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Ethiopian Western Benishangul region & Surma route (Surface) - 15 days

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Tewodros Alegaz Getnet

Off-Road Ethiopia Tour Plc

Off-Road Ethiopia tour is a destination management company established by an experienced fellow.

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Ethiopian Western Benishangul region & Surma route (Surface) - 15 days

This trip will take you to the least visited section of Ethiopia, the Benishangul region located on the western part bordering Sudan and a chance to see the Gumuz, Ari, Komo and Mao tribal people. also you shall have a chance to travel to the western Omo valley to see the Surma people who re sub clan of the Mursi known for their lip-plating

DAY 1

and drive to Debre Libanos then to Zenge

Drive to the town of Kossober along the Bahir Dar road. En route visit to the breathtaking Blue-Nile gorge which is comparable to the grand canyon in the USA. Take a de tour at Kossober to drive to the towns of Chagni and Mandura. Chagni is a town under the Amhara region administration and for long known to be home of the “Agew”, original Ethiopian Jews people. On Saturday, there will be a colorful market for the “Gumz” and Agaw people. The “Gumz” are one of the 5 ethnic group of the Benishangul Gumz region who are also found in the neighboring Sudan and were known in the past as “Shankla” a term used to denote their very dark skin and no more in use today. They are known to be good hunters of duikers and warthog and the same practice goes up until today. Presently they depend on shifting cultivation and grown mainly sorghum. Sorghum is used by the “Gumz” people to prepare porridge and also make a local beer called “Kea”. They also do gather honey and fruits too. Those living in Sudan and along its border follow Muslim religion while some also adhere to Christianity but most follow the traditional belief in spirits. Chagni is also known to have the “Ardi” river that joins the other two lakes of “Dondor” & “Dura” and flows to the Blue-Nile river as a tributary. Take time in the colorful market Read more

Camping
DAY 2

Zengena-Chagni-Gublak

After breakfast drive to the towns of Chagni and Mandura. In the town of Chagni, visit to the colorful reddish Dondor waterfalls. Chagni is a town under the Amhara region administration and for long known to be home of the “Agew”, original Ethiopian Jews people. On Satur day, there will be a colorful market for the “Gumz” , “Shinasha and Agaw people. The “Gumz” are one of the 5 ethnic groups of the Benishangul Gumz region who are also found in the neighboring Sudan and were known in the past as “Shankla” a term used to denote their very dark skin and no more in use today. They are known to be good hunters of duikers and warthog and the same practice goes up until today. Presently they depend on shifting cultivation and grown mainly sorghum. Sorghum is used by the “Gumz” people to prepare porridge and also make a local beer called “Kea”. They also do gather honey and fruits too. Those living in Sudan and along its border follow Muslim religion while some also adhere to Christianity but most follow the traditional belief in spirits. Chagni is also known to have the “Ardi” river that joins the other two lakes of “Dondor” & “Dura” and flows to the Blue -Nile River as a tributary. Take time in the colorful market and drive to the small town of Gublak Read more

Camping
DAY 3

Gublak -Dahans Baguna-Guba

Drive back to the town of Dahans Baguna where there is a colorful Sunday market to visit the Gumz people. On the way to the small marke visit the Gumz women carying fire wood and chrcoal in a balance. Spend time at the colorful market and drive to Guba or Mankush

Camping
DAY 4

Guba-Assosa

In the morning visit the former Palace of “Dej Azmach“ Banjaw who was a military commander of the highest post during Emperor Menelik II time. The design o the palace resembles the caste of Gondar and was built by a Sudanese engineer in the year 1941-1943 the local chief use to have 40 wives living in the same compound including his Sudanese one. Then depart to Assosa. In few kilometers make detour to see the grand renaissance millennium dam which Egypt is opposing the construction and proceed driving. Then visit to the last flow of Blue-Nile river with in Ethiopia before entering to the Sudan soil at a place called “Arenja“. Also take a visit to “Sherkole“, the site where the Berta tribes make their living from a significant gold mining labor. The “Berta” people who are also called “Wetawit” are believed to migrate to their present location from eastern Sudan during the 16th & 17th century to the present locations they are now. A good number of “Berta” people are still found in Sudan. The area where they settled now was regarded by ancient Egyptians as a site of gold extraction. Most of them follow a Muslim religion and adhere to it strongly with a practice of indigenous belief on the spirit that they use to make rain and heal ill people among them. Like their counterpart tribes in the surrounding they depend mainly on growing of sorghum as a stable food. Over the centuries, they have been intermarried with Arabs and for the same reason speaks fluent Arabic language in addition to their local language. In addition to traditional gold mining they depend on growing of fruits and other cereals as they use the gold for bartering of different goods and products. Take time at the gold mining and proceed driving to Assosa for overnight. Read more

Bamboo hotel
DAY 5

Assosa - Fametsere

In the morning head to visit the two Twin Mountains called Fametsere regarded by the Berta to be holy and couple mountains. For the reason of respecting to these mountains the Berta people do not access of climb in these mountains. Drive back to the junction and drive to Menge village where major traditional gold excavation work goes on. Along the road stop for a nice walk in the green jungle of the famous rock site called Bel Embeshe where the name Benishangul is derived from. Every year the Berta people will make a white dog scarification and coffee ceremony to their god in this particular place. Then drive to the place where the Berta with the surrounding Agaw & Oromo people do gold mine excavation, cleaning and collection work and back to Assossa Read more

Camping
DAY 6

Assosa-Bambesi - Ye’amesera

After an breakfast head to “Bambasi“ zone, it is one of the 20 administrative zones known by hosting different ethnic groups. Most of the people living in “BamBasi” are followers of the Muslim religion and are migrants from the Wello region during the big famine period and also the surrounding Oromo people. Admire the colorful weekly market attended by the neighboring Oromo, Berta, and Amhara people. Then drive to the Ye’amesera mosque, where a Nigerian Sheik built a mosque during the 1940’s. the Nigerian man has also introduced a small scale hydro-electric power system from which the locals get power for their mill house and also light. This place is an important pilgrimage site for many muslims in the end of the big Ramadan season where up to 5 thousand people would come. Proceed driving to the market place for the Mao & Komo people that live bordering Sudan and follow the Muslim religion. The women of Komo have a tradition of piercing their lower lip and inserting a stick. Also they have a tradition of drinking locally made alcohol in group by a straw looking bamboo stick. The Mao and Kamo are also known for their body scarification. The Mao men have scarification in the face & chest, while female on the belly part. Also the Komo men on the forehead & face, while female on the belly Read more

Camping
DAY 7

Ganzo-Koshmandu-Assossa

after breakfast head to the “Ganzo tribe”, known for having a body scarification culture. The “Ganzo” are among the more than 80 tribe, just discovered and recorded few years ago by the Ethiopian government. They are totally 150 members and practice scarification over their body. The men mainly in the face & chest; while female in the belly, arms & back. They depend for their livelihood mainly on hunting of monkey, alligator and warthogs. They are the least surviving tribes in Ethiopia. Then drive back to Assosa. En route take a stop at the Thursday weekly animal market of Koshmandu village. The Berta, Mao, Komo and Oromo people would mingle in this market to trade goats cattle, sheep & chicken Read more

Bamboo Hotel
DAY 8

Drive Asosa-Dedessa

Visit to the Assosa museum and the Judge house of the last leader of the region, Sheik Ojele and then drive to Nekemte, the oldest town that has been acting as a capital for the Oromo region in the past. Along the road take a junction to drive to the Anger falls which goes out from the tributary of the Blue-Nile called Anger river and then head to Dedesa eco lodge. Spent time by the Dedesa River, in the forest spotting birds Read more

Dedesa Lodge
DAY 9

Nekemte-Jimma

Drive to Jimma. Up on arrival to hotel check-in and continue the drive to “Choche” coffee farm, the site claimed to be the original place where coffee was found first. Visit the coffee farm and continue to drive to the nearby coffee gen bank where 4898 species of coffee trees are preserved. Back to Jimma Read more

City view hotel
DAY 10

Jimma-Bebeka

Drive to the Bebeka, a former coffee plantation site use to be owned by government and is the biggest one

Camping
DAY 11

Bebeka-Tulgit

Drive to Tulgit, the settlement for the Surma people. The Surma or Suri women are majorly known by having a culture of lip-plating and the men are also famous in stick fighting ceremony called “Donga”. In the plains of south-western Ethiopia where the Suri herd their highly-prized cattle, competition for land is always fierce and they pride themselves on the scars that they carry. Village discussions are led by elders and the komoru - a ritual chief. The komoru all come from the same clan and are chosen by consensus. Each household is run by a woman. The women have their own fields and dispose of the proceeds as they wish. Money they make from selling beer and grain can be used to buy goats, which they then trade for cattle. Cattle are enormously important to the Suri. They bring status; when two Suri meet they'll ask each other how many cows they have. Cows are a store of wealth to be traded, and a source of milk and blood. Bleeding a cow is more efficient than slaughtering it for meat, and blood can be drawn during the dry season when there's less milk. An animal can be bled once a month, from the jugular. The animals aren't generally sold or killed for meat, though they are slaughtered for certain ceremonies. They are treated with reverence. Fires are lit to keep them warm and to protect against insect bites, they are covered with ash. Every boy is given a young bull to look after, and his friends call him the name of his bull. The Suri sing songs in praise of their cattle, and mourn them when they die. One theory goes that it was meant to discourage slavers from taking the women. It's undoubtedly painful. Once a girl reaches a certain age, her lower incisors are knocked out and her bottom lip is pierced and stretched until it can hold the clay plate. When it comes to religious beliefs, the Suri have a sky god, Tuma, an abstract divine force. There is no real veneration of the earth or earth spirits Read more

Camping
DAY 12

Tulgit-Kibish

Drive from Tulgit to Kibish, another village for the Surma people. Take time in their village visiting their way of life

Camping
DAY 13

Kibish – Bonga

Drive from Kibish to Bonga. Bonga is the heart of the Kaffa region where coffee was found for the first time. In the old administrative system Bonga was Capital to the keficho-Shekicho people and Mizan Teferi to Bench-Maji and all together forming the Kaffa region, where the present day Jimma is acting as general capital for all places and people mentioned above. As the name Kaffa (sometimes also spelled Kaffa) indicates, the area represents the cradle of the coffee plant (of the highland variety "arabica"). Moreover, the area, enjoying an abundance of rainfall, is home to Ethiopia’s most important reserves of rain forest. However, timber processing, fuel wood consumption and general population increases with growing demands for arable land have led to deforestation. The main food crops include Enset ("false banana") and maize, which are also the staple foods, as well as wheat and barley. Coffee and tea (there is a large tea plantation in Wishwish 15 kilometres west of Bonga) are the major cash crops exported to Addis Ababa and from there to the international markets. Food production in this zone, which enjoys plenty of rainfall, is sufficient to support the population of an estimated one million. While the majority of the population is composed of the ethnic groups of Shekicha and Keficho respectively, some Amharas, Oromos and Tigreans have also settled in the zone, particularly in urban areas. The cultures and languages (Kaffigna, Shekigna) of the two major groups are closely related Read more

Hotel
DAY 14

Bonga-Chebera Churchura

After breakfast drive to Chebera Churchura national Park. The park is found within the western side of the central Omo Ghibe basin and the area is inhabited by the Dawro & Konta people of the southern national and nationalities region. The park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers and streams and four small creator lakes (Keriballa, Shasho, Koka) which are reasons for the rich wildlife resources of the area. So far 37 large mammals and 237 species of birds have been recorded in the different babitatas of the park. White cliff-chat, banded-barbet, wattled Ibis, black-headed forest Oriole and thick billed raven are some of the birds to be spotted. Common mammals include the African elephant, hippopotamus, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard. The park appears to be the least disturbed and reliable ecosystem for the African elephant & buffalo in the country. Spend the day doing safari drive and also admiring the scenery Read more

Camping
DAY 15

Chebera Churchura-Addis Ababa

Have a morning safari drive and back to Addis Ababa via the Hosanna road. Have a complementary traditional dinner and transfer out for departure

ACCOMMODATIONS

Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Zengena
Hotel Camping
Day 2
Location Gublak
Hotel Camping
Day 3
Location Guba
Hotel Camping
Day 4
Location Assosa
Hotel Bamboo hotel
Day 5
Location Fametsere
Hotel Camping
Day 6
Location Ye’amesera
Hotel Camping
Day 7
Location Assossa
Hotel Bamboo hotel
Day 8
Location Dedessa
Hotel Dedessa Lodge
Day 9
Location Jimma
Hotel City view hotel
Day 10
Location Bebeka
Hotel Camping
Day 11
Location Tulgit
Hotel Camping
Day 12
Location Kibish
Hotel Camping
Day 13
Location Bonga
Hotel Local Hotel
Day 14
Location Chebera Churchura
Hotel Camping

TRIP PACKAGE

Package includes

  • Transfer from/to the airport
  • Transport during the tour
  • Accommodation
  • Local guides
  • Information services
  • Entrance fee

Package excludes

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa, consular 76 fees or any other formalities.
  • Tips
  • Beverages
  • Additional journeys and transfers

REVIEWS

10 Reviews

Susan Rutherford, United States

What a spectacular trip to the Omo! Our driver and guide were excellent - knowledgeable, safe driving, always watching over us, thoughtful, and fun! Considering the remote locations I had expected very poor accommodations and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the lodges were. The villages we visited were fascinating. I could not believe my eyes -- so many different tribes. These were not some "tourist villages" -- this was the real thing. What an incredible trip we had seeing these wonderful sights. Thank you for all your help and guidance in providing me and my friend such a fantastic trip to Ethiopia. Also, thank you for your patience in responding to my MANY email questions sent while planning the trip. Read more

Kirk & Joyce Douglass, United States

As a couple of seasoned travelers who are older we did research our trip about Ethiopia and decided to spend our time with Off Road Travel. We were delighted and not disappointed. We covered the historical north, the cultural east and the Omo valley all in 26 tough but fascinating days. Our driver/guide Fitsum was a caring person as well as a good mechanic who could fix anything and on occasion did. He deferred to the local guides when appropiate but we knew he was equally knowledgeable as they were. ​ We decided to drive the whole way, not take the air route for any segment. The benefits of seeing up close and personal the people, landscape and villages far out weighted the rough roads and the ever present dust. Yes there is dust but if they keep putting asphalt down as saw them doing it should get better in the future. ​ We recommend the Off Road trips. ​ Read more

Jean Pierre & Heleen van Briel, Belgium

We are still enjoying the memory of our marvellous trip in Ethiopia. It was without any doubt one of our most interesting trips we ever did. In fact we had three different travels in one: first, the north with the Christian culture, secondly the natural parks with their magnificent sceneries and thirdly the South, which is an ethnical museum. We want to reconfirm that we were very pleased with the services and the organisation of your company, Off-Road Ethiopia Tour. Read more

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