The Omo Valley Safari
An 11 day Omo Valley safari exploring Ethiopia’s southern tribal lands. From Addis Ababa we head south – a journey of iconic landmarks and tribal people.
Visit markets and explore villages of the Arbore, Karo, Hamar, Daasanach, Tsemay, Mursi, Konso, the Suri, Dorse, Bena and Ari people. A fascinating trip of discovery with some of Africa’s most ancient tribes.
- Addis Ababa
- Arba Minch
- Jinka, Turmi
- 11 days/10 nights
Highlights of the Omo Valley Safari
Driving south from Addis Ababa along the Rift Valley to Lake Lagano. Stopping to visit churches and the pre-historic archaeological site of Melka Kunture and the Stelae field of Tiya, World Heritage Site which typifies the country’s rich historical heritage.
Continuing south to the Omo Valley – home to the full diversity of the tribal groups in a further two World Heritage Sites: the Lower Valley of the Omo and the Konso Cultural Landscape.
We’ll visit the small but important market towns of Dimeka and Turmi where the Hamar, Benna and other tribal groups meet every week. Further exploration to tribal villages of the Mursi beyond Mago National Park, the Daasanach near Omorate, the Karo people, the Erbore nomads, the Borena and others.
This is a long road journey. A good exploration of the Omo Valley with enough time to reflect on some extraordinary experiences between stops.
Best time to explore the Omo Valley
Travel in South Omo is very dependent on the seasonal rains. Traditionally we have the short rain in October and then the long rain in April and May.
Traveling south of main Jinka-Konso road or through the Mago National Park is essentially impossible if there’s been a lot of rain about. If the rains are early or late it could mean that March to June is off-limits
- November through to March are the driest and hottest months
- July, August and September are the cooler months
We recommend this safari to seasoned travellers only
(Images by Trish Berry and Andy Richter courtesy Salem Alemayehu of Dinknesh, Addis Ababa.)
You'll be met on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International airport for transfer to the 4* Jupiter International Hotel in two superb locations in Addis Ababa’s Cazanchise area, within walking distance.
Drive south along the Rift Valley of Langoro to Sabana Beach Resort at Oromia for one night stay
Drive from Langano to the Paradise Lodge at Arba Minch for a two night stay
Drive to Chencha to the Dorze Village, lunch back at Arba Minch followed by a trip on Lake Chamo, one of the rift valley lakes
Drive 275 kms south to Jinka, stay at the Eco-Omo Safari Lodge. The drive should take between 6-7 hours including visits, photo stops and lunch
Head into the Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribe then back to Jinka to the cultural museum and your second night at the Eco-Omo Safari Lodge.
Drive to Turmi to the village of the Hamar people. Stay at Buska Lodge at Turmi for 2 nights.
Excursion to the Dasenech people - the country's most southern people
Drive to Yabello visiting the Erbore nomadic people. Stay at the Yabello Lodge.
Drive north to visit the Sidama and Borena people. Stay at the Tadesse Enjori or another similar hotel
Visit Lake Awassa's Fish Market, right on the shore. Drive back towards Addis Ababa stopping off at the Rift Valley Lakes of Abiyatta, Shalla, Ziway and Langano. Farewell dinner party.
Tips and notes
The Omo Valley safari at a glance:
- Meet the Mursi, Daasanach and Hamar people.
- explore the Legano’s Rift Valley Lake
- visit the rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam founded by King Lalibela (thought to be the most southerly church)
- visit the archaeological pre-historic site of Melka Kunture
- Lake Legano for bird watching and swimming
- meet the Alaba people
- Sinkile Wild life Sanctuary to see mammals including the endemic Swain’s hartebeest
- meet the Dorze people with their elephant shaped traditional bamboo hut made from false banana tree leaves and traditional weaving
- boat trip on one of the Rift Valley lakes – lake Chamo
- visit to the Crocodile Market with crocodile, hippos and aquatic birds
- visit the Konso people and village with their rock terraces and brightly coloured hand woven clothes
- see the Mago National Park, and meet the Mursi people with their clay lip plates
- Cultural Museum of the People of the Lower Omo Valley at Jinka
- meet the Hamer people. There’s a market here on Tuesday and Saturday
- visit the Dasenech on a trip to Omorate, these are the most southerly people
- the Karo people of Korcho (catch the market on Tuesday and Saturday)
- visit Dimeka for the Hamer peoples’ market
- meet the nomadic people of Erbore and Borena in their villages
- Lake Awassa’s shoreline ‘fish market’
- Langano’s chain of Rift Valley Lakes
- dinner party on the last evening before your flight connection, this is held in one of the best restaurants in Addis Ababa, for traditional Ethopian cuisine and folk dancing.
Included in the price:
- 9 nights in lodges and/or hotels all with en-suite bathrooms
- accommodation in a twin room based on two sharing
- all meals out of Addis, only breakfast in Addis
- transport in a fully kitted-out safari minibus
- meals as per the itinerary
- parks fees
- all entrance fees
- all transfer in and out services
- all ground transportation
- professional English speaking guide
- portage fees
- all local guides
- scout fees
- boat hire on lake Chamo
- Government tax
Excluded from the price
- International airfare
- lunch and dinner in Addis
- any alcoholic drinks
- personal expenses – like souvenirs, laundry, etc
PLEASE NOTE: A centuries old ruling states that women are not permitted to enter most of the monasteries.
How to get there
The safari starts and ends at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
A number of international airlines fly-in to Addis Ababa including South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and Ethiopian Airlines.
Speak to your Zambezi consultant if you require assistance with flight schedules.
You will be met on arrival for transfer to the 4* Jupiter International Hotel.
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