13 Days Culture tour itinerary for ethiopia: Meet Different Ethiopian Tribes In Omo Valley
Addis Ababa, Alaba Kulito, Arba Minch, Awassa, Bale Mountains National Park, Butajira, Chencha, Jinka, Konso, Mago National Park, Omo National Park, Soddo, Tiya, Yabelo, Hamer
Travel through the only place on earth where you will find different ethnic groups living in a way people lived centuries ago; people who are oblivious to the outside world and yet happy the way they are! More so, witness a dramatic landscape full of wildlife and stunning beauty.
Addis Ababa- Arba Minch
Depart by surface from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch.
Go past the towns of Tiya (stele field - world heritage site), Butajira, Alaba, and Soddo, respectively.
Somewhere along the road, have lunch at a local restaurant.
Proceed further south and get to the city of Arba Minch.
Overnight stay at the hotel of choice (there is a range of hotels and lodges to choose from) in Arba Minch.
After breakfast, climb the Chencha hills to visit the Dorze ethnic group (one among more than 50 or more different ethnic groups of the south nations and nationalities region), who are known for their beehive like huts, their skill at weaving cotton, and and the elaboration of “enssete” plants (false bananas).
After visiting one of their villages, look how they prepare their bread out of the enssete plants and taste a meal made of the said plant.
Drive back to the city for a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants that serve fish as the main dish caught from either Abaya or Chamo lakes, which are located on either side of the city.
After lunch, get closer to one of the lakes, preferably chamo, for an excursion by boat to see the diverse fauna that inhabits it.
One of the main attractions here are the Nile crocodiles (among the biggest in Africa ) that swarm the lake, and of course the mighty hippos as well that look at visitors with a menacing glance.
The lake also offers lots of diversity of birds as well, including pelicans, the huge marabous, and the beautiful African fish eagle either flying overhead or posing on top of any dry tree on the shores.
At sunset, drive back to the hotel of choice for overnight stay.
After breakfast, continue the drive further south with first stop at Konso. These ethnic groups are famous for their stone-walled villages, terrace gardening, and mixed agriculture, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Have lunch, overlooking the spectacular landscape of the area, and set out to the town of Turmi, which is used as a stepping point to explore the numerous nomadic pastoralists and hunters who live the area.
Overnight stay at a lodge of choice.
Set out by car to come in closer contact with the Dassanetch tribe and the mighty Omo river, one of the 14 big rivers of Ethiopia.
The Dassanetch are pastoralists known for their skill at hunting and fishing on the river.
Upon arriving at the town of Omorate, get in touch with the awesome river, crossing it by one of the many canoes that swarm it.
Reach the other side of Omo, and walk for a while to reach one of its villages.
After staying for a while, return to Turmi the same way back.
Have lunch and rest for a while to avoid the scorching sun and wait till the Hamer tribesmen come back to their villages after herding the cattle or a hunting spree.
Drive a few kilometers to visit one of the villages.
After getting to know these cattle herders, return to camp at sunset.
Drive to Jinka town with many stops to take pictures and stroll among the tribesmen.
On the way, depending on the day, come across one of the various colorful markets that take place once a week in each town.
Stay at a resort or hotel of choice.
Mago National Park
Early in the morning, drive to visit the world famous Mursi tribesmen. known for the lip-plates of its women and body scarification of its men. These warriors live on the other side of Mago National Park, and one needs to cross the park to get to them.
Get an opportunity to see some game along the way.
After the visit to a Mursi village, drive back to the town of Jinka and have lunch.
Later on, visit the Ari ethnic group or the town’s museum.
Overnight stay at the same hotel or lodge of the previous night.
After breakfast, drive to Yabelo town through a breath-taking landscape of the Borena ethnic group. These nomadic tribesmen are cattle herders and are notorious for their ritual of “geda”, which is considered one of the oldest democracies in the world. The geda system involves age grading members of the tribe to assign each one a certain duty to perform for the society.
Arrive at the town and stay at Yabelo motel.
Follow the road to the Kenyan border and make a detour to “chew bet”, a crater lake from which the locals extract different types of salts, be it for human consumption or for the cows.
Descend to the bottom of the lake that lays in the middle of the crater and see how the tribal people dive in the lake to extract the salt and mount it on their donkey’s back to take it to the nearby market, where it is sold to the highest bidder.
Drive deep down the bush, witnessing antelopes that graze the grassland, to get to the “singing well”. Each well is up to 15 meters deep, and used to store precious water needed for cattle during dry seasons. The wells are called so because the youngsters that extract it, sing a popular song in unison to keep their morals high.
Drive back to Yabelo motel.
In the morning, take the road towards Hawassa city, the capital of all these ethnic groups.
On the way, stop at one of the diverse camel markets, sprawled in many towns on the route, and stroll at any coffee plantation that abounds the area.
Overnight stay at Aregash lodge. The lodge is a comfortable one located in the outskirts of the town, amidst a dense forest.
Bale Mountains National Park
Drive to the little visited, but spectacular Bale Mountains National Park. This beautiful park besides having a spectacular landscape and environment, is home to many wild animals such as the rare Ethiopian red wolf, mountain nyala and menelik’s bush bucks, all endemic to Ethiopia.
Stay at a local pension in Dinsho or a hotel in Goba as per choice.
After breakfast, drive to the interior of the park and ascend to the “sennete” plateau, situated at 4 000 mts high above see level. Spot red wolf, sniffing the numerous holes in the ground looking for his meal. On top of the plateau, the giant lobelia stands tall among the shrubs. In the middle of it, “Tullu Dimtu”, the 4th highest peak in Ethiopia and the tallest mountain of the area stands proud.
Climb to the peak and admire the infinite landscape that lays below.
After making the most of the climb, descend, and drive to the other end of it, where another breathtaking scenery is situated, the “Harrena forest”.
Have lunch at the cliff overlooking the never-ending forest.
Drive downhill, passing through a few hut villages, and stop in the middle of nowhere.
Dismount the car and trek for about 30 minutes through one of the most soothing landscapes of all Ethiopia amidst different tropical forest vegetation like the hagenia abyssinica or erica arborea (both endemic to Ethiopia). See monkeys like colobus and that of Bales.
After some time, drive back to Dinsho for overnight at any of the pensions.
In the morning, go on a horse ride on the gey-say grasslands to get a closer glimpse of mountain nyalas and other types of antelopes that graze the lush green grasses. (3 hours)
Drive to Hawassa city.
Stay at lake view or any other hotel for the night.
After breakfast, visit the fish market of the city, which takes place every morning at the shores of the Hawassa lake.
See how the fishermen dissect fishes, and trade their catches with the hoteliers and restaurant owners of Hawassa.
Spot pelicans and marabou birds fight to get some scavenges left by the fishermen.
Drive north and get to the capital city of the country, but by a different gate, which is the east one.
Transfer to hotel, and later, if flight time permits, go for a shopping spree.
Later, transfer to Bole international airport or any other place of choice for drop off.
End of tour.
A 4 wheel drive all the way, including fuel and driver.
Hotel or tent or lodge accommodation.
Meals outside of Addis Ababa.
Entrance fees to all sites specified in the itinerary.
Accompanying guide's fee.
Excursion by boat on lake Chamo.
Horse riding on Bale mountains.
Flight ticket; be it domestic or international flights.
Photo and video fees.
Lunch and dinner in Addis Ababa.
Anything else not specified as included.
The price of this tour differs substantially depending on the number of the members and of course on their choice of accommodation. This detail can be discussed later.
This itinerary is subject to change per clients request and can be ratified according to important events like; bull jumping ceremony, market days, or any other attraction which might be of interest to the client.