Classic Southern Ethiopia - 9 Days
8 Days 7 Nights
Not only one of the most fascinating countries on the continent, Ethiopia is also incredibly diverse, both culturally and geographically. Travelling south from the capital, this spectacular journey takes you past the Great Rift Valley and deep into the Omo Valley, home to some of the most colourful and interesting tribal groups in the country. From Addis Ababa you will fly south to Jinka, the gateway to the Omo Valley region. Begin by exploring the Mago National Park, home to the Mursi, with their distinctive lip plates, before travelling on to Turmi, the settlement for the Hamer people. Here you can visit a local market and see the different tribes gather from across the region, before visiting Karo and Hamer villages to learn more about their daily lives and traditions. Return north as you travel to Arba Minch and explore the stunning waters and birdlife of Lake Chamo, Lake Langano and the Abidjatta-Shala National Park. The final leg then takes you back to Addis via the fascinating archaeological sites of Melka Kunture and the Tiya Stelae.
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ARRIVE ADDIS ABABA
Arrive into Addis Ababa where you will be met by a Wild Frontiers representative and transferred to your hotel. If there’s time, why not explore some of the capital’s highlights, stopping off at the National Museum and the Merkato – the largest market in East Africa. Also visit the church of the Holy Trinity and in the evening try your first taste of Ethiopia’s national dish – injera.
ADDIS ABABA – JINKA
You will fly south today to the spectacular Omo Valley region. On arrival in Jinka, you will have the chance to head out with your guide and visit some of the villages in this fascinating area. It’s also worth visiting the Omo Valley Cultural Museum which is found in Jinka, which will give you a good introduction to the different tribes in this area and how things have developed throughout recent history.
JINKA – MAGO NATIONAL PARK - TURMI
Today you will travel south from Jinka to Turmi, deep in the Omo Valley. En route you can explore the Mago National Park, home to a number of Mursi communities. Once the habitat of huge herds of elephants and buffalo there are still over 100 mammals here including lions, baboons and antelopes. The Mursi are among the most famous of Ethiopia’s ethnic tribes due to the distinctive lip plates worn by their women. There will be an opportunity to visit their villages and learn more about their fascinating way of life before heading south to the town of Turmi, the settlement of the Hamer people.
TURMI: KARO VILLAGE AND DIMEKA MARKET
This morning you will head to Murelle to visit the tribal villages of Kortcho, home to the Karo. Thought to be one of the most endangered of the Omo peoples, with perhaps only 1000-1500 individuals remaining, the Karo are traditionally pastoralists, and are famous for their flamboyant hairstyles and body painting. The men have tight hair buns, paint their bodies with chalk and wear colourful facemasks, while the women dye their hair with ochre. Return to Turmi in the afternoon via the famous Dimeka Market, a great place to see the local Hamer people congregating.
TURMI: OMORATE AND HAMER VILLAGE
This morning set off for the quirky town of Omorate, and visit the Dassanech people, where Bruce Parry of ‘Tribe’ spent some time. This afternoon, spend some time visiting a Hamer village. Thought to be descended from the ancient Egyptians, the Hamer are pastoralists by custom. The women wear thick copper bracelets and create welts on their bodies by cutting themselves and treating the wounds with ash and charcoal. They have become known for their extraordinary Bull Jumping Ceremony where a naked man jumps from the back of one bull on to another as part of an initiation rite.
TURMI – ARBA MINCH
Leaving Turmi head north-east towards Weyto, home to Tsemai and Arbore peoples. These people are mainly farmers and pastoralists, tending to their herds and growing sorghum and maize and supplementing it with honey. From here cross the Weyto Valley and head for Konso. The Konso are known for their tradition of Konso Waga, a warrior worship revolving around the carving of wooden effigies and they have been likened to the Dogon of Mali in this respect. You will have lunch in Konso before continuing two hours north to Arba Minch arriving in the late afternoon.
ARBA MINCH – LAKE CHAMO - LAKE LANGANO
This morning you will embark on a remarkable boat trip on Lake Chamo, known to be amongst the most beautiful in Ethiopia. One can spot many hippos and the world’s most spectacular concentration of giant crocodiles (locally called “Crocodile Market.”) The water birds are substantial and the scenery is truly unforgettable. This afternoon you will then drive north to Lake Langano, in the heart of the Rift Valley.
LAKE LANGANO AND ABIDJATTA-SHALA NATIONAL PARK
Spend the day exploring this beautiful lake area of Abidjatta-Shala National Park and Lake Langano. The area is the ideal place for bird watching as it is surrounded by ancient forest. Out of the many aquatic bird species found on the lakes are the great white pelicans, cormorants, darters, storks, kingfishers, Egyptian geese, fish eagles and many more. There are birds seen in abundance by the lakes, and the ancient forest is also home to starlings, hornbills, weavers, bustards and many more.
LAKE LANGANO – DEPART ADDIS ABABA
Your final day sees you driving north to Addis Ababa, travelling via the fascinating archaeological site of Melka Kunture, a major palaeolithic site located just south of Addis, as well as the mysterious Tiya Stelae, a site of standing stones which boast some remarkable carvings of swords and people, and one whose exact age and purpose many archaeologists have yet to discover. Arrive into Addis late afternoon in time to catch your late evening flight.
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