping)

Day 3

Drive to Mago National Park and visit the Mursi tribe, known for the clay plates used by the women on their lower lip.
Overnight in Jinka (lodge, hotel or camping)

Day 4

Drive to the village of Turmi to visit the Hamer tribe, where you may witness the “bull-jumping”
tradition that young men try to accomplish in order to get married. Visit the Benna and Ari people on the way to Turmi. Overnight in Turmi (lodge, hotel or camping)

Day 5

Drive to Awassa via Konso, where you can visit the 55 km stonewalled terraces and fortified settlements declared
as World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Day 6

In the morning, visit the fish market of Awassa and drive back to Addis Ababa via the Rift Valley Lakes.
In the evening, farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant with local dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s ethnic groups.
Transfer to airport for departure.
End of the tour