ENQUIRE

TRIBES & WILDLIFE OF ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is home to some of the most interesting tribal communities in Africa. Visit the bee-hive dwellings of the Dorze, meet the Karo's who decorate their bodies and hair, watch the 'Bull Jumping' of the Hamer men. Continue to the Sanetti Plateau, home to Simien wolf, the golden jackal and the Abyssinian hare.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Watching the Hamer 'Bull Jumping'.
  • Meeting the Mursi ladies, known for their lip adornments.
  • Seeing the wildlife, such as warthog, guerza monkey and Simien wolf.
£4,295
per person

Price from

SAMANTHA GEE

Africa Specialist

VIEW PROFILE

  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Arrive in Addis Ababa

    Arrive at Bole International Airport and take a city tour to include a visit to the National Museum. After checking in to your hotel, continue your exploration of Addis, including the Ethnographic Museum, St George's Cathedral and a panoramic view of the capital from the Entoto Mountain.

    Overnight: The Sheraton

  3. Day 2 Addis Ababa - Arbaminch

    Depart early from the hotel, for the drive to Arba Minch (450km, 8 hours), via the 10th century stone stelae of Tiya and Butajira. Enjoy dinner at Soma Restaurant.

    Overnight: Swaynes Hotel or Paradise Lodge

  4. Day 3 Arbaminch

    After breakfast, drive up to Chencha. The town is set at an altitude of 2,900m in the Guge Hills north of Arbaminch. A dramatic series of switchbacks that take you 1,600m higher in a mere 22 km, brings you to the home of the Dorze people, who are renowned as cotton weavers. Here, the bee-hive-shaped dwellings stand up to 6 m tall and are constructed entirely from organic materials bamboo sticks, grass and enset (similar to banana) . These are among the most distinctive traditional structures to be seen anywhere in Africa. The main concentration of traditional houses is at the village of Dorze, where you may also make a stop. After lunch, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to the Crocodile Market.

    Overnight: Swaynes Hotel or Paradise Lodge

  5. Day 4 Arbaminch - Jinka (250 km 8 hours)

    Drive from Arbaminch to Jinka via Konso and Woyito. On the way, at Berhaile/Woyito, you will see the friendly Tsemai Tribe. Lunch at Woyito. After lunch, proceed to Jinka stopping en route to visit the beautiful Thursday Make of the Ari Tribes.

    Overnight: Jinka Resort or Eco Omo Lodge

  6. Day 5 Jinka - Mago - Jinka - Turmi 

    Early morning, continue from Jinka to Mago National Park (200km - 4 hours). Meet your Park Scout and continue to the village of the Mursi Tribes. The Mursi Tribes are one of the tribes in South Ethiopia, whose ladies mutilate their lips as a sign of beauty. After your visit, continue back to Jinka and on to Turmi (127km - 3 hours).

    Overnight: Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge

  7. Day 6 Turmi - Murule - Dimeka - Turmi

    After breakfast, drive from Turmi to Murule to visit the Karo tribes who live by the side of the Omo River. This morning, you will visit the village of the Karo Tribe, noted for their hair decoration, body painting and unique style of dressing. En route you will stop at a few of the Southern Ethiopian villages as well as visiting Dimeka to see the Hamer Market (subject to date of travel). A picnic lunch box will be provided at Dimeka. The Hamer tribe is handsome, photogenic and friendly. The Karo and The Hamer are related in culture and they are the only people in the Omo Valley who allow marriage in between two tribes (Hamer and Karo). Like all small ethnic groups of the far South Omo area, they practice a combination of pastoralism and shifting agriculture mainly rain-fed. The main part of their life and economy is based on cattle herding and great wealth is measured by the number of cattle owned. These people are very famous for their hair styles, body painting and the rarely seen but always remembered 'Bull Jumping'. Young men may choose their brides after successfully completing a Bull jump. Continue back to Turmi at the end of the day (196km - 4 hours).

    Overnight: Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge

  8. Day 7 Turmi - Arbaminch 

    After breakfast, drive to Arbaminch via Er-bore, home to the Er-bore tribe (291km - 6 hours). They are closely related to the Borena Oromo and share their unique adornments such as aluminium bead necklaces. Proceed to Arbaminch stopping en route to visit traditional houses in Konso.

    Overnight: Swaynes Hotel or Paradise Lodge

  9. Day 8 Arba Minch - Lake Awassa

    After breakfast, drive from Arbaminch to the lakeside city of Awassa (285km - 5 to 6 hours). On the way pass through land which produces the best banana, papaya, apple and mango in Ethiopia for the world market. With a population of over 80,000, Awassa is the largest city in southern Ethiopia and sits at an altitude of 1,685m. Lake Awassa is the smallest of the Rift Valley lakes in Ethiopia. Set in a volcanic caldera, it has no outlet, yet the water remains fresh and supports a rich variety of plankton and an abundance of fish. The dense scrub and fig woodland along the shore is well-preserved and teems with birds and monkeys.

    Overnight: Haile Resort or Lewi Resort

  10. Day 9 Awassa - Goba (Bale) 

    There will be an early-morning birding walk along Lake Awassa. After breakfast, head off for the Bale Mountains National Park, which lies in the highlands to the east of the Rift Valley (270km - 5 hours). The park protects Ethiopia's second-highest mountain range, including Mount Tullo Deemtu, which at 4,377 m is the second highest peak in Ethiopia. The main attractions of the park are the wild alpine scenery, particularly at the 4,000m Sanetti Plateau, and the opportunity to see up to 15 endemic bird species, as well as unique wildlife such as the Simien wolf and mountain Nyala. The Bale Highlands are very green, cool by day and often very cold at night. At the sprawling town of Shashemene, north of Awassa, we proceed east and travel via the towns of Kofele, Dodola and Adaba. From here on you will be treated to some of the most spectacular landscapes in southern Ethiopia: craggy peaks interspersed with streams and waterfalls, as well as wonderful wildflower displays - fields of blue and yellow wildflowers and stands of red-hot poker. A few kilometres before entering Dinsho, the road passes briefly through the Gaysay sector of Bale, where you are almost certain to see our first mountain Nyala and perhaps even a Simien wolf, and many fascinating birds including the endemic Rouget's Rail. A stop will be made at the park headquarters just beyond Dinsho, where there will be time to do the walking trail that leads through the surrounding juniper forest. It protects the main concentration of Bale's mountain Nyala, an exceptionally handsome antelope. You should also see Menelik's bushbuck, a species endemic to Ethiopia - superficially similar to the mountain Nyala, but much smaller. Also look out for warthog, bohor reedbuck and guerza monkeys. An unusual plant in the Dinsho area is the white-flowered Abyssinian rose, the only flowering rose indigenous to Africa. The main habitats protected by Bale are African juniper and the fragrant Hagenia abyssinica woodland, montane forest and Afro-alpine moorland. The juniper-hagenia woodland lies at an elevation of between 2,500m and 3,300m and is mostly found on northern slopes, such as around the park headquarters. At similar elevations on the southern slopes the vast Harenna Forest is the park's main stand of Afro-montane forest. The Afro-alpine moorland is found at above 3,500m, with the most extensive patches on the Sanetti Plateau. Dinsho is an excellent spot for montane forest endemic birds, while the Sanetti Plateau is the best place in Ethiopia to see highland endemics and unusual migrant raptors. Later in the afternoon continue to Goba via the town of Robe. Goba is the capital of the region and lies in the cool, breezy foothills of the Sanetti Plateau.

    Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge

  11. Day 10 Sanetti Plateau

    After breakfast continue to the Sanetti Plateau, the highest point in the Bale National Park. It is cited as Africa's largest expanse of Afro-alpine moorland, a montane habitat confined to altitudes of 3,500 to 4,500 m on East Africa's tallest mountains. Because such habitats are isolated, they tend to display a very high degree of endemism, and Sanetti is no exception. From Goba we climb 1,300m. After 13 km we will be surrounded by clumped grey heather interspersed with lichen covered rocks and stands of giant lobelia. About halfway across the plateau the road skirts a series of crystal-clear tarns. Simien wolves are unexpectedly common and, with luck, you will enjoy close-up views of Africa's rarest canid. The wolf is far more common here than in the Simien Mountains in the north. The wolf population of around 400 was only made known to science in 1959. Generally they are very approachable and offer superb photo opportunities. Other characteristic mammals of the plateau are golden jackal, klipspringer, the Abyssinian hare, the endemic giant molerat, and a number of other small endemic burrowing rodents. The plateau also offers great birding opportunities: look for endemics such as blue-winged goose, spot-breasted lapwing and Rouget's rail, all of which are common here. At the Southern end of the Sanetti Plateau, the Harenna Forest Escarpment affords an astounding view of the forest almost 2,000m below. Return to the Lodge for the night.

    Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge

  12. Day 11 Bale Mountains

    Continue your exploration of the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Bale Mountains.

    Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge

  13. Day 12 Goba - Addis Ababa 

    Depart Goba for Dodola travelling via Dinsho and Adaba (400km - 7 to 8 hours). Here we turn north to travel along a scenic route that takes us through hilly countryside, initially still sporting the yellow and orange alloes that are characteristic of the Bale area, as well as large rural homesteads ringed by neat mud and euphorbia enclosures. After passing through Bekoji, continue through frosty moorland covered in heath-like plants. Bird enthusiasts should keep an eye open for wattled ibis and Abyssinian longclaw. The next town is Asela, capital of the Arsi Zone. The area is notable for its fertile, extensively cultivated hills, where millet and maize fields are interspersed with stands of trees. The orderly green slopes are reminiscent of the English countryside. Arrive at the sizeable, friendly and unusually modern-looking town of Nazret, on the fertile plateau that divides the Rift Valley from the central highlands. Here, join the surfaced road to Addis Ababa, 100 km distant. En route, pass through Debre Zeyit, the site of the famous victory by Ahmed Gragn over Emperor Lebna Dengal in 1529, which cleared the way for the region to be occupied by the Oromo. Further along see Mount Yerer, a four million-year-old extinct volcano set on the western Rift Valley wall. In Addis Ababa enjoy a farewell dinner with traditional dance in an Ethiopian restaurant.

    Overnight: The Sheraton

  14. Day 13 Depart Ethiopia

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.

  15. Depart

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