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10 Days Cultural Safari in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Breathtaking Ethiopia Safari

If you are looking for an unforgettable holiday, you must try this safari and cultural adventure in Ethiopia! ME Tour and Travel is thrilled at the prospect of showing you the world as you've never seen it. Grab the chance to go on a safari that enables you to see Ethiopia's abundant species of wild animals and bird life. This tour will also brings you to meet various Ethiopian tribes and witness the rich culture that Ethiopia has to offer.

Highlights

  • Birdwatching opportunity
  • Crocodiles & hippos viewing
  • A scenic boat ride on Lake Chamo
  • A day trip in Mago National Park
  • 9 nights' accommodation
  • Daily breakfasts

Styles


9 activity days in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
Airport transfer included: Bole International Airport
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Accommodation

During this safari, you will be staying at various accommodations. The accommodation on day one will be at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Paradise Lodge or similar in Arbaminch for day three, Eco-Omo Lodge or similar in Jinka for day four and five, Buska Lodge or Emerald lodge in Turmi for day six, Buska Lodge or Turmi Lodge in Turmi for day seven and eight, and Paradise Lodge or similar in Arbaminch for day nine.

Program

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arriving at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Ethiopia, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel in the capital city. Addis Ababa, located at the foot of the Entoto Mountains, was founded in 1886 by Emperor Menekil and is today a place of contrasts where colonial buildings, old churches, historic monuments, dusty shacks and high-rise buildings stand together. Addis is a major political, economic and diplomatic hub with a cosmopolitan feel, offering interesting sights including the national and ethnological museums, Trinity Cathedral and Merkato, one of Africa's largest open-air markets. Begin your journey through the ancient lands of Ethiopia - one of the oldest inhabited regions on earth - by exploring the historical and modern facets of the big city.

  • Accommodation: Four-star or five-star hotel based on your choice

Day 2: Addis Ababa to Lake Awassa

Day two starts with breakfast at the hotel, before setting off south along the Ethiopian Rift Valley. The four-hour drive takes you via the town of Debre Zeit, passing Koka Reservoir on the Awash River and the freshwater Lake Zway, known for its birds and hippos. Then you pass Lake Langano, a popular spot for water sports and swimming.

Then you ascend to the more lush Shashamene area of the Oromia Region, heading to Awassa in the Great Rift Valley. The capital of the southern region of Ethiopia, Awassa town lies on the shores of the scenic Lake Awasa. The lake attracts an abundance of birds, and hippos are common.

Day 3: Lake Awassa to Arba Minch (Dorze tribe)

Begin the day with a stop at the Lake Awassa fish market, before traveling to Arba Minch, which means 'forty springs' in Amharic due to the numerous springs found in the area. Driving up into the Gughe Mountains, you will visit the Dorze, a minority ethnic group known for its cotton weaving, carpentry and beehive huts. The huts, made entirely from local materials (bamboo, enset and other), reach up to two storeys tall, even featuring fireplaces. Dorze were originally warriors but today these hard-working people primarily weave clothes using colourful cotton. Depending on timing, you may visit a local market, with market days in Dorze village on Mondays and Thursdays and in nearby Chencha on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

  • Accommodation: Paradise Lodge or similar

Day 4: Lake Chamo to Jinka (Omo Valley tribes)

This morning you take a scenic boat ride on Lake Chamo, located in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, just south of Lake Abaya and Arba Minch. The plentiful Nile crocodiles in Lake Chamo are said to be some of the biggest in the world. The boat trip allows you to see the resident crocodiles, hippos, and numerous birds, especially African fish eagle. Lake Chamo is one of the best places in Ethiopia for boat-based bird and wildlife watching. The local people can also be seen fishing in traditional boats on Lake Chamo, despite the crocodile infested waters.

Then you set off for Jinka, stopping in the market town of Key Afer, famous for its weekly market held every Thursday. The Key Afer Market is a bustling place where various dwindling tribes of the Omo Region come together to sell and buy goods. Ari, Tsemai, Hamar and Benna people can be seen mixing in the colourful marketplace - a great place for people watching. All kinds of goods are sold at the market, including crafts, jewellery and spices. Then you drive on to Jinka, another market town in the hills of southern Ethiopia. You spend the next night in Jinka, the capital of the Debub Omo Zone inhabited largely by the Mursi people.

  • Accommodation: Eco-Omo Lodge or similar

Day 5: Mursi Village and Jinka (Mursi tribe)

After breakfast on day five, you embark on a day trip to Mago National Park, located about 34 km's southwest of Jinka. Ethiopia's youngest national park, Mago is famous for the traditional tribes living in and around the park - from Mursi, Aari, Benna and Hammer to Ngagatom, Karo and Kwegu ethnic groups. The best known of the tribes living in Mago are the striking Mursi with their distinctive body ornamentation (lip plates, piercings and facial painting). The Mursi women insert discs into their lower lips adding to their unusual appearance and style of dress - adorned with beads, strange and elaborate headdresses and scant beaded, leather clothes.

Returning to Jinka, you visit the South-Omo Museum, for cultural insights into the diverse ethnic groups of Omo Valley, their disappearing rituals, customs and ways. If your stay coincides with market days (Tuesdays and Saturdays) you will also browse the local market in Jinka.

  • Accommodation: Eco-Omo Lodge or similar

Day 6: Jinka to Turmi (Hamer tribe)

On day six, you drive south to the next market town in the lower Omo Valley - Turmi. A large population of Hamer (or Hamar) lives in Turmi and after dinner at the lodge, you head to a nearby village to interact with these fascinating people. You watch traditional dancing, called Evangadi, in the Hamar village and see the elaborate hairstyles, body scarification and beads worn by the women. The Hamer are cattle herders and subsistence farmers, living in unique huts, mostly in the Omo Valley Region. The tribe is best known for it's ceremony called the "Jumping of the Bulls", a rite of passage for young men entering adulthood. If day six is a Tuesday or Saturday, you stop in Dimeka, the largest town of the Hamer, and visit the bustling market. One of the biggest and most interesting markets in the Omo Valley, the Hamer, Benna, Karo, Tsemai and Ari tribes can be seen trading and shopping here.

  • Accommodation: Buska Lodge or Emerald lodge

Day 7: Turmi and Omorate (Desanech tribe)

Today, you drive to Omorate, located along the eastern bank of the Omo River close to the Kenyan border. Crossing the Omo River by local boat you visit the Dasennech (or Dasenach) tribe living in the southernmost part of Omo Valley. As with other ancient pastoral tribes in the Great Rift Valley, the Dasenach place a high value on cattle, but unlike more northerly tribes the Dasenach survive in an inhospitable, dry environment. After visiting the Dasennech, you drive back to Turmi where you visit the market (only on Mondays) and spend time in a local village near the town. If there is a traditional ceremony, such as the famous Jumping of the Bulls, then you get to witness the Hamar rituals in practice.

  • Accommodation: Buska Lodge or Turmi Lodge

Day 8: Murulle and Dus (Karo tribe)

This morning you set off for Murulle village and the Karo settlement of Dus. The Karo use red ochre, charcoal, mud and a mixture of white chalk and animal fat to paint symbolic patterns and decorative markings on their faces and bodies. This striking and often extensive body art is intended to intimidate enemies, mark ceremonies and attract the opposite sex. Both sexes also practice scarification associated with courage and beauty. In Dus, you see shuppa shelters, locals playing Karo board games and the public meeting place. You end the day back in Turmi where you witness a traditional ceremony or dancing.

  • Accommodation: Buska Lodge or Turmi Lodge

Day 9: Turmi to Konso and Arba Minch (Konso tribe)

Begin the day with breakfast, before you drive north to Konso and then Arba Minch. In Konso village, you meet the agricultural tribe of the Konso, who cultivate cash and subsistence crops on terraces that reduce soil erosion. The Konso people have an interesting system of social hierarchy and practice a specific form of polygamy. The Konso are renowned for the carved wooden totems (called wakas) erected to mark the graves of leaders in honour of the dead. Part of the arid Konso area has been declared a World Heritage Site home to a living cultural tradition some 400 years old. After visiting the Konso, you continue your journey back to Arba Minch.

  • Accommodation: Paradise Lodge or similar

Day 10: Arba Minch to Addis Ababa

On the final day, you have breakfast and return north to Addis Ababa, driving via Butajira at the foot of the Zebidar massif. This evening, you get together for a celebratory dinner, enjoying a traditional buffet and local drinks in Ethiopian style. After your cultural dinner experience, it is time to say farewell and transfer you to the international airport for your onward travels.

Location

Ethiopia is a unique and secluded country. It has never been colonized by a European power, and as a result the people have retained a strong cultural identity and are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. It possesses some of the most impressive architecture found anywhere, particularly at Lalibela, where the rock-hewn churches have been described as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The landscape is equally memorable and Ethiopia is home to some of the finest mountain scenery in Africa. The Simien Mountains, famed for their volcanic pinnacles, are particularly beautiful. This World Heritage Site is home to the Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboons and the rare Ethiopian Wolf. Festivals in Ethiopia are colorful events with plenty of pageantry, music and dancing.

Ethiopia, as large as France and Spain combined, has an area of 1.112.000 square kilometres. About 65 percent of the land is arable, with 15 percent presently cultivated. From the north and running down the center are the Abyssinian highlands, to the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east to the deserts of the afar. South of Addis Ababa the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes. The main rivers are the Blue Nile, the Tekezze, the Awash, the Wabe Shabele, the Omo, and the Baro.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Cultural tour
  • Vehicle rent with fuel
  • Scout / security
  • Road leader
  • Daily breakfast
  • 9 nights' accommodation
  • Soft drinks and highland water
  • Chef
  • Take away foods and water / spaghetti and macaroni with bread
  • Gojo bet rent
  • Cleaner and chef helper in afar
  • Kitchen rent
  • Entrance fees
  • Escort guide fee
  • Local guide fees

What's not included

  • International and domestic flight
  • Lunch and dinner
  • Alcoholic beverage
  • Tips
  • Souvenir shops expense
  • Cultural restaurant fees / night club

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD). Transfer from the airport is included. ME Tour and Travel will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Bole International Airport Airport transfer included: Bole International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 15 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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