National Geographic magazine has called the Omo Valley “Africa’s last frontier.” Home to approximately 225,000 people, the valley is busting with diversity; there are nine main tribes and many smaller ones all speaking their own language, practicing unique customs and rituals that identify to them only. Life has evolved slowly here as tribes have clung to their life practices while the world around them has changed. Now their beauty and fanciful dress are attracting attention as they welcome you to their villages, interact at local markets and dance with you at nightly rituals.
The following itinerary will be based on the market days at different tribal village towns. So that it gives you a chance to visit as many markets as possible.
Day 1: Sunday
Arrive Addis Ababa international airport meet our staff at exit gate and assist to transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel of your choice.
Day 2. Monday
We spend the day exploring Addis Ababa beginning with a visit to the National Museum, one of the most important sub- Saharan museums in all of Africa. The museum is home to the fossilized humanoid Lucy, as well as an amazing collection of artifacts, royal items and art. We then visit the Ethnological Museum, which was the former palace of Haile Selassie.
After lunch, we take time in St. George Cathedral, built in 1896 by Emperor Menelik and then continue on to Holy Trinity Cathedral. Holy Trinity Cathedral is the largest Orthodox Church in Ethiopia and has survived through many historical periods, as its interesting architecture can attest to. The Cathedral contains the thrones and the tombs of the emperor and some of the royal family. Visit Merkato, the largest open air market in Africa. If time allow have shopping and drive to hotel. At hotel of your choice.
Day 03. Tuesday
A day drive to Arba Minch, the Southern Rift Lakes of Chamo and Abaya adjacent to Nechisar National Park. We stop at the MelkaKunture archeological site and Tiya heritage site to admire the crudely fashioned stone monoliths, that some believe to be ancient grave marks. We stop for lunch at Butajira local restaurant and then precede on the edge of the Rift valley the village of Guraghe, Kambata, Wolayita and if time allow we detour to Dorze peoples traditional weaving. Much important is Enset (false banana) plantation, used for Kocho (food), dominant multipurpose. In the evening enjoy the clear-blue stars of the African sky over fascinating Chamo and Abay Lake.
Overnight Paradise or Swyenes Hotel at Arbaminch Town.
In the morning we drive across the barrier land, the so called ‘BRIDGE OF GOD’, which separate the Chamo and Abaya Lakes. In the park you will see the endemic Swayne Hartebeest, Burchell Zebras, Lesser and Greater Kudus, Grant and Thomson Gazelles and amongst birds; Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Secretary bird and Lesser Kestrel. In the afternoon, boat trip to Lake Chamo to view the Crocodiles, Hippopotamus or we drive to Chencha a Dorze village to admire their cultural weaving and Bamboo and Enset-leaves made house style.
Overnight Paradise or Sweynes Hotel at Arbaminch town.
Day 05.Thursday Key Afer Market
Today we drive further south to the town of Jinka to visit the Konso villages, known for their traditional cluster house style, ritual sites, grave mark Totem known as Waka and traditional terrace farming. After short break at Weyto proceed to Key Afer, you will be able to join in the local weekly Banna and Tsamay market, same a very colourful market that attracts neighboring tribes in the region – the Aris from Jinka, the Tsamay from Weyto and the Hamars from Dimekaareaand are known for their local made showy decorative dressings and bunting hair style as well as dye striped bodies. Attending to this market will allow you to compare the dressing patterns, ornamentation techniques etc. of the various tribes in the area. Afternoon, you will be proceeding to Jinka.OvernightJinka Resort or Orit Hotel at Jinka town.
Day 06. Friday
We drive further south to visit the Mursi Village in Mago Park, and may spot wild games such as Gerenuk, Oribi, Kudu, Hartebeest, Water-buck and many bird species (180 species have been recorded in this Park so far).
The Mursi tribe whose women wear circular clay plate on their lower lip as well ear lobes the men are known for the fierce stick fighting. Afternoon visit Jinkatownfs daily market and Ethnographic Museum that gives a good overview of the Omo Valley people culture and way of life. Overnight Jinka Resort/Orit hotel at Jinka.
Day 07.Dimeka Saturday Market
Today we drive through the fascinating uninterrupted lifestyle of Banna and Hamar communities. Driving further down into the Omo Valley, you will pass the Key Afer town and Proceed Turmi, on the way you will stop by at Dimeka to attend the Saturday market which attracts neighboring tribes from the area like Hammer, Karo and sometimes Dassanech, Further ahead, you will be driving to Turmi, homeland to the hospitable Hamar tribe. Arrival and camping overnight in Turmi at the Keske Campsite.
Day 08. Sunday
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 114 km round trip today we take a day excursion to Omorate to visit the semi-nomadic pastoral Dassanech people at the bank of the Omo River. Embark on an optional dug-out canoe ride across the Omo River to visit a Dassanech village on the other side Or to Karo tribe which set up their beautiful village at edge of Omo River, Karo people are known for their unique body painting. Visit Karo and retrace to Turmi overnight at Keske campsite.
Day 09. Monday Arbore Market
After breakfast we drive east to Yabello on the way, you will have a stop at Arbore, a small settlement of the Arbore tribe here we attend the Monday market which most traveler skip to visit but it worth. The Arbore village set in between Hamar, Banna, Tsamay, Borena and Konso so in this market we will see the congregation of these tribes. The Arbores are settled parallel to Lake Stephanie and at the Northern edge of Buska Mountain chain that extends 96Kms in the Weyto Plains of the Omo Valley. Short break again at Weyto and proceed to Yabello. thecolorful northern Kenyan style dressing of Borena women. Yabello is an important junction town in the middle of red sandstone landscape with many termite mounds, acacia tree thickets, housing several spectacular birds species, notably the charismatic Stresemann’s Bush-crow, White-tailed Swallow, Yellow-necked Francolin, Vulturine Guineafowl and Red-napped Bush-Shrike.
Overnight Yabello Motel at Yabello Town.
Day 10. Tuesday
Today we drive to Aregash Lodge enjoying the breathtaking landscape of organic coffee plantation along the highway. Many stops for Oromo, Gedeo and Sidama countryside people traditional lifestyle. Arrive at the Aregash Lodge and Check in the lodge after short break for those who wish to there will be a pleasant walk through the coffee forest in the compound and in nearby Sidama village, we may search the grounds for bird species such as Great Sparrow hawk, African Hawk-eagle, Tambourine Dove, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Mountain Thrush, Battis, Shrikes and more.
Overnight Aregash Eco-lodge.
After breakfast we drive back to Addis Ababa via Rift Lakes Langano and Ziway to see the breeding/roosting grounds of Pelicans and Flamingos. It is also an interesting habitat for migratory birds from Europe and Asia.
Arriving in Addis Abba and you will have traditional dinner then transfer to the airport for your evening departure.