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
- Thorough cleaning of camping materials and tents
- 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.
Day 1 & 2 - Jinka: the Ari community
Our first 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. Fly direct from Addis Ababa to Jinka.
The Ari community 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. On Saturdays there is a local market where you can smell and taste the local products.
Day 2 & 3 - Via Key Afar & Banna community to Turmi - Hamar Region
This afternoon you will travel from Jinka to Turmi. We pass through Key Afar, the main town of the Banna community. 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 come across 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 that the colourful wraps change to animal skins, shoes to rubber sandals, and the diverse fashion of people wearing brightly coloured adornments and fantastic hairstyles. Turmi village lies in the heart of the Hamar community region. From here you will explore different communities in the Lower Omo Valley.
Tonight you will spend the night in a pleasant lodge in Turmi. This way you can prepare yourself for the multi-day trek.
On Mondays it is market day in Turmi. If this is part of your trip, we will visit this market.
Day 4: Hike to Dega Keja village and overnight camping
Today’s long walk requires a dawn start to head off the hot lowland sun. After breakfast, we drive on a dirt road from Mango campsite to Arkala village (1 hour) which is the starting point of your hike. From the drop-off point, we will meet our community scout/muleteer and mules to carry our gear as the rest of the route is only accessible by foot. Today’s walk is around 20km, as we steadily ascend, the climate and temperature changes to a comfortable coolness. We walk slowly so that our Hamar guide can point out different flora and fauna.
Along the way we will stop at a Hamar homestead for a refreshing bunno. The popular Hamar drink is brewed from coffee husks and served in a home-grown calabash gourd. Whilst quenching our thirst, you will learn about the traditional coffee blessing ritual performed by village elders.
The trail path is a mixture of gravel with sand becoming rockier through the mountains as we reach our village and camping ground on a hillside. The meaning of the village is directly translated as ‘highland cold’ so in the evening after dinner, you will wrap up warm in blankets under the stars and listen to traditional storytelling, usually with plenty of laughter coming from surrounding homesteads.
Walking time: 6 hours
Difficulty rating: moderate/difficult in parts
Day 5: Hike to Kufri village, forest visit & overnight camping
The day begins with a morning bunno blessing and after breakfast you will climb the highest peak of a nearby mountain which connects Hamar with neighbouring Arbore for breath-taking panoramic views.
After this we hike along the mountain ridge and deeper into traditional tribal life. Here there is very little trace of the outside world. The 6-7 hour hike takes us through woodlands and farmland. The higher we go, you are rewarded with sweeping views of lush, green highlands rolling into huge valleys.
We arrive at our camping ground in the picturesque village of Kufri. Tonight, you will relax with the local community, partake in domestic duties such as goat milking and grinding flour before sampling traditional Hamar cuisine for dinner.
Walking time: 6 hours
Difficulty rating: moderate/difficult in parts
Day 6: Hike to Buska village and travel back to Turmi
To reach the remote Buska community, we set-off on a pleasant 22km hike through hilltop meadows and forests enjoying rustic scenery along the way.
Today, You will learn more about the fascinating history of Amahara merchants who traded in the highlands, remembered today only by large ancient stone graves in the forest. You will notice that crops are more abundant here, in the afternoon, you will explore the local area, visiting a traditional Hamar family and farming land in surrounding hillsides.Today’s special treat is watching traditional beehives being made (seasonal). Hamar men are skilled in making beehives and are responsible for raising them into acacia trees and smoking out bees to retrieve honey. Depending on the season, you will also have a chance to sample organic Hamar honey which is fruity and often pink in colour. Alternatively, you will spend some time exploring the Buska forest.
In the late afternoon, you will be picked up in Buska and driven back to the lodge in Turmi. If possible, we visit a traditional Hamar market (depending on the day) where Hamar people trade livestock, honey, tobacco, and socialise over large calabashes of sorghum beer.
Walking time: 6-7 hours
Difficulty rating: intermediate
Day 7 - 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!
EXTENSION OPTION - Relax in Arba Minch
Do you have more time to discover the Omo valley? Then you could stay an extra day
So you can go to Arba Minch to discover the beautiful city.
How are the hikes organized?
Small group treks
Our small group Hamar treks are point-to-point meaning that you’ll be walking from one place to another. The minimum duration of a small group trek is 3 days and the maximum length is 7 days, depending on the group’s combined interest. Small group treks are organised every month (see dates below), and available to join-in and share the costs with others (maximum group size is 8 people, minimum size is 2.
Tailor-made Hamar treks can be tweaked to suit your interests and timeframe, allowing you to go at your own pace on the trail and choose the number of days you want to spend on your feet. For example, you can take it easy with a gentle walk through the mountains for 2 days, or spend a full-blown week mixing both physical activity with time immersing in cultural, community and farming activities.
About the hike
When can I do this trek?
It is possible to trek all year-round in Hamar and there are different things going on depending on the season. The driest months of the year are from December-March and June-September and it’s typically wetter in April-May and October-November.
How fit do I need to be?
For walking in Hamar, you should be pretty fit. Although it is not high altitude (highest elevation Buska Mountains 1800m above sea level), the landscape has steep ascents and descents in places. Tailor-made treks range from 2 up to 7 days so there’s plenty choice when it comes to how active you want to be. You will be spending 6-7 hours a day walking through forest and farmland on relatively well-defined paths, daily distances of up to 20km.
How do I get there?
If joining a small group trek, the quickest and easiest way to arrive in Hamar is by domestic flight to Jinka Airport and there are daily flights (apart from Saturday). Once in Jinka, there are different transport options for reaching Turmi depending on your budget, timeframe and preference. We can arrange a private transfer from Jinka airport to Turmi. You can also travel to Turmi by local buses . These run almost daily early in the morning from Jinka bus station so it's best to spend one night in Jinka and set-off the following morning. Just let us know which option suits you better and we'll assist with the arrangements. This is not included in the package price .