ARRIVAL TO ADDIS ABABA AND CITY TOUR
On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Addis was founded in 1886 by Menelik II, and situated at an elevation of around 2438m which makes third highest capital city in the world. Addis Ababa enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. we will start our site-seeing by National museum which houses some of the country’s historic treasures. The collection of fossils and bones of early hominids discovered in Ethiopia include the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid every found. Proceed visiting to the two major highlights of the city, the Ethnographic Museum and the church of the Holy Trinity, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie.
ADDIS ABABA TO ARBA MINCH
After breakfast, drive to the famous lakeside town of Arba Minch. En route visit the villages of Gurage for their staple food of Kocho made from the false banana. We drive through one of the most colorful and scenic areas of Southern Ethiopia, a land that is inhabited by the Wolayita people, who were once nomads but are now farmers. Before arriving to the town of Arba Minch, a long section of the road offers magnificent views of lake Abaya, surrounded by mountains. The lake has volcanic origins and is almost pink in color.
VISIT THE CHENCHA VILLAGE AND BOAT TRIP ON LAKE CHAMO
Morning drive 40kms northwest of Arba Minch to Guge Mountains to visit the Dorze and Chencha villages. Once warriors, the Dorze have now turned to farming and weaving to earn a living. They speak an Omotic tongue and the Dorze name is synonymous with the best-woven cotton cloth. The “elephant huts” of the Dorze are unique and worth seeing. Also, the Dorze beehive-shaped houses are constructed entirely of organic material and has its own small garden surrounded by beds of spices, cabbage and tobacco.Some of Ethiopia’s best woven cottons come from Chencha, which is located 8 km northwest of Dorze Village. Men weave and women spin. Afternoon a boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the crocodiles, hippos & aquatic bird species. The northern shores of Lake Chamo are famous for its large crocodiles, which can be seen in great numbers lounging in the heat. The lake is about 32km long and provides a lush wetland habitat for many species of flora and fauna.
DRIVE TO JINKA VIA KONSO AND KAY AFER
Early morning drive to Konso where colorfully costumed dress, impressive terracing of the land and unusually engraved wooden statues used as grave markers can be seen. Differing from their neighbors, the Konso are pure agriculturists, famed for their use of the stone terraces that they utilize to such good effect in this dry and barren region of basalt hills. Originally from the east and speaking an east Cushitic language, the Konso live in settlements that are surrounded by stone walls. The age of each town is classified by a generation pole and each family lives in compounds that are accessible only through gateways that require the visitor to enter on all fours thereby rendering any potential attackers vulnerable.Keep driving to Key Afer for the colorful Thursday market where we should see and photographed the Ari, Bena, Hamer and Tsemay people. The Bena and Hamer women usually favour red clay braids in their hair, shiny with butter and perfumed with incense. The long beaded skirts of the Tsemay have a stick incorporated in the back to denote a married woman and the men have elaborately plaited hairstyles decorated with feathers and colourful beads. After visiting the market we drive on to Jinka, often called the gateway to the Mursi Villages.
VISIT THE MURSI TRIBES IN MAGO NATIONAL PARK
Early morning drive to Mago National Park, from here, visit the Mursi highlands where the most illustrious of Ethiopia’s unique tribes lives. The Mursi are known all over the world, for their decorative lip plates that adorn the lower lips of the Mursi women. The plates stretch the lower lip beyond imagination and the women’s beauty , pride and desirability is determined in direct proportion to the size of the plate. The Mursi men and women may appear gracious but the Mursi warriors are not to be sneezed at. On their arms are deep crescent incisions that represent each enemy they have killed in battle. The men are also famous for their hairstyle. The various cultural aspects of the tribe will be explained and you will be able to take their photographs but not for free. Back to Jinka for your lunch and afternoon go to the Ari Village near by the town of Jinka for experiencing and learning the culture of Ari tribe and explore how they make their traditional homemade alcoholic drinks.
DRIVE TO TURMI AND VISIT THE HAMER TRIBES
This day, we will continue driving through the Omo Valley region to Turmi via Dimeka. The Hamer tribe is one of the largest groups in the Valley. The Hamer cultivate millet, vegetables, tobacco and cotton as well as raising cattle and goats. They are known for the fine pottery they produce as well as their remarkable hairstyling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men don when they have killed a fierce animal. The Hamer women are simply stunning. The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms and decorate their skin with cowry shells. These decorations indicate the wealth and prestige of a woman’s husband.
TURMI – MURULLE – TURMI
This day morning, we continue through the savannah along tracks that are barely visible, passing through a vast meadowland with shrubs and umbellifers (‘umbrella’ acacia trees) for an excursion to the Murulle area. We arrive at Korcho village with beautiful views over the Omo River to see the Karo ethnic group, experts in body painting, using clay and locally available vegetable pigments to paint fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs have no special symbolic significance, but are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to out-do their fellow artists. Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre “caps” of hair usually containing several ostrich feathers. En route have a picnic lunch. We then drive back to the village of Turmi.
EXCURSION TO OMORATE
This morning we start driving south to Omorate to visit another tribe, the Dasenech (formerly known as Geleb), and one of their villages. These people inhabit the areas bordering with Kenya, north of Lake Turkana, and they live on the east and west bank of the Omo River. They are agro-pastoralist and herd cattle and practice flood retreat cultivation on both sides of the river. The Geleb Covering a large territory, the Geleb live along the western banks of the Omo River, having been forced out of the Turkana region by conflict in the 18th century. Originally nomadic pastoralists, the more fertile surroundings of the Omo River has caused them to put down more permanent roots based around fishing and agriculture. The Geleb live in small huts that befit their nomadic origins, as they could be easily and quickly dismantled. Women wear a pleated cow skin skirt with necklaces and bracelets. Men wear a checkered cloth around their waist only.Then drive back to our base Turmi
DRIVE FROM TURMI TO YABELLO
This day we will drive to Yabello visiting the Erbore people en route. After lunch stop at Konso, continue to the region of Oromo Borena and visit their village. The drive this day will let you to experience the life of the Oromo Borena People who is well known in cattle rearing. We also visit the Oromo Borena People villages and their ‘singing well’ from which they cater water to their own thousands of cattle by singing.
EXCURSION TO EL SOD CRATER LAKE
This morning we will proceed to the crater lake of El Sod,known locally as the House of Salt. El Sod’s deep crater is famous for the black salt that has been extracted from its inky depths for centuries. We will view the lake from the rim and take a short walk along the top. Probably, ubiquitous donkeys can still be seen winding their way up the side of the crater loaded with the valuable mineral. Then, we will drive back to Yabello, famed for its unique position as home for two of Ethiopia’s Endemic birds; the white-tailed swallow and Stresemann’s bush crow. These birds can only be found in the acacia scrubland around Yabello.
DRIVE TO YIRGALEM
Today we drive to Yiregalem over a beautiful Sidamo mountains and coffee plantation. On the way, we stop at Wenago to visit the Tutu Fella stelae field – an unusual collection of carved stones.Little is known about the origin of these stelae or the reason for their erection, though it is thought that they date from the 9th century. This is a driving day to make it to our traditional Sidamo style lodge. We can take a short walk in the late afternoon through the lovely natural eco-system and admire the Sidama Coffee farm.
DRIVE BACK TO ADDIS ABABA AND DEPARTURE
This day, we drive to the Lake Awassa, one of the Rift Valley Lakes. keep driving to Addis and enjoy more of the Rift Valley landscape and the stunning views over the Lakes of Abijata and Shala. We have the possibility of visiting the Ostrich farm at Abijata Shala National Park. We will arrive in Addis Ababa in early afternoon and transfer to the Hotel and have a room as a day use for wash/change and get ready for the evening flight. You might be interested for the last minute souvenir shopping at the markets. In the evening, we will go out to one of the best cultural restaurant for the Farewell Dinner at traditional restaurant with live traditional dances program. Then, we will transfer to airport for flight home. The trip ends here.