Ethiopia, Journey to the Land of Origins
Along the African Rift Valley to meet the last Omo Valley Tribes
This a journey out of the modern world into one of the last great tribal regions left in the world. We will follow the Great Africa Rift and its numerous lakes populated by hippos, crocodiles, pink flamingos and amazing birdlife until Lower Omo Valley. A travel experience through visually stunning landscapes, ranging from mountains to savannah.
Living in isolation, a vast number of tribal groups are within driving distance of one another. Each tribe has its own unique language, clothing, hairstyle and bodily ornamentation. Lifestyle has barely changed since centuries. People still live in simple makeshift huts, dress with animal skins and drink from calabashes. At the villages, we will have time to discover each other with respect as there is so much more individual beauty to be found beyond our cultural differences. We will search out the numerous markets, as the market is not only a place for buying and selling, but for gatherings between tribes and socializing.
This trip is about connecting with the people – with the tribes – whose traditions are being tested by a fast-changing world, while simultaneously experiencing ancient and beautiful cultures that may not be here in the near future.
DAY 1 Addis Abeba to Ziway Lake
Arrival at Addis Abeba airport. Meeting with your guide and welcoming breakfast with your first Ethiopian coffee from the Land of Origins.
Drive along the Great Rift Valley, that great tectonic fault line which cuts across East Africa. Superb panorama over the valley dotted with numerous lakes perfect for boat tour. Visit Ziway lake to see hippos as well as birds - marabouts, cormorants, ibis, herons - all live here. Overnight Ziway, Hailé Resort or similar.
DAY 2 Africa Great Rift Valley
Today we take the road to the southern fertile lands with their fields of bananas, cereals and tobacco, crossing the territories of Weilayta, Sodo and Alaba. The Alaba people, mostly Muslim, live in the Rift
Valley, southwest of Lake Shalla. Despite a very modest lifestyle, all their homes are decorated with paintings depicting local life and peoples hopes. Visit to a village with its traditionally decorated, round thatched houses.
Arrive at Arba Minch, bordered by verdant mountains and home to two of Ethiopia’s largest Rift Valley lakes. Chamo and Abaya Lakes are divided by the lyrical ‘Bridge of God’. Arba Minch marks the
border between two worlds. Beyond, you enter into the territories of the Omo Valley tribes. Overnight Arba Minch, Hailé resort or similar.
DAY 3 Chamo Lake and Konso Tribes
Boat trip on Chamo Lake, where the biggest crocodiles live with hippos and a wide variety of birds. We will drive to the Konso Territories in a landscape of gentle hills. Visit to Konso fortified
villages. These walled hilltop settlements can only be reached via a limited number of steep footpaths. The Konso celebrate brave men by unique carved sculptures called Wagas. Featuring the hero, his wives and the enemy he defeated they are on public display in the villages. Overnight Konso, Korbeta Lodge or similar.
DAY 4 Meeting at the Tribal Markets
Visit to Dokatu Market, 2 km west of Konso. From its hilltop location, it offers great views over the Rift Valley. In the market, you will find crops, along with traditional skirts, cheka (local beer) and Etan (incense). The weekly Key Afar market is next. It's one of the most colourful markets, visited by Hamer, Benna, Tsemai and Ari tribes.
We continue through bushy savannah to the small town of Jinka. The Ari tribe that live here benefit from this green and fertile
region that allows them to cultivate cereals, coffee and fruits. They also harvest honey, which is often used as a bargaining tool. Their homes are decorated with beautiful murals made by the women.
Overnight Jinka, Eco Omo lodge or similar.
DAY 5 Mago National Park and the Mursi tribes
Today we'll first see Mago National Park where Bushbuck, Dik Dik, Baboons and Colobus monkeys can be seen. Then we drive to the Mursi tribe, known for body scarification and women wearing lip plates. Stop at the South Omo Museum and Research Center for more information about the tribes. Our road runs through a dry and wild environment, where extensive stockbreeding predominates. Turmi, a little town, is a Hamer tribe stronghold. The semi-nomadic pastoralists subsist on cattle breeding and cultivation of sorghum, millet, tobacco and cotton. Overnight Turmi Lodge or similar.
ABOUT YOUR HOST ANNA TESHU
I was born in Brussels, Belgium. My mother tongue is French and I speak fluent English. I speak also some Spanish, Dutch and German. I love traveling and meeting people from all around the world - so far I have travelled over 60 countries. As travel photographer, I produce work for magazines and have been featured in several travel guide books.
My very sociable, easygoing, Ethiopian husband was born in the village of Tiss Abay (which means Nile Smokes) just beside the Blue Nile Falls. He studied Tourism and has worked as tourist guide and travel agent for many years showing guests the best of Ethiopia. His mother tongue is Amharic but he speaks fluent English and French and some Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and German.
We are interested in giving people a true in-depth experience of Ethiopia and share our local knowledge of the land, animals and people.
Both of us are dedicated to develop responsible and community based tourism to benefit local communities and particularly helping local children to get a bright future. Part of this is our dedicated children's meal program we started and support.
Travel to Ethiopia is a life-time experience!
DAY 6 Hamer Tribes
Visit to the Dimeka market where a vast selection of wares are on display. Besides the various grains there are hair-colouring soils decorated calabashes, traditional musical instruments and jewellery. The market also has a wide selection of modern plastic objects, like buckets and brooms.
Next we will explore a Hamer village. These warm-hearted people have a simple a lifestyle using materials made with ox hides, pottery, metal, calabashes and millstones. Work activity is widely devoted to the care of their herds. Livestock is a key element of Hamer life with each boy given name from cattle at birth. Naked to the waist, women cover their hips with cowhides encrusted with coloured beads and shells. The women wear a hairstyle skillfully braided and coated with butter and red earth. Overnight Turmi Lodge or similar
Day 7 Omorate – Dasanetch Tribes
Close to the Kenyan border, this far-from-the-world tribe takes advantage of the fertile and loamy lands of the Omo River Delta to grow sorghum. The low valley of the Omo is a major prehistoric site
(World Heritage by Unesco), where fossils of hominids have been discovered. These were of essential importance for the study of human evolution. After driving to Omorate, we will cross the Omo River by canoe to visit a Dasanetch village. Consisting of small huts made of branches, sheets and skins of animals, the Dassanetch people practice flood retreat cultivation, pastoralism and fishing.
Overnight Turmi Lodge or similar.
DAY 8 Dorze Tribes
Visit the large Hamer market of Turmi with its vegetables stalls, spices, butter and milk. Traditional items are sold too, such as incised gourds, head stools, metal bracelets and goatskin decorated with pearls and shells.
After the market drive to Gughe Mountain chain entering into the territory of the Dorze tribes. Their beehive- shaped houses are among the most distinctive traditional structures to be seen
anywhere in Africa. Visit the village and experience Kocho staple food preparation, cotton weaving and their daily activities.
Overnight Dorze Lodge or similar.
DAY 9 Sidamo and Rift Valley Lakes
Explore the Dorze market where women trade fruits, vegetables, spices, clothes, scarves, fabrics and tobacco, while the men meet around Araki, a local alcohol, reputed to be the best one.
Next we drive to Awassa, the capital of the Sidamo region, famous for its coffee. Walk by the lake frequented by marabouts and see the Amor Gedel Park with its monkeys.
Overnight Sabanah Lodge or similar.
Day 10 Abiata and Shalla Lakes National Park
Visit to the Abiata and Shalla Lakes National Park to watch the Pink Flamingo colonies gathered around the crater lakes. Later, relax at a resort on Langano Lake. Overnight Sabanah Lodge or similar.
Day 11 Addis Abeba, the "New Flower"
Sightseeing day in the booming capital Addis Abeba including the visit to the National Museum to see our ancestor Skeleton Lucy. Explore Trinity church where the emperor Hailé Sélassié rests, followed by Merkato, the biggest open-air market in Africa.
• Private car with driver
• Accommodations in hotel with included breakfast (single room)
• All meals with non-alcoholic drinks
• Local English speaking guide
• Entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the program
• Boat tour on Chamo and Ziway Lake
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
• Visa fees
• International flight
• Tips, photo or video fees
What our guests say:
"We came back very satisfied with our trip to Ethiopia and your services. Dawitt is a young but very careful, very considerate driver that we really appreciated. We also thank you for having strongly advised us to take the Danakil excursion despite our age, it was a wonder" Christiane, France, 2018