12 DAYS TO LOWER OMO VALLEY TRIBES & HARAR
This private tour to Lower Omo Valley tribes and Harar covers southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia. Southern Ethiopia is home to 56 different ethnicities. In this tour, we dive into the culture and traditions of different fascinating ethnic tribes in the lower Omo valley.
In the Eastern part of Ethiopia, we travel to Harar, an old town registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Harar is a walled city known for its colorful markets and vibrant culture. In this tour, we have the chance to interact and get to know the people and culture of Ethiopians through a visit to family in a village and enjoy the typical coffee ceremony. In addition, we do a short boat ride and hike at the Nechisar National Park and game drive in Awash National Park.
Details of the Tour
Tour Catagory: Culture & Tradition
Tour Code: CT01
Tour Duration: 12 Days
Price: From 2,250 € / person
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR
– Homestay and cultural hike in Dorze Village
– Boat trip on Lake Chamo and zebras in Nechisar National Park
– Meet fascinating Tribes of Lower Omo Valley
– Game Drive in Awash National Park
– Colorful market and vibrant culture of the walled town of Harar
– Hyena feeding in Harar
THE TOUR IN PICTURES
Where do we start the tour?
We start our tour to Ethiopia from Addis Ababa, commonly referred ‘Addis.’ Addis lies at an altitude of about 2,300 meters above sea level. This elevation gives the ‘Political Capital of Africa’ an enjoyable & welcoming weather. Addis offers a lot to visitors – including Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, the National Museum where oldest human fossils are collected and exhibited, the Ethnological museum where we can get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia’s many tribal groups, and the Entoto Mountains which gives a stunning view of the city. Addis also offers excellent artworks and musical shows.
Meeting Place – Hotel in Addis Ababa
We meet the small group at a hotel in Addis Ababa a day before the tour starts. If you need airport transfers and hotel room before the tour starts, please let us know. We will arrange everything you need in Addis. Details of the meeting place and contacts of our tour leader and driver will be given once you book the tour. We assume you visit Addis Ababa by yourselves either a day before or after the tour. We can also arrange it on request or provide recommendations.
Day 01 – Visit and homestay in a Dorze village
We take a short flight to Arba Minch (approximately 50 min). Upon Arrival, we drive a 45 km into a mountain village of the Dorze. We enjoy a view of Abaya and Chamo lakes from the hills. The Dorze people are known for their cotton weaving and beehive-shaped houses. Enset or the “false banana” plays a major role in the life of the Dorze people. Enset is the staple food of Dorze. They use the root of Enset for food and its leaf for house construction.
We spend the night with the Dorze people and gain an insight into their culture. They cook their traditional dinner for us. We can also practice making their food. After dinner, we go to a local rural bar to enjoy honey wine locally called “tej.”
Overnight in small and simple beehive-shaped houses.
Day 02 – Dorze Cultural Hike
After breakfast, we take a hike (approx. 3 h) through the villages of the Dorze people. The trail leads through mystical forests with clean air and many villages to a waterfall. We also visit some of the villages with a weaving tradition.
In the afternoon drive to Konso (135 km) and have a relaxed afternoon.
Overnight in a hotel
Day 03 – Konso and Jinka
Our tour in southern Ethiopia continues to Konso. The Konso people have adapted their lifestyle perfectly to their natural environment. They constructed a terrific terrace and managed to farm on the hills. Their terracing style is one of the UNESCO registered World Heritage Site. The terraces protect against flooding as well as damage from cattle. We visit the local museum and burial markers of the Konso heads called “Waga.”
Late afternoon we drive to Jinka (130 km).
Overnight stay – Hotel in Jinka
Day 04 – Mago National Park and visit the Mursi Tribe
Today we drive through Mago national park and visit the Mursi tribes. The Mursi are known for their lip plates. The Mursi women get a small cut on the lower lip, and stretch it with wooden pens and later clay plate. Mursi women also decorate themselves with plates on ears and other piercings.
Overnight stay – Hotel in Jinka
Day 05 – Hamer Tribe
Today’s trip will take us to Turmi, home of Hamer tribes of Ethiopia. They are probably the most famous tribes in Ethiopia with their hairstyles. On our way to Turmi, we visit a colorful weekly market in Key Afer. In this market, we observe the trade between different tribes. Bena, Ari, and Tsemay tribes come to this market to buy and sell ornaments, fabrics, and other goods.
After lunch, we visit a village of the Hamer people. The Hamer girls traditionally “dye” their hair with clay. Hamer boys should also do bull jumping as a prerequisite to an adult life.
Overnight in a lodge
Day 06 – Excursion to Omorate
We drive 70 km south of Turmi to meet Dassanech people. Dassanech people live on the bank of Omo River. We have to cross Omo River with small wooden boats to visit Dassanech village. In the village, we visit houses of Dassanech and enjoy their traditional dance.
Drive back to Turmi and have a relaxed afternoon in the lodge.
Overnight in a lodge
Day 07 – Arba Minch
On our way to Arba Minch, we stop in a village of Ari. The Ari people cultivate coffee plants on their fertile land. They also have livestock and honey production. We will have lunch in Konso with a good view.
Overnight hotel in Arba Minch
Day 08 – Boat trip on Lake Chamo and Zebras in Nechisar National Park
Today is probably one of the travel highlights for animal lovers. We will take a boat trip on Lake Chamo. On the boat trip, we have the chance to see hippos, crocodiles, and pelicans. The boat ride brings us to Nechisar National Park. We will do a Zebra safari in Nechisar National Park. We hike in the park and follow zebras together with an experienced guide and a scout. We can observe Zebras at a close distance.
Overnight stay in Hotel
Day 09- Awash National Park
After breakfast, we take a short flight to Addis Ababa. From Addis, we continue to drive to Awash National Park (220 km). We do short hiking in Awash and visit a village of the Kereyu people.
Overnight stay at a lodge inside the park
Day 10 – Game Drive in Awash National Park & Harar
In the morning we do a game drive in Awash National Park. We explore the park’s beautiful surroundings around the Awash River and its waterfalls, antelopes, crocodiles, gazelles, zebras, ostriches and a colorful bird world. With luck, we even discover lions or leopards.
Then we drive to Harar (310 km). In the night, we visit the “hyena man” on the outskirts. The Hyena man feeds the hyenas every evening. Here we can also try feeding hyena.
Overnight stay in hotel
Day 11 – The Walled City of Harar & Dire Dawa
In the morning we will visit the ancient Islamic city of Harar. Harar is considered as the fourth-holy city of the Muslim world after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Harar has founded around 1000years ago, and its rulers walled the town to protect it from enemies. Harar is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Harar is known for its colorful markets, countless mosques, colorful houses, the unique Harari folk and the traditional basket handicrafts of the Hadare people.
After lunch, we drive 55 km to Dire Dawa. On the roadside of our journey, we see farms of the Oromo people cultivating grains, coffee and the famous light drug in Ethiopia called Khat. Khat is a stimulant drug mostly chew by many young in the country. It is one of the export items of the country. We stop at a local market in Awedaye and see the Khat market. In Dire Dawa, we visit the oldest train station in the country and the market called Kefira.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 12 – Addis Ababa (End of our Ethiopia Tour)
Today is our last day of the tour. We fly back to Addis Ababa. In Addis, you have enough time for the last souvenir shopping or visiting some parts of the city. We conclude our Ethiopia trip with dinner at a typical Ethiopian restaurant with traditional music and dance. Afterwards, we transfer you either to your hotel or the airport for your international flight.
– Insolvency Insurance (Secured Payment Certificate)
– Tour Leader for the whole tour
– 3 domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (a Star Alliance member)
– Airport Taxes, security fees, and all government taxes
– Overland transport – depending on the group size we use
comfortable minibus or 4X4 off-road vehicle
– 10 nights stay in hotel/lodge in a standard shared twin bedroom
– 1 homestay in a local village
– Day room on departure date (Day 12)
– All breakfasts and lunches including drinks
– Farewell dinner on the last day
– Water bottles during the tour
– All entrance fees
– Local guides in each destination
– English speaking driver guide throughout the tour
– 100% compensation to the CO2 emissions of this tour in
Ethiopia (emissions from domestic flights and overland transport)
– Dinner – it is your personal choice to join the group or plan it by yourself
– Visa Fee – We will be glad to assist you
– Video and photo fees
– Alcoholic drinks
– Other Personal expenses
– Single room supplement – 230 USD or 210 €
– Domestic flight supplement (an extra 225 USD or 205 EURO required
if your international flight is NOT with Ethiopian Airline)
TRADITIONAL COFFEE CEREMONY
The experience of a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a must. Coffee (bunna) plays an important role in the daily life of the Ethiopians. Coffee is served every morning and evening. It is common to have a coffee ceremony when the family has visiting guests. Buna (coffee) is the favorite drink of many Ethiopians. It is drunk uniquely and traditionally. The coffee beans are roasted over charcoal then ground and placed in a jebena (coffee pot) with boiling water. When ready, it is served to people in small cups, up to three rounds per ceremony. The first round is called Abol, the second Tona, and the third Bereka. This is a social ceremony and will last at least for an hour. The ceremony is accompanied by incense and sometimes a small snack like homemade bread or popcorn.
HOMESTAY IN DORZE VILLAGE
We stay one night in Dorze village in their typical and small huts. We also taste their food and drinks. The Dorze tell us about their everyday life, and we can try some craft works like cotton spinning and weaving or pottery. The homestay is a highlight experience offering insights into the daily lives of the people and immerses us deeply in their culture.
HONEY WINE TEJ
The people of the Dorze is also known for an excellent honey wine called “tej.” We go for a ‘tej’ party in a small rural bar and spend the evening with the Dorze people.
When visiting a local market, there is a lot to discover. Local ornaments, wonderful fabrics, unique spices, several varieties of coffee beans and people different tribes coming for the market. We can get our favorite souvenir.
Traditional dance clubs are trendy among the Ethiopians and are worth a visit. This is not a nightclub, but rather a bar with a stage for Ethiopian traditional dancing. There are singers and dance groups, who show different dance styles of people and tribes from all over the country. Delicious Ethiopian food with a local beer guarantee a lively atmosphere.
PEOPLE OF SOUTH
Many of Ethiopian tribes are still largely unaffected by modern influences. When visiting some of these tribes in the south, we witness a unique way of life. Their body decoration and interaction with the rest of the world is quite natural and beautiful.
A normal physical fitness & good health condition is enough for this trip. All the hikes in this tour are standard and easy level, which takes a maximum of 3 to 4 hours a day.
The hotels and lodges are to the country standard, mostly 3 to 4-star hotels and lodges. However, occasional power cut and a limited supply of hot water may occur everywhere in the country. On this trip, we spend one overnight in a rural village at Dorze. This homestay accommodation is a clear contrast to the classic hotel accommodation. We sleep in small, simple huts with basic sanitary facilities. This tour to Ethiopia is an exciting opportunity to get insights into the culture and everyday life of the local people.
The daytime temperatures range between 18 ° and 30 ° degrees depending on the date of travel. In the mountains, the temperature can become much colder at night. Especially in the Simien Mountains, it can get below 5 ° degrees at night. The dry season starts from September to May. It rarely rains at this time. In the rainy season, June to August, it rains almost every day in the north, but the area is green, and flowers are blooming. However, the southern part of Ethiopia is dry from June to August.
Except for the main routes, the roads network in Ethiopia is not sufficiently developed. Some routes, particularly the Lower Omo Valley and some national parks, are unpaved roads and we recommend you to expect longer travel times.
We recommend you to pack your sleeping bag and towel as we have homestay and camping overnights. Also, you need to pack solid shoes for hiking in the mountains and volcanos in Erta Ale. For further recommendations, please check on our packing list to travel to Ethiopia.
On your trip to Ethiopia, you may produce from 1, 500 to 2,500 kg of CO2 on domestic flights and overland transport. MUKA Travel compensates 100% of your Co2 emissions by contributing the compensation amount to a project working to provide Solar Home Systems in Ethiopia. In cooperation with a climate protection organization called atmosfair, efficient solar systems are being developed and made available to the rural communities in Ethiopia. Find more information about the project here.
Visiting families or villages in different parts of Ethiopia in our tours mean far beyond experiencing a unique and discrete culture. The families in a homestay and each village visited receive an additional income. Even if this small money cannot bring a complete change, it brings extra income to support their livelihood. Read more about our homestays here.
Fairness of the tourism system is a big issue in many developing countries. We have seen that many tourism businesses in the developing world are either being owned by foreigners or controlled by few elites. The local communities are not well benefited from the tourism resources they naturally own. MUKA Travel tries to its best to bring a fair trade of tourism. We avoid international chain hotels and use standard locally owned accommodation. We use local guides in each destination. We pay a fair price, not only for local service providers but also for families and communities. Most importantly, we do not and will never set a price for services provided by local guides, families, and villages. See details of our work on promoting fairness.
Are you Interested in Private Tour to Lower Omo Valley Tribes?
Do you like to design your tour to lower Omo Valley tribes? We are glad to advise and work with you and create a customized private trip to Ethiopia. You can pick one or more of our tours for a reference and decide dates and travel partners by yourself. Contact us with the following details and we make your private Ethiopia tour happen.
- When do you want to travel?
- What kind of transportation do you prefer?
- Would you like us to book international and domestic flights?
- Which accommodation do you prefer? Mid-range hotel, camping, lodge, luxury hotel, a homestay in a small village?
- What do you like to visit in Ethiopia?
- Culture, nature, animals, tribes of Ethiopia, trekking, photography, or a bit of everything?
- How much is your travel budget?
- What other wishes do you have?
If you are planning a customised tour to lower Omo Valley tribes, please send your inquiry to info_at_mukatravel.com.