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Southe Omo Cultural Route

Package Details

Tour Code: FTE-SOCT 03
Transportation: Surface drive 4x4
Tour starts: Addis Ababa
Tour ends: Addis Ababa

Day 01:

Addis Abeba is the third highest capital of the world on an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with on its background the green with eucalyptus trees covered mountains and a pleasant climate. The city is founded in 1886 by king Menelik and Queen Taitu. Today we make a tour through the most interesting parts of the city and you we visit to the National Museum (with the famous skeleton of one of our oldest ancestors Lucy) or the beautiful ethnological museum. To see one of the colorful wall paintings covered cathedrals is a must. Our diner is accompanied by the surprising dynamic traditional Ethiopian dances and music.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in a selected hotel in Addis Abeba.

Day 02:Drive to Aregash Lodge Yirgalem

We start our trip to the south and drive through the Rift Valley, a giant crack on earth surface from Syria to Mozambique. En route we pass four of the seven beautiful Rift Valley lakes. Lake Ziway has a nice place for bird watching. In Hawassa you can eat lunch at the shores of the lake in the new Lewi Resort and Spa or in Haile Resort (which is rather expensive) and take a look in the city. Hereafter we drive to the beautiful Aregash lodge. It is good to arrive in time (15.00 h.) to enjoy the beautiful lodge and surrounding. After in check you can make a walk to a nearby Sidama settlement with a locale guide. You visit one of the huts and the housewife shows you how flour is prepared from the stem of the Enset (false banana) tree.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in Aregash lodge.

Day 03: Drive to Yabelo

We drive further southward on the asphalt road to the Kenyan border passing the area of the Sidama and Gedeo people. The hills and mountains are intensively cultivated in this densely populated area. Everywhere you see the beautiful round huts, surrounded by coffee shrubs, sugar cane and enset (false banana) trees. After having passed Agere Maryam, the landscape changes into the barren acacia shrub of the Southern Rift Valley. Also the people are different: we enter the area of the semi-nomadic Borena tribe and we see already small flocks of camels with their Borena owners here and there. In afternoon we visit the “singing wells” of the Borena’s and the ‘Chew Bet’ Crater Lake were salt is extracted from the black mud. “singing wells” of the Borena’s and a crater lake were salt is extracted from the black mud.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in motel in Yabelo.

Day 04:Drive to Konso

Now we leave the asphalt road and continue driving on rough roads. We are entering the “wilderness” with only a few Lorries or land cruisers passing and around us the silence and sounds of pastoral life. The mountains and hills are only covered with bushes and some scattered trees with varied views and panorama’s. En route we visit a Borena village. Approaching Konso we see the ingenious way of terracing the steep slopes for the cultivation of sorghum and other grains. Thus the Konso have survived in a rather dry and infertile environment, using to the utmost what they have. In afternoon we visit Dekatu, one of the beautiful, with stone wall surrounded villages of the Konso. We also see the natural wonder “New York”: huge sand pillars formed through ages by rain and erosion. If the guests like, they can also visit the Konso Chief (Optional)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in Kanta lodge Konso

Day 05:Drive to Jinka

A mountainous route with magnificent views into the Weyto Valley leads to Jinka. We pass the territories of the Tsemai and Banna tribes and visit their villages. And make a coffeestop in Weyto to meet the Tsemai people. The Tsemai resemble the Ari but they speak a language which is similar to Arebore with whom they also have social connections. They intermarry frequently with the Hamer. The Banna are agriculturalists and practice flood-cultivation but they also like hunting. When a man has killed a wild animal they make a big feast and the hero is decorated with clay-paintings. In the little town of Key-Afer we visit the very colourful regional market were Ari, Tsemai and Banna people sell their agricultural and handmade products. The Ari are living in and around Jinka and grow sorghum, maize and enset in the fertile highlands of Jinka area.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in Jinka Resort hotel or Goh hotel.

Day 06: Jinka

Visit Mursi area via a track through the wilderness we drive into the Mago National Park. This scenic beautiful park had once a wealth of wildlife but due to the still existing hunting practices of the different tribes nowadays you very seldom see an elephant, buffalo or lion. Most tourists only cross the park for a visit to the famous Mursi tribe and so we do. On our way we can observe lewlew’s hartebeests, gerenuk, dikdik (small antelope) or kudu. After having crossed a savannah plain you reach the Mursi area. The Mursi are well known for the big clay plates the women bear in their lower lip and ear. Although the origin of this custom is unknown it is considered as a sign of beauty and wealth: the greater the lip plate the wealthier the woman so the more attractive for marriage. Once a year it is time for furious stick fighting among the men where they can prove their strength and masculinity. Try to visit a more remote village and to stay until late afternoon instead of spending only a short moment (click, click, only for photo’s) in the tourist spoiled villages such as Bella where the people are rather aggressive and money minded.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay on Mago National Park campsite.

Day 07: Drive to kolicho

From the Mago National Park we drive on a track through a wilderness of dense bush, savanne and grass land to Murille. Here you really get the “far away from civilized world” feeling, being alone with nature and Karo or Hamer men wandering about with their cattle or enthusiastically greeted by the girls, clothed in their ornamented goat skin skirts with iron bracelets around their arms and necks. The small Dikdiks are jumping away in front of the car and in the distance you see herds of gazelles or oryx. We visit Karo village Kolcho on a hilltop near the Omo River. The Karo are related to the Hamer and masters in body painting with white chalk for dance, feast or celebration.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay at Kolcho campsite.

NB: If the track through Mago NP is impassible, we drive via Jinka and Dimeka to Kolcho.

Day 08: Kolicho

A raft brings us to the other side of the Omo River for a visit to the Nyangatom tribe. They are great warmongers and at war with almost everyone. Men as well as women use body scarifications for cosmetic purposes, tribal identification and indications of prowess in battle.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay again at Kolcho campsite

Day 09: Drive to Turmi

We continue on the track through the wilderness of the Omo valley to the Dassanech (or Galeb) who are living on the other side of the Omo river. To reach their village we have to cross the river in a canoe which is made of a hollow tree. Also these people are semi-nomads and their housing is very simple. The women insert their lower lip with at the end a little iron plate. The little girls try to imitate this with a small leaf of a tree and want you to make a photo of them. Our next goal is Turmi, in the heart of the Hamer territory. The friendly Hamer people are well known for the remarkable body decoration and special hair style of the women. After having killed an enemy or wild animal the men are decorated with a clay-cap, painted in different colours and the feather of an ostrich.Late afternoon visit a Hamer village and if the guests want, see the evangadi (Hamer dance) which is /Optional/
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in on Turmi Kaske campsite

 

Day 10: 

Today early morning, if the guests like, they can make a walking trip with a local guide to more remote villages which are difficult to reach by car. Or visit a village by car. Hereafter visit the regional market in Dimeka where Hamer, Arebore and Karo sell their products. These markets are one of the best places to make pictures.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay again on Kaske campsite

 

Day 11: Drive back to Arbaminch

Via an Arebore village and Konso we leave the Omo valley and proceed in northern direction to Arba Minch. En route visit the Arebore village. This town is beautiful situated near two of the most scenic Rift Valley lakes: Chamo and Abya. In the dense forest near our hotel are fourty springs after which Arba Minch is named. From your bungalow at Paradise lodge you can enjoy a splendid view on both lakes.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in Paradise lodge Armanich

Day 12: Armabminch

In the morning make a boat trip on lake Chamo where the longest and fattest crocodiles of Africa take a sunbath on the shores. Hippo’s hide themselves under the water and we see also colonies of pelicans. Here after the boat brings us to one of the most scenic National Parks of East-Africa: Nech Sar National Park. Here we can see the Burchell's zebra's, antelopes, Grant's gazelles, colobus monkeys and different bird species while making a walking trip of 3 hours on the savannah plain.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in Paradise lodge Arbaminch.

Day 13: Drive to Langano

Early in the morning we ascend several hundreds of meters into the mountains to visit a compound of the Dorze people. They are famous for constructing distinguished bee heeve shaped huts, terrace cultivation and the best weaving work of Ethiopia. On our route to Lake Langano we enjoy the green, mountainous landscape of the Wolayta people who are farmers. They even cultivate the sometimes steep slopes which unfortunately causes erosion. On our right hand we have beautiful vistas to Lake Abya which is the biggest lake of the Rift Valley with a length of 90 km. We also pass Shashemene where we can visit the community of the Rastafari’s. Emperor Haileselassie, who is considered by the Rasta’s as a kind of messiah- provided them a piece of land here to give opportunity to the descendants of Africans who were once sold as slaves to return to their African home and start a new life. At the shores of Lake Langano we can relax on the beach, swim, climb the rocks and/or make a water bike, motorboat or horse trip.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transportation: 4x4 Air-conditioned vehicles
Accommodation: Overnight stay in a selected hotel or lodge on the shores of lake Langano.

Day 14: Drive back to Addis Ababa

We return back to Addis Abeba Ziway, Modjo and Debre Zeit or take the alternative quiet asphalt road via Butajira to visit the Tiya stellae field with its 600 years old stellae (a UNESCO world heritage site) and Adadi Maryam Church which is the only rock hewn church south of Addis Abeba. (Optional excursions) and you can rest in a dayroom of the hotel for the night-flight back home.

Item package intro

  • Package Duration: 14 Days & 13 Nights
  • Destination: Addis Ababa - Aregash Lodge Yirgalem - Yabelo - Konso - Jinka - kolicho - Turmi - Arbaminch - Langano - Addis Ababa

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