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The Lower Omo is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups. Join Witness Ethiopia Tours on a fascinating tour to the south Omo Valley where a mosaic of indigenous tribes, intriguing cultural value, beautiful landscape, and diversified tribes with their own unique village settlements for a century. This trip is carefully designed to offer you the best of Omo Valley with the exceptional experience of the local villagers’ interaction with visiting one of the tribe’s family houses as a guest. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture, and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. This package will also offer you to explore the best possible exotic and colorful weekly traditional markets that add unique value for your holiday.
You will be staying in a double bedroom. The accommodations will be at Jupiter Hotel on day one, eight, and nine in Addis Ababa, Paradise Lodge on day two and seven in Arba Minch, Kanta Lodge on day three in Konso, Eco Omo Lodge on day four in Jinka, and Buska Lodge on day five and six in Turmi.
You will arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (BDD) with Ethiopian Airlines. Upon arrival, you will be transferred and taken the hotel Jupiter for your overnight. Short brief of the north Ethiopia tour will be given by Witness Ethiopia Tours representative in the hotel.
Today, you will drive in a 4x4 vehicle to the Rift Valley lakes region and you will have a short stop at one of the crater lakes of Debre Zeit, Lake Bishoftu, then you will continue driving further southwards en-route visiting the Rift Valley Lakes of Ziway, rich in birdlife and local fish market. Afterward, you will continue to Wolayta Sodo and have a short break for lunch and then you will continue driving to Arba Minch, the city of forty springs, the gateway to the indigenous people and the largest trading center in the south. Your hotel will be situated high above the national park with a magnificent view of the color as different lakes.
You will have a boat excursion on Lake Chamo to see the biggest African crocodiles and hippopotamus as well as beautiful aquatic birds including the lovely kingfisher and fish eagle. Then, you will drive to Konso en-route visiting different cultural people and their villages which includes Gamo, Derashe, and Konso people and undulating landscape of Konso and the surrounding area. Afterward, you will check in to the hotel and go to one Konso people village. The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing, unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. The consolidation created a unique cultural landscape by terracing the hill slopes to the intensive cultivation and irrigation of crops. The unusual interaction between man and nature was honored in June 2011 with the appointment as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You will visit one village of the Konso people and drive to the colorful KeyAfer Market before Jinka. Today's market, KeyAfer, is a popular meeting place for the peoples of this region, but also members of the Banna people flock from all directions on the main square to sell vegetables, spices, butter, and milk and to find out the news. Here, you will find ornate gourds. They decorate themselves with samples of clay. At the colorful weakly KeyAfer Market, you will see more than four different tribes including Hammer, Benna, and Ari in traditional marketing activities and display their local handicrafts. You will have a good opportunity to bargain for varieties of handicrafts.
Today, you will cross the Mago National Park to the land of the Mursi. The first arduous trip will be rewarded with the sight of the vast plain on the Mursi Hills. The Mursi men are renowned warriors and whose women are famous for the lip plates which is highly considered as a sign of beauty. The Mursi live in the dry season on the western slopes of the Omo and grow Sorghum, corn, and vegetables. They spend the rainy season with their cattle herds in the Tama steppe. Thereafter, you will return back to Jinka town for lunch and drive to Turmi.
You will drive to Omorate about 70 kilometers southwest of Turmi and visit the tribe of Dasenech. Omorate lies on the banks of the Omo. A dugout canoe will take you across the river to a settlement or the Dasanech / Galeb. The semi-nomadic protect their light huts and cattle with thorns from wild animals. The men wear ivory pegs in the lower lip or ear lobe scars and jewelry. They show their victories with Tonkappen in her hair. Then, you will drive back to Turmi for lunch. In Turmi villages, you may have the chance to enjoy the seasonal cultural activities including Evangadi (Hammer dancing) and luckily you may get the chance to see the famous “Bull Jumping of Hammers”. It is an initiation ritual before a wedding. An expense is covered by tourists, not by the company for this special events.
You will drive to Arba Minch. Along the way, you will stop at the Erbore settlements with their very special huts and some local markets and villages. The town of Erbore lies in an area where several tribal boundaries converge because the Erbore people routinely intermarry with other ethnic groups like the Guji and Borena Oromo, The Hammer and the Tsemai. It is also inhabited by a substantial number of Hammer and even Borena women - adding a cosmopolitan feel to the area.
Today, you will drive to the Dorze Hills to visit the wonderful traditional villages of the Dorze people. Then, you will drive continues via the rift valley region through Hadiya and Kembata people region to Langano. In the evening, the Witness Ethiopia Tours’ team will invite you in traditional dinner with a beautiful dance performance at the end in one of the best Ethiopian traditional restaurants in Addis (end of the tour).
You will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to home.
Note: For six persons and more, English-speaking tourist guide will be assigned to travel with the group throughout the trip.
You will discover several places in Ethiopia including Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Konso, Jinka, Mago, Turmi, Omorate, and Langano. The natural beauty of Ethiopia amazes the first-time visitor.
Ethiopia is a land of rugged mountains ( some 25 are over 4000 meters high) broad savannah, lakes, and rivers. The unique Rift Valley is a remarkable region of volcanic lakes, with their famous collections of birdlife, great escarpments, and stunning vistas. Tisisat, the Blue Nile falls, must rank as one of the greatest natural spectacles in Africa today.
With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a microcosm of the entire sub-Saharan ecosystem. Birdlife abounds and indigenous animals from the rare walia ibex to the shy wild ass roam free just as nature intended. Ethiopia, after the rains, is a land decked with flowers and with many more native plants than most countries in Africa.
About 860 species of birds (9.5% of the world's and 39% of Africa's bird population) live in the highlands, lowlands, river banks, wetlands, dams, lakes, forests, shrubs, and grasslands of Ethiopia. The number of diversity and color of birds found in the country has a power to interest even the nonbirders. With regards to the number of species, Ethiopia stands next to South Africa, but the country possesses a higher number of endemics and semi-endemics which it shares with Eritrea.
Some of the spots which could be of interest to bird watchers include Geferssa, Debrelibanos, Abijata - Shala National Park, Lake Ziway, Bale Mountains, Lake Awassa, Lake Awassa, Lake Chamo, Lake Chitoo, Cheleklaka Wet Land, Koka Dam, Wendo Genet, Awash Nationa Park, Lake Langano, Bishangari, Yabello, Negele, Sof Omar, Jemma Valley, Alem Ketema, Ankober, Sululta Plains, Menagesha, Akaki wetlands, and Gibe Gorge.
The Gelada Baboon, one of the seven endemic mammals of Ethiopia, is one of the most fascinating:It is described - of all the non-human primates, it is the most dexterous, lives in large social groups (up to 800), feeds on grass, has its "sexual skins" on its chest and not on its bottom, has the most complex social system and communication, the female decides who is boss, the young males form bachelor groups, the older males perform a kind of grandfather role looking after the young. In fact, this animal is believed to be not a baboon. It makes up its own genus of monkey.
Prince Ruspoli's Turaco is often described as the rarest, most beautiful, most enigmatic and Ethiopia's most elusive bird. First discovered in 1890s, disappeared for almost 50 years, and reappeared in 1940s, again disappeared for almost 30 years and reappears in 1970s. Almost nothing is known about the species, and its nest and eggs have never been seen. However, recent sightseeings in Yabelo Region suggests that the bird may not after all be as elusive as it would have us believe.
Ethiopia is truly a land of contrasts and extremes - a land of remote and wild places. Some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent are found here such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and some of the lowest, such as the hot but fascinating Danakil Depression with its sulfur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape. Ethiopia is also a land of natural contrasts from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains (4,543 meters) to the depths of the Danakil Depression which at 116 meters below sea level, there is one of the lowest dry land points on earth.
The cornucopia of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes: Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,300 meters, deserts sprinkled with salt flats and yellow sulphur, lake lands with rare and beautiful birds, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, white-water rivers, savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle. With over 83 different peoples, the cultures of our communities are prominent in the lifestyle.
With traditions going back to the days of Axum and a strong religious setting, celebrations, and festivals play an important part in the daily lives. The major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam which are co-existed for the centuries. The greatest festival is Timket (Epiphany), where tourists are welcome to celebrate. However, other festivals such as Enkutatash (the Ethiopian New Year in September after the rains), Maskal, Gena (Christmas), Id, and Easter are all glorious celebrations.
Please remember when checking any dates that Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar and Ethiopia is unique in having thirteen months. The traditional calendar remains almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar of the West. The Ethiopian economy is predominantly agricultural where agriculture accounts for the majority of exports and employment. The main exports are coffee, flowers, oilseeds, chat, pulses, hides, and skins.
The 'new flower’ Addis Ababa (the name means 'new flower'), the Ethiopian capital, is a delightful place to explore. It is a city of surprises characterized by remarkable diversity and contrasts. It is of fairly recent origin - Menelik II founded the city in 1886. Built in the foothills of Mount Entoto, the panorama of Addis Ababa from the 3,200-meter peak either by day or night is a breathtaking spectacle. The neighboring Church of St. Mary (1,885) overlooks the entire city and the surrounding area. Addis Ababa is very hilly and sits more than 2,200 meters high, 9 degrees north of the Equator. Nestled in the central mountain region, in Shewa Province, on the western ridge of the Great Rift Valley, Addis Ababa is the third highest city in the world.
The Mago national park is located southwest of Addis Ababa close to the Kenyan border. The park is on the eastern bank of Omo River, mainly grass savannah and some forested areas around the river, mostly seen are plain animals.
The Lower Valley of Omo is found in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State. The discovery of many human and animal fossils and stone tools in the valley has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. Omo is a river that is 760 kilometers long that stretches from the high lands of West Shoa to Lake Turkana, one of the Great Rift Valley lakes. The entire Omo river basin is an important geologically and archaeologically.
Several hominid fossils and archaeological localities have been excavated by French and American teams. The oldest ever found stone tools date back to about 2.4 million years ago. Because of its importance for the understanding of the human evolution the site was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1980.The area is also home to people with diverse cultures and natural beauty with national parks and an amazing flora and fauna.
You will be served breakfasts and dinners. Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the ritual of breaking "injera" and sharing food from a common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. The traditional way of eating is with fingers. "Injera" is placed on the plate with a variety of dishes decoratively arranged around it. A small portion of "Injera" is torn off and wrapped around a mouthful of the selected dish. "Injera", the staple bread, is a flatbread made of "Teff", a fine grain unique to Ethiopia.
"Wot" is dipping sauce which may be prepared using a variety of meats, fish, and vegetables. "Wot" is cooked with "Berbere" (Ethiopian seasoning prepared from matured red chili pepper and other exotic spices) which may range from very mild to spicy hot. "Alitcha" is more mildly spiced dipping sauce prepared with a variety of meats or vegetables. Ethiopian dishes are prepared with a distinctive variety of unique spices for an unforgettably striking dimension to exotic cookery.
Vegetarians should try “fasting food”, what Orthodox Christians eat during lent and other fasting periods, and which is free of meat and animal products. For those who find Ethiopian food too spicy, in Addis Ababa there are Greek, Chinese, Armenian, Indian, Hong Kong, Arabic, French and Italian restaurants. Outside Addis Ababa, European style food, particularly spaghetti (pasta), is available in all the large hotels.
Tella, a traditional beer brewed from barely or corn and hops, is a local drink generally unavailable in modern hotels and restaurants. Fermented sorghum known as borde is a dual-purpose food- drink among Ethiopia’s lowland peoples and pastoralists. In Addition, there are bottled Ethiopian beers, local wine and mineral water that most find to their liking.
You may see the famous “Bull Jumping of Hammers” on day 6 in Turmi
Bole International Airport
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