13-Days South – Lower Omo Valley

Trip Highlights:

  • Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
  • Lake Chamo and the “crocodile market”
  • Jumping of the Bulls Ceremony of the Hamer Tribe
  • The famed Mursi tribe, with their lower lip plates
  • El Sod, where salt is extracted from the muddy depths of the lake
  • National Museum, merkato, Entoto Mountain in Addis Ababa

Trip Itinerary;

Day 1:
International arrival to Ethiopia at Bole International Airport.  Transfer to hotel.  City tour of Addis Ababa including Entoto Mountain (the capital of Ethiopia before Addis Ababa), merkato, said to be Africa’s largest open-air market, and the National Museum (home of Lucy, hominid skeleton dating back 3.2 million years).  In the evening, traditional Ethiopian dinner with cultural music and dance show.  Overnight at Ghion Hotel (4-star).

Day 2:
Depart south from Addis via the Great Rift Valley, stopping on the way at Lake Ziway to visit the bountiful birdlife on the shores of the lake.  Make a final stop at Wondo Genet, the favorite weekend getaway of former Emperor Haile Selassie for a swim in the pool and a shower in the therapeutic hot spring waters.  Overnight in Awassa at Lewi Hotel.

Day 3:
In the morning, visit the fish market on Lake Awassa, and then continue to Arba Minch.  On the way, ascend into the Gughe Mountains to visit the Dorze people, who are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving.  Market days in Dorze village are Mondays and Thursdays and in Chencha on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  After the visit, continue to Arba Minch for overnight at Paradise Lodge.

Day 4:
In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the crocodile market and hippo pods.  After the visit, continue driving to Jinka via Weyto (market day Sunday) and Key Afar (market day Thursday).  Overnight in Jinka at Jinka Resort.

Day 5:
Drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribe, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates.  Afterwards, return to Jinka to visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center for more information about the tribes.  Additionally, Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Jinka, which will be visited.  Overnight in Jinka at Jinka Resort.

Day 6:

Ethiopia Dispatch Hammer people Market Day
Depart from Jinka to Turmi, home of the Hamer people.  On the way, stop in Dimeka for the local market, which is on Tuesdays and Saturday.  This is one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo and is visited by Hamer, Benna, Karo, Tsemai and Ari tribes.  Overnight in Turmi at Buska Lodge.  At night, see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer people, known as Evangadi.

Day 7:
In the morning, drive to Omorate and cross the Omo River by local boat ato visit the Dasennech tribe (also known as Galeb tribe).  Afterwards, return to Turmi and, if there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional Hamer wedding ceremony, it will be visited.  Monday is market day in Turmi.  Overnight in Turmi at Buska Lodge.

Day 8:
Today will be a day trip to visit the people of the Karo tribe.  Depart from Turmi to the villages of Murulle, Kolcho and Dus on the shores of the Omo River.  The Karo people are the smallest in number of all of the tribes of the Omo Valley, and they are known for their elaborate decorations, particularly during local ceremonies.  Return to Turmi for overnight at Buska Lodge.

Buska Lodge Ethiopia

Day 9:
Depart from Turmi to Konso, via Erbore in the Weyto valley.  Friday is market day in Erbore, so if passing on this day, the market will be visited.  Market days in Konso are Mondays and Thursdays.  The Konso people are known for their totems erected in honor of the dead and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques.  Overnight in Konso at Strawberry Fields Ecolodge.

Day 10:
In the morning, visit a local Konso village and the “natural New York village”, which gets its name from the tall sand formations that resemble skyscrapers.  After the visit, proceed driving to Yabello for overnight at Yabello Motel.

Day 11:
After breakfast, continue south from Yabello to the local Borena village of Dublock to visit the singing wells where the locals form chanting chains of people to remove buckets of water from the long channeled openings of the wells.  Afterwards, continue to El Sod, a crater lake where salt is mined from the lake for sale and use throughout Ethiopia.  After the visit, proceed driving to Langano, for overnight at Bishangari Lodge.

Day 12:
In the morning, after a refreshing swim in the lake, depart from Langano to visit the nearby Abiatta-Shala National Park.  Lake Shala is a very deep crater lake (over 260 meters deep!) and Lake Abiatta is a soda lake, which attracts thousands of flamingos.  After the visit, continue back to Addis.  Overnight in Addis Ababa at Ghion Hotel (4-star).

Day 13:
Transfer to airport for international departure.
End of Tour.
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