The Many Cultures of the Southern Omo Peoples | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

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The Many Cultures of the Southern Omo Peoples

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PRIVATE TOUR - 9 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY

FROM £$ 3738

Private Tour Highlights

  • Visit the Hammer peoples, one of the most beautiful and dignified people in the Omo basin with women who wear elegant leather skirts festooned with tiny pearls.
  • Embark on a boat ride on Lake Como to visit Azo Gebeya, the so-called 'crocodile market', a gathering place for crocodiles, pelican and the occasional hippo.
  • Take a day excursion to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi village where women wear terra cotta on their stretched lips and ear lobes and the men are famous for their hairstyles.
  • While in Addis Ababa, visit the National Museum that houses the nation's most precious archaeological finds, including the fossilized remains of "Lucy," a 3.2 million year old Hominid.
  • Have a cultural experience with the inhabitants of lower Omo River Valley including the Karo people who use ornate body art, intricate headdress, and body scarification to emphasize beauty and status within their community.
  • Appreciate Addis Ababa's rich food scene as well as Ethiopia's famed export, Arabica coffee.
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

Home to eight distinct tribes for centuries, the Omo River Valley in Southern Ethiopia is easily the most fascinating region in the country where visitors can learn of  The Many Cultures of the Southern Omo Peoples first hand.

Ethiopia is a destination enriched in authentic cultural experiences that provide a glimpse into Africa’s traditional communities. Though there may be some similarities, each traditional society has its own distinct customs and traditions that have been well documented in recent years. From the facial adornments of the Mursi people to the intricate scarifications of the Karo, to the elegant dress of the Hammers, each community within the Omo Valley offers valuable insight into the traditional way of living in Ethiopia.

The tour begins with an introduction to the wilds of Southern Ethiopia in the Great Rift Valley with a boat ride along Lake Como to Azo Gebeya, which many locals refer to as the ‘crocodile market’ where hundreds of crocs, hippos, and pelicans gather. En route, travelers will set off to the Konso region where the Konso people live in a land of low terraced hills, where some of the county’s best coffee is grown.

After spending time with the Konsos, the tour takes explorers on an excursion to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi village where women like to wear terra cotta on their enormously stretched lower lips and ear lobes and the men are famous for their hairstyles. Afterward, visitors will meet the main non-nomadic agriculturalist group in the Lower Omo Valley, the Karo. The Karo community is differentiated from neighboring villages by placing a higher emphasis on body and face painting. The tour then comes to an end with a visit with the Hammer peoples, known for their ornate beads and leather, elaborate hairstyles, and thick copper necklaces.

Inclusions
Price includes domestic and regional flights within the itinerary; all hotel accommodations including daily continental or buffet breakfast and daily city tax; all transfers between airports and hotels with assistance and baggage handling; guided tours in English including entrance fees.
Exclusions

International airfare (unless specifically included), airport departure taxes that must be paid on-site, gratuities, meals not mentioned, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals, early / late check-out, room service, visa fees/services, and other personal items or services not mentioned.

Best Time to Travel
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

Best Good Consult

Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double N/A £$3738 N/A N/A
Single N/A £$6009 N/A N/A

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary

Day
1

International Flight to Ethiopia

Overnight International Flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Overnight International Flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

plane-home-flight
Day
2

Welcome to Addis Ababa!

Upon arrival to Addis Ababa, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Serving as the capital and largest city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is the cultural and historic center of the country. The city's National Museum exhibits numerous prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid, "Lucy." Aside from its fascinating history, visitors will also appreciate Addis Ababa's rich food scene as well as Ethiopia's famed export, Arabica coffee.

Upon arrival to Addis Ababa, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Serving as the capital and largest city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is the cultural and historic center of the country. The city's National Museum exhibits numerous prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid, "Lucy." Aside from its fascinating history, visitors will also appreciate Addis Ababa's rich food scene as well as Ethiopia's famed export, Arabica coffee.

Day
3

Addis Ababa - Arba Minch

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Arba Minch.

Upon arrival to Abra Minch, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Chencha (48 km / 30 miles, approx. 2 hours). Arba Minch is the largest town in southern Ethiopia, set amongst lush green hills near Lakes Abaya and Chamo.

Arba Minch is named for the numerous local springs that produce a groundwater forest. In Amharic, Arba Minch means "forty springs". The town itself is divided into two distinct settlements. Buses and taxis connect Shecha (on higher ground) and downtown Sikela. Shecha is the uptown administrative center. Just two and a half miles away is Sikela, home to the commercial, industrial, and downtown residential areas. On the eastern side of Sikela lies the gate to Nechisar National Park, which covers the isthmus between Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. Upon arrival, you will drive to Chencha Village, home of the Dorze people. Renowned for their cotton weaving, called Shammas and their distinctive houses - towering beehive shaped structures made from woven thatch.
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Day
4

Lake Como Boat Tour

This morning, you will enjoy a one-hour boat ride on the lake to Azo Gebeya, the so-called 'crocodile market' - which is not a market at all, but a gathering place for crocodiles and pelican. The attraction of the boat trip includes viewing hippos and crocodiles from a very close range.

Later, you will set off to Jinka en route to the Konso region, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for its rich culture. The Konso people live in a land of low terraced hills. They are reputed to be one of the hard-working groups in the country. Their elaborately terraced hillside grows some of the county's best coffee. They have an articulate tradition and erect peculiar totems on the grave of their deceased. After your visit in Konso you will continue to Jinka (250 km / 155 miles, approx. 6 hours). ...read less

Day
5

Mursi Village Tour

Take a day excursion to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi village (140 km / 87 miles, approx. 3 hours). The Mursi are one of the most original ethnic groups. They live in very low huts made of straw leaves. The women like to wear terra cotta on their enormously stretched lower lips and ear lobes. The men are famous for their hairstyles.

The tribe is famed for their fierce warrior disposition and wildly decorative appearance, with large circular clay labrets that the women wear in the lower lip. The larger the lip plate, the greater the woman's value when she is married. She removes her plate for eating and sleeping. We may see some women, especially elder women, without their lip plates. They are easily distinguished by how their long, distended lips hang down from their mouths. Visit and drive to Turmi (150 km / 93 miles, approx. 6 hours).
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Day
6

Omoratte & Murulle Excursion

This morning, you will take an excursion to Omoratte (150 km / 93 miles, approx. 3 hours) where you will have a cultural experience with the Geleb / Dassenech people inhabitants of lower Omo River Valley. In the afternoon, you will venture to Murulle (130 km / 81 miles, approx. 4 hours) to visit the Karo people, who reside along the banks of the Lower Omo River. The Karo incorporate rich cultural symbolism into their rituals and use ornate body art, intricate headdress, and body scarification to emphasize beauty and status within their community.

This small but lively tribe numbers under 1,000, but they are the main non-nomadic agriculturalist group in the Lower Omo Valley. The Karo are differentiated from neighboring tribes by placing higher emphasis on body and face painting. They paint themselves daily with colored ochre, white chalk, yellow mineral rock, charcoal, and pulverized iron ore - all resources found in this area. Karo body painting is a deep aspect of their culture; they are communicating as well as decorating. The experience of visiting the people of this incredibly rich, proud, yet adapting culture gives amazing insight into Ethiopia's indigenous peoples. Visit and proceed to your hotel. ...read less

Day
7

Turmi Hammer Tribe Tour

Today, you will visit the Hammer peoples, one of the most beautiful and dignified people in the Omo basin. The women wear elegant leather skirts festooned with tiny pearls. Personal appearance is important to the Hammer, and they are striking indeed: their features and adornments include high cheekbones, ornate beads and leather, elaborate hairstyles and thick copper necklaces. Afterwards, drive back to Jinka to catch your flight back to Addis Ababa.

Upon arrival to Addis Ababa, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
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Day
8

Addis Ababa Historical Sightseeing Tour

Begin your city tour of Addis with a drive to Mount Entoto. This is a historical place where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace when he came from Ankober and founded Addis Ababa. It is considered a sacred mountain and has many monasteries. It is situated at an altitude between 2,600 and 3,100 meters. You will have a magnificent view of the city. Then, drive to the National Museum that houses the nation's artistic treasures as well as many of the most precious archaeological finds. This includes the fossilized remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is "Lucy," the partial skeleton of a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. The well-known Lucy is said to be 3.2 million years old. After visiting the museum, you will drive to Trinity Cathedral Church. This church is the highest-ranking Orthodox cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italian occupation and is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum.

This afternoon, you will visit the Ethnological museum set within Haile Selassie's former palace, surrounded by the beautiful gardens and fountains of Addis Ababa University's main campus. Even if you're not normally a museum fan, this one is worth a bit of your time - it's easily one of the finest museums in Africa. Later, you drive to Mercato and visit the largest open market in Africa, where you will drive through the market. Mercato is located covering several square miles and employing an estimated 13,000 people in 7,100 business entities.
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Day
9

International Flight Home

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight home.

At the appropriate time, you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Jinka, Ethiopia

Turmi, Ethiopia

Jinka, Ethiopia

Places You'll See

  • Addis Ababa

    Ethiopia’s sprawling capital city, located along the Great Rift Valley, provides travelers with a fantastic introduction to the country’s culture and history. History buffs will appreciate hundreds of prehistoric fossils at the National Museum where replicas of the famous early hominid, “Lucy,” reside. Foodies can indulge in Addis Ababa’s plentiful culinary scene and participate in an important part of Ethiopian culture with a delicious coffee ceremony.

  • Arba Minch

    Located in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, formed over 22 million years ago, Arba Minch was founded in 1960 as the capital of the former province of Gamo-Gofa. It’s rich, green environment and wildlife makes it East Africa’s hidden gem for travelers seeking to connect with nature. The main attraction in Arba Minch is Nechisar National Park, an African wonderland, where visitors can easily come across gazelles, zebras and baboons.

  • Jinka

    Located in the hills of the Tama plains, the market town of Jinka is the largest in the region. Though services may be limited due to its remoteness, the town offers needed comforts for those seeking to visit the nearby Mursi tribes, famous for their massive lip adornments. Visitors will also appreciate Jinka’s proximity to Mago National Park where lion, giraffe, leopard and elephants can be seen. If lucky, visitors may even witness the rare black rhino.

Hotel Options

4 Star Properties

Addis Ababa : Radisson Blu

Arba Minch : Paradise Lodge

Jinka : Eco Omo Lodge

Turmi : Buska Lodge

Testimonials

Roger

Traveled April, 2012

Everything went off without a hitch

We did indeed have a wonderful trip. Everything went off without a hitch. The two drivers arranged by Yampu Tours were excellent. Wolfgang was always either early or on time. He was very helpful with suggestions on what to do and where to eat during our visit to Knisna Bay. He also went out of his way to help us get settled in, for example with trips to the grocery store. He was cheerful, professional and ready to help whenever we needed. The van and trailer were just what we needed. Andre in Cape Town was also there on time. It was a short trip to the airport, but we appreciated all his help. Thanks to Yampu Tours for helping to make our trip so successful.

Traveled To

Donna T.

Traveled June 2019

I thought one safari in a lifetime would be sufficient…I was wrong!

I had the pleasure of working with Karolina to book my Kenya safari. Kenya was magical and the itinerary was pulled off with almost no hitches…and with the one issue (bags didn’t make the connection), Yampu was there following up to assure that my bags made it to where they needed to be. We went to three separate areas of Kenya — each offering a different glimpse into the country and the animals: Amboseli, Samburu and Masai Mara. I thought one safari in a lifetime would be sufficient…I was wrong! Definitely hope to be able to return to Africa.

Traveled To

Joel M.

Traveled August, 2014

Everything was perfect! Guides were wonderful!

Everything was perfect! Guides were wonderful! I especially loved the Chitwa Chitwa. The experiences here were fabulous, including eating dinner with a family of elephants, including a baby. From our room and the lodge we saw a herd of Hippos, crocodiles in the morning and two lions. On the drive we saw an Impala in a tree which had been killed by a lion. Then shortly thereafter we saw a leopard leap up into the tree to eat the impala. We also went to an art opening, and liked a painting so much that we decided to buy it and take it home. It was her first painting to sell and she was so happy she gave it to me. I hope in some way my trip to South Africa, may have changed this student’s life, who will now have more confidence as an artist.

Traveled To


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