During this 8-day adventure to the remote sub-saharan southern region of Ethiopia, you'll gain a glimpse into rural, indigenous tribal life meeting the Ari, Banna, Hamar and Konso peoples, rounding up the trip with a delightful day spotting hippos and crocodiles in the waters of Lake Chamo and visit to the Dorze mountain community around Arba Minch in the Gamo highlands.
Day 1 & 2 - Jinka: the Ari or Mursi tribe
Our next stop is Jinka, a fast-developing market town set in a cradle of green hills above Mago National Park which gives the area a cooler climate compared to the rest of the Lower Omo Valley.
The Ari tribe represent the largest population among all groups of the Omo Valley, living around Jinka. Ari are the farmers and one of the most advanced tribes of the valley. They grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, coffee and herbs like cardamom. Visit some farmers houses and experience daily life, like injera cooking or the black smith’s work. From Jinka, we may alternatively visit the Mursi tribe, an ethnic group living around west of Jinka.
The Mursi have a rich cultural heritage and they are most well-known by the outside world for their practice of ceremonial stick fighting and the large pottery discs (‘debhinya’) which are worn by Mursi women in their lower lips. It is not always advisable to visit the Mursi, because it is difficult to really get in touch with the people. We will help you planning which tribes to visit.
Day 3 - To Turmi - Hamar Region
Today you will travel from Jinka to Turmi. We pass through Key Afar, the main town of the Banna tribe. We’ll catch one of the biggest traditional tribal markets which takes place on Thursdays. Groups of Ari, Benna, Tsemay and Hamar people are the main attendees, walking long distances to buy and sell local commodities at the Key Afar market, like tabacco (‘tampo’), coffee husks (‘bunno’) and sorghum (‘asine’). At the catle market men trade cows and goats. As the day progresses, you will also see the popular drink ‘parsee’ – a beloved traditional beer made from fermented sorghum being passed around groups of people in large calabash gourds.
You’ll witness the landscape dramatically change to wild, dry, acacia tree savannah and feel the warmth and humidity rise. You’ll also notice colourful wraps change to animal skins, shoes to rubber sandals, and the diverse fashions of passers-by wearing brightly coloured adornments and fantastic hairstyles. Turmi village lies in the heart of the Hamar tribe region. From here you will explore different tribes in the Lower Omo Valley.
You can best visit the Hamar tribe in the evening, after the work has been done. Therefore, we will take you here just before sunset. You will spend time in the Hamar community with a trained guide and a local family, enjoying the traditional food, drink, delving deeper into rural tribal culture.
Day 4 - The Hamar Tribe
Ancient traditions still form the backbone of daily life in Hamar. Most live in rural settlements and practise traditional livelihoods through subsistence agro-pastoralism. Daily life revolves around taking care of livestock, domestic duties and farming of maize and sorghum. Hamar men are semi-nomadic and travel with large herds of goats and cattle between grazing areas, whereas Hamar women take care of the children, cooking, water and firewood collection.
Ceremonies and rituals are an integral part of traditional Hamar life. The most well-known is a rite of passage for men into adulthood and marriage called ‘ukili bula’ or bull-jump. During the ceremony, a young Hamar man leaps naked over several of his family’s bulls. It’s a highlight to witness if there’s one taking place whilst you’re here.
Day 5 & 6 - Drive to Unesco Konso
On day 9 we will drive from Turmi to Konso. The Konso are a resourceful, efficient, charming, careful, and hard-working people. They have always fiercely defended their territory. This is evident in the fact that each village is walled . They are famous for their wooden anthropomorph statuettes, erected in honor of important - deceased - people. In the Konso language these statuettes are called Waga. You’ll have a chance to walk around the fortress like villages (‘kantas’) with their uniquely designed stone-walled walkways, thatched huts and terraced farms.
Konso is also known for its natural phenomenon "New York" - interesting pinnacles of red earth, reminiscent of city skyscrapers with a legendary tale. On day 10 you will drive from Konso to Arba Minch. Time to relax at the pool in the afternoon!
Day 7 – Nech Sar & Dorze tribe
During today’s action-packed excursion, we visit the nearby scenic Nech Sar National Park . From the park’s edge, we take a motorboat on the lake to see hundreds of huge Nile crocodiles bathing in the sun and hippos bobbing in and out of the water. There are also many pelicans and other birds around the lake.
In the afternoon, we drive into the Gamo highlands outside of Arba Minch, to visit an extraordinary mountain community called Dorze. The traditional way of life of the Dorze people is fascinating. The friendly local community invite you into their beautiful villages to view their huts artfully woven from bamboo and thatched with leaves, which look like huge beehives or upturned baskets, followed by visits to the weaving, pottery and tanning cooperatives. You will also enjoy the breath-taking views of the lakes in the valley.
Day 8 - Relax and flight to Addis Ababa
Today we head back to Addis Ababa by plane. You could shop or make a single final visit in the capital in the afternoon. Or you take a rest in your dayroom in Addis Ababa. You'll be picked up and dropped at the airport.
Thank you for travelling with Yared Tour & Travel!
Covid-19 safety measures during this trip
This trip is recommended by Yared Tour as a covid-19 safe travel experience in Ethiopia. This means that different aspects of the trip have been carefully considered in terms of physical distancing and hygiene standards. Ethiopia is a vast country and the rural areas in particular are sparsely populated.
During this trip you can expect:
- Face masks provided for travellers
- Careful selection of accommodation providers with high hygiene standards
- Driver/guide trained in health and safety, first aid and covid-19 protocols
- Vehicles regularly sanitized
- Social distancing encouraged throughout the trip
- Hand sanitiser provided for travellers and driver/guides
- Temperature checks for travellers upon start of tour
Please read our Covid-19 Measures page for all up-to-date information about covid-19 in Ethiopia.
This price is for two travellers (price per person) based on luxurious accommodation, and gets cheaper the more people that join. We can tailor all trips to your wishes.
You can make this trip as a minimum of 2 people. You'll travel through the country in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle with one of our experienced driver/guides. If you are traveling as a family or group of 5+ we will use a minibus or a second 4x4 vehicle. If you are a group of 4 people you can also opt for a minibus if you'd prefer. If you are a solo traveller, contact us via email@example.com and choose for a tailor-made tour.
4x4 car and fuel
Driver with lots of experience in tourism
All entrances to the mentioned attractions
Government tax and VAT
Water every day
Meals not mentioned (lunch and dinner)
Tips for guides
Extra excursions not mentioned
Budget accommodation includes camping, homestays or local hotels with shared sanitary facilities. Camping is often set in stunning natural locations, Yared takes care of the materials.
Mid-range accommodation in Ethiopia is generally considrered 2-3 star hotels. You will stay in double rooms (double or twin) with their own shower and toilet. This is best value for money.
In Ethiopia, luxury accommodation has everything you’d expect from a high quality hotel in terms of comfort, service and facilities. This option is not available in all parts of Ethiopia.
2. Temperatures in the South can climb up to 40 degrees. Out of respect for the local culture, it is recommended to cover shoulders and knees.
3. Power outages are very common in Ethiopia especially in the countryside. A power bank, portable solar device and flashlight come in handy.