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Omo Valley Cultural Tours

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1,860

/ person
  • 1
  • 13 Days

Taddese Atlaw

Senait Ethiopia Tours

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Omo Valley Cultural Tours

The Omo Valley is one of the most culturally rich tribal regions on the African continent. For generations these tribes have been shielded from the modern world in a place that is still raw, natural, and timeless. However, change is happening quickly in this region, which will soon impact their traditional clothing, body painting and way of life. Inspired by their environment of wild trees, exotic flowers and lush vegetation these tribes use colorful make-up, of bright yellows, startling whites and rich earth-reds created from the clay soil. They wear flamboyant accessories and brilliant head decorations to become a walking body of art. As a celebration of themselves they paint each other’s bodies and make bold decisions about their outfits motivated by the sheer fun of creating and showing off to other members of the tribe.

DAY 1

Addis Ababa City tour

Arrival in Addis Ababa city tour: Depending on our arrival time into Addis Ababa today, we will take a private trip into town and visit the largest open-air market in Africa – the Merkato. Here you will be presented with confusing, but fascinating, glimpses of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country, as well as experiencing the traditional Ethiopian trade exchange in the open air, where you can literally purchase anything you desire! There are also a number of fascinating museums and churches within the city centre to explore. One of these is the National Museum, which is famous for its hominid fossil remains of ‘Lucy’, locally known as ‘Dinknesh’ (meaning wonderful). Alternatively, you are welcome to simply relax at the Sheraton Hotel and enjoy the splendid facilities on offer. Read more

Addis Ababa 1 night
DAY 2

Move to Arbaminch

Addis Ababa to Abra Minch: We rise early this morning for Ethiopia’s famous Coffee and breakfast. We depart for Abra Minch, which is situated in the Great Rift Valley. The drive will give us time to decompress from modern life and sink into the ambience, the beauty, and the rhythm of Africa. We pass by tall thatch roof huts fantastically painted in African style art with an ornate piece of pottery crowning its top. We take the Addis – Hosana road visiting the Oromo, Gurage, Silte people and their way of life. The local people are going about their daily lives in the village, working the fields, carrying large Jerry cans of water, and creating pottery and handicrafts that will be sold in the local market. Private vehicles are sparse on these roads, which are used more for driving herds of livestock, public transport, and walking from the villages to town. We arrive in the early evening as the sun begins to descend and the road changes to dirt stirring up the rich red African soil creating a golden orange glow over the landscape. Overnight paradise lodge. Read more

Arbaminch 1 night
DAY 3

Dorze and Lake Chamo

Abra Minch In Arbaminch, have a remarkable boat ride on the southernmost Rift Valley Lake of Ethiopia – Lake Chamo. Boat trip on Lake Chamo is among the best anywhere in Ethiopia as it is home to numerous Hippos and the world’s most spectacular concentrations of Giant Crocodiles (It is locally called the “Crocodile Market”). The water birds are great, and the scenery is truly unforgettable. Fishing for Nile Perch and many other species by locals on their traditional boat is by far the best in the country. You will also watch various low land water birds like the African Fish Eagle and Great White Pelicans. Afternoon we drive to Chencha to visit and take pictures of Dorze tribes. Perched on the Guge hills at an altitude of 2900 m the small highland town of Chencha is famous for its moist climate and elephant eyes style house. You have to drive 37 km before you reach Arbaminch to be in naturally and culturally reach village of Dorze people. Farming and skilful weaving are their system of livelihood. False Banana, enset, is a common crop which you can notify in every compound of the Dorze people. They are super in weaving cotton cloths and they have a colorful cotton cloth unique to their culture. The beehive- shaped house is also the identity of the Dorze people of Ethiopia. It is made by using organic materials like the bamboo sticks, leaves, grass and the false banana and it is very graceful. The chencha house has only one door with no windows which makes it unique as compared to the large size and doom that it boasts. The height of this astonishing dome measures up to 6m tall and it is the same stick which stretches as a dome from the ground. At the entrance it has a reception like area but the house is only one vast room with the firing place at the middle and some covered partitions for livestock and other purposes. The beehive-shaped house of chencha is a lifelong house which can stay more than 60 years without any problem and it is an easy mobile house in case of any infestation by the termites. In every compound of the chench village you will see the graceful chencha house at the center surrounded by the false banana and other simple crops. Dinner and overnight will be at Paradise lodge which is situated at a nice point to spot two of the Rift Valley lakes and part of the land between the lakes which is known locally as ‘the Bridge of Heaven or Paradise’ . Overnight Paradise lodge Read more

Arbaminch
DAY 4

Omo valley

Arbaminch – Jinka Proceed to Jinka, admiring the Derashe, Tsemay, Ari and Benna people on the way. Overnight hotel at Jinka Resort

Jinka 1 night
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DAY 5

Mursi tribes

Mursi 140Km rough road: Today we visit the Mursi Tribe known for their lip plates and face painting. The women first started using the lip plates as a way to disfigure themselves so the slave traders would be appalled by the way they look and not take them into slavery… later it became a sign of beauty used to get a husband. We will see our first chance to find the bull jumping ceremony after the market time. Overnight hotel at Jinka Resort. Read more

Jinka 1 night
DAY 6

Karo tribe

This morning we head to the Omo Valley arriving in Turmi, home of the Hamar tribe. The Hamar women are striking; wearing beautiful colorful beaded skins, ornate necklaces, and metal bangles around their wrist and ankles. Famous for their hairstyle — a crown of long dread-lock braids covered in ocher — the Hamer women are the most decorated of the Omo people. Visiting the Benna, Ari villages on the way. If today is Tuesday, you can visit the very colorful market for the Hammer, karo and Ari people at Turmi Market. It is a good opportunity to find many tribes together exchanging goods. We will see our first chance to find the bull jumping ceremony after the market time if you are lucky. Once we arrive get settled in and ready for the next trip. We will over night in the Lodge. This will be our home base for the next six nights, which will give us a better chance to be invited to a bull jumping ceremony or rehearsal and also give us access to the Dassenech, karo, hammer, Nyangatom, tribes. Overnight Buska/splendor lodge. Read more

Mutrule 1 night
DAY 7

Hamer tribe

Today we have a visit at a Hamar village and afternoon enjoy the colorful Tuesday market at Dimeka. Visit the Hamer, Karo and Dassanech people. Witness Hamer dances (Evangadi) and seasonal marriage ceremonies with bull-jumping if you are lucky Overnight Buska/splendor lodge.

Turmi 1 night
DAY 8

Karo tribe

This morning we will have visit with the Hamar at sunrise and shoot in the soft morning light. We will head back to the lodge for a late breakfast and to check out. We then head to Karo territory where we will settle into our camp on the banks of the Omo River. The Karo excel in face and body painting that is practiced daily in preparation of their dances and ceremonies. They pulverize locally found white chalk, yellow mineral rock, red iron ore and black charcoal to decorate their bodies often mimicking the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. The men create highly decorated clay hair buns, which can take up to three days to complete. Their ornate body scaring where a cut is made with a knife and ash is rubbed into the wound to produce a raised welt is also a known characteristic of the Karo. This afternoon will be our first visit with the Karo. Overnight Camping at karo would be nice for sun set and sunrise picture. Overnight camping. Read more

Murule 1 night
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DAY 9

Karo tribe

We have another one full days to photograph this amazing tribe. We will be able to photograph them in their villages, along the river, set up individual and group portraits, goat and cattle herding, dancing and just immersing ourselves into their culture. I find the Kara to be one of the friendliest tribes along the Omo and love spending time with them. We will also be able to plan a visit the Nyangatom tribe. N.B- We will manage this trip as an excursion based from Turmi. Come in the morning and back for two full days. Overnight Buska/splendor lodge. Read more

Murule 1 night
DAY 10

Dassenech tribe

This morning we will rise early and drive to the edge of the Omo River. We will cross the river by canoe to the villages of the Dasanech tribes (a motor boat or a ferry maybe available but is not guaranteed). The Dasanech are a semi-nomadic tribe numbering approximately 50,000. Their clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. The are known for their very unique and ornate hair buns. Overnight Buska/splendor lodge. Read more

Turmi 1 night
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DAY 11

Konso tribe

Turmi - Konso Today we will rise early and drive to the Arbore tribe. Each tribe of the Omo valley has a specific way of dressing and decorating themselves as a way to visually associate themselves with their unique customs and values. Arbore women are well known for their long headdresses. The girls shave their heads to indicate virginity, and only start growing hair after marriage. Afternoon – drive to Konso for overnight Kanta lodge. Read more

Konso 1 night
DAY 12

Borena tribe

In the morning visit the Konso village which is one of the world heritage sites of UNESCO. Enjoy Konso - GargesieNear the village lies a giant cleft, within which many rock formations resembling the outline of their forms in New York. Further drive to Yargalem on the road watching the original life of the people of Borena, Sidamo, which are mainly engaged in breeding camels and cultivation of coffee. We came to lodge Aregash who hid in the jungle. Do not miss the evenings to come visit the real wild hyenas. Night at the "Aregash Lodge". Read more

Yirgalem 1 night
DAY 13

Addis Ababa

Yirgalem- Addis Morning drive to Awassa, visit the biggest fish market in the country. Then drive to Addis via the Rift Valley over viewing the rift valley lakes of Shalla, Abyata and Langano. On the way visit the Oromo people way of life. Take the junction via Butajira and visit Tiya Stele. Further drive to Addis Ababa for museum and some city tours. Evening fare well dinner at one of the city’s best traditional restaurants to enjoy a variety of Ethiopian cuisines and watch traditional dancing, transfer to Bole International airport for the night flight. Read more

Departure
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ACCOMMODATIONS

Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Addis Ababab
Day 2
Location Arbaminch
Day 5
Location JInka
Hotel JInka Resort
Day 7
Location Turmi
Hotel Buska Lodge
Day 9
Location Murule
Hotel Murulo Lodge
Day 10
Location Turmi
Hotel Buska Lodge
Day 11
Location Koso
Hotel kanta Lodge
Day 12
Location Yirgalem

TRIP PACKAGE

Package includes

  • 11 nights room accommodation on a double or twin bed bases.
  • One night camping with all camping gears at karo Village ( tent, mattress, sleeping bag).
  • Meal on half board bases (breakfast and dinner) with soft and hot drink.
  • One Toyota Land cruiser 4X4 utility vehicle 2015 model for the whole trip with fuel and AC.
  • Cook service in during camping.
  • English speaking professional photographic guide all along the trip.
  • Two litters of bottled water/person/day
  • Experienced English speaking driver and all his allowance.
  • All entrance fee as per the itinerary in villages, parks etc.
  • Half day boat trip on Lake Chamo in Arbaminch.
  • English speaking local guides in all destinations.
  • Any scout /police fee in the Mago and other places where needed.

Package excludes

  • Lunch out of camping
  • Any alcoholic drinks,
  • video/camera shooting fee,
  • Any gratitude to the guide, cook, drivers, etc
  • What is not included in the inclusive part

REVIEWS

5 Reviews

Windsor, United States

Senait Ethiopia and everyone associated with it was absolutely THE BEST experience for our visit to the Omo Valley. Taddese managed from the office and booked everything and checked in with us all during the trip to make sure everything was great. Our personable guide Robel Petros and our wonderful driver Abate Fentwa were so welcoming, organized, professional yet so friendly and helpful. Absolutely nothing went wrong, we had the most incredible experience and got amazing, prize-winning photos. We would rate this tour company and all its people as AAA+++ They made sure our lodging was always comfortable and for the meals that were not included, they gave excellent advice on restaurants. Their vehicles were modern, super-clean, comfortable, well-maintained, and their knowledge as we traveled made our trip delightful, introduced us to superb local guides for detailed cultural tours...We cannot say enough good things about Senait and everyone who helped us with our 2-week Ethiopian tour. Read more

Durham, United States

We had a great trip with Senait Ethiopia Tours! They made the trip so easy and enjoyable -- not an easy thing for a family of 5, with 3 children of different ages, needs and interests. They accommodated last-minute changes necessitated by an opportunity to visit our daughters' birth family (and were incredibly sensitive to and respectful of the needs and emotions around this visit), adjusted their typical route so that we could visit some less common places of interest and also spend more time hiking, and responded perfectly to our request for LOTS of authentic Ethiopian food in places frequented by locals (it was all delicious!). Our driver/guide was personable, had a great sense of humor, and did everything possible to make our trip as comfortable and enjoyable as possible -- including spending several days tracking down a hard-to-find memory card for our older model digital camera, helping us bargain at the local markets, and helping us change money. It was a magical trip, and we look forward to working with them again for a tour of the southern part of the country in a couple of years. Read more

A group of three persons, Germany

A group of three persons with only a week to spend for sightseeing, we were nonetheless eager to visit various attractions in the Eastern part of Ethiopia and possibly even include some sightseeing in the Rift Valley Lake District. Since we did not know whether it was realistic to squeeze all of this into a seven-day tour by car, with only six overnight stays, we contacted Taddese, the tour operator of Senait Ethiopia Tours. This turned out being a perfect choice. Taddese, in fact, managed to organize a magnificent tour of about 1500 km that included everything that we had in mind. Starting and ending in Addis Abeba, the tour included the Awash National Park (with crocodiles, kudus, hot springs and more), Harar (plus some hungry hyenas), the village of Koremi, Dire Dawa, the rift valley lakes of Langano, Abidjatta-Shalla and Ziway (including a boat tour on the latter, with lots of birds and some noisy hippos), the Tiya Stelae Fields, the Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site and the rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam (certainly an alternative for those who have no time to visit Lalibela). After returning to Addis, we even managed to visit Lucy at the National Museum and drive up to the Entoto. Taddese arranged for all of the lodgings as well as for professional local guides at most of the places that we visited. Moreover, also providing the minivan for our tour, Taddese arranged for it that Engidawork, his very experienced and careful driver accompanied us. Engidawork is not only a very responsible tour guide but also a very friendly and caring person and we were very happy to be on this tour together with him. As a side note, he also impressed us with his ornithologic knowledge. During this tour, we stayed overnight at the "Awash Falls Lodge" in the Awash National Park (adventurous; with a baboon knocking at our door in the evening for some Trick or Treat), at the "Rewda Cultural Guesthouse" in Harar (very authentic), at the “African Village” in Dire Dawa, at the "Maya Hotel/Kuriftu Resort" in Adama, at the "Haile Resort" at Lake Ziway and finally at the "Caravan Hotel" in Addis Abeba. All of these accommodations had their very characteristic, positive features and we enjoyed being at all of these places; and on some future occasion, we would stay at each of them again. In summary, Taddese and Engidawork made a wonderful and harmonious tour possible and we can very well imagine booking our next tours in Ethiopia with Senait Ethiopia Tours again. Read more

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