ETHIOPIA: 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 3 areas we visit and you can be assured of comfort and amenities (clean rooms, flush toilets, hot and cold running water).

April 2019

Mursi Free Ethiopia Tree With Hole Karo Women 1 Woman Extended Lips

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Depart Addis Ababa 11:45 a.m. for 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 Rivet 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.

Haile Resort (Arba Minch)

We start the day with a boat trip on Lake Chamo and view some of the largest crocodiles in the world sunning on the banks of the lake. Hippos and bird life are also abundant here. From here we drive to Konso, recently designated as 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 village, and then have have the opportunity to wander with local guide, ask questions and take photographs. From Konso we continue on the Turmi where we spend the next 3 nights.

Buska Lodge (Turmi)

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 hair styles, and the young men prior to 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.

Buska Lodge (Turmi)

Northwest of Turmi live the Karo people, considered masters of body painting. Again we have local guide to help us explore the village and market, late afternoon we return to Turmi.

Buska Lodge (Turmi)

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.

Eco-Omo Safari Lodge (Jinka)

We depart Jinka early and drive through Mago National Park (home to antelope and zebras) en route to a Mursi Village. Our local Mursi guide will explain customs of his people, perhaps the best known of which is the giant lip plates worn by the women. We next drive to Arba Minch for flight to Addis Ababa. 

prices & registration information

(Inclusive of 5 nights in Ethiopia, meals where indicated; bottled water, 2 internal domestic flights, ground transportation; entrance fees; services of licensed Ethiopian guide and driver; services of USA-based trip leader.)

$2200. (Based on double occupancy) 

$2500. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: Ethiopian visa ($50, obtained upon arrival at airport) gratuities, alcoholic beverages, meals not listed on itinerary, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature, international airfare and travel insurance are NOT included.

NOTE: For those not flying to Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines there is a surcharge of $190 for the 2 internal flights used for this journey.

General Information

Participants are responsible for their own air transportation to Addis Ababa airport where 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 flight 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 surcharge of $190).

Ethiopian visa is easily available in arrival for $50. 

On final day of journey we return to Addis Ababa in mid afternoon, most international flights flights depart in the evening. At additional cost we can provide day room until time to return to airport for your flight, or room for additional day(s).