Venture south to visit the indigenous tribes of Ethiopia’s famous Omo Valley. Wander though one of the markets where various tribes gather every week to barter for spices, clothes, food and more. Visit the Hamer people whose women decorate their hair with red clay. Walk through an Ari village where members will show you different aspects of their daily lives: cooking, brewing and making pottery. Follow the winding path through a Konso village, each built in concentric rings down from a hilltop. From the Omo travel to the Bale Mountains National Park home to five distinct habitats. View wildlife such as Mountain Nyalas, Bushbucks, monkeys and possibly the endemic Ethiopian Red Wolf that numbers less than 500 and is Africa’s rarest carnivore.
Arrive at Bole International Airport. A representative will meet you and take you to your hotel.
Tour the Ethnographic Museum, a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history. Visit the National Museum, home of the 3 million year old skeleton, “Lucy.” Visit the Mercato, one of Africa’s largest outdoor markets and Trinity Cathedral, the resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. Drive to the Entoto Hills for a panoramic view of Addis Ababa.
Take an early afternoon flight to Arba Minch, the gateway to the Omo Valley. Upon arrival, meet with your guide and driver. Drive to a Dorze village in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze are known for their tall, beehive-shaped bamboo houses. If the base becomes infested with termites, the entire house can be lifted and moved to another location. Return to Arba Minch for the night.
Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo and view some of the largest crocodiles in the world sunning on the banks of the lake. Hippopotami and birdlife are also abundant. Drive to Jinka through areas inhabited by various peoples such as the Konso, Tseme, Benna and Ari. Stop at Key Afar’s weekly market and wander among the various tribes that have gathered to barter their goods. Continue to Jinka.
Early morning drive to the Mago National Park to visit the Mursi people. The Mursi women are known for the clay plates they insert into their lower lips. Visit the Omo Valley Museum in Jinka.
Visit the Jinka weekly market and an Ari village. Drive to Turmi, via the Demeka Market where the Hamer and Konso people trade. Visit Turmi, home of the Hamer people, known for their body decorations and the clay and ochre that they put in their hair.
Excursion to Omorate. Cross the Omo River via a traditional canoe to visit the Dasanch Tribe. Return to Turmi stopping at the Demeka market where the Hamer and Karo people trade.
Visit the weekly Turmi market. Drive to Konso, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A highland people, the Konso are known for the ancient and intricate terraces that encircle their well-planned villages. Monday is market day in Konso.
Drive to the lakeside town of Hawassa. Relax and rest from your journey at one of Hawassa’s fine resorts.
Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park. In the afternoon, arrive at the park headquarters in in time for a leisurely afternoon hike, possibly spotting two endemic mammals that frequent the area: Menelik’s Bushbuck and the Mountain Nyala. Birds in this area include the Blue-Winged Goose, the Spot- Breasted Lapwing, the Abyssinian Long Claw, the Wattled Ibis, the Black-Headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, and numerous other species. Continue to the Bale Mountain Lodge.
Drive to the Sanetti Plateau, the best place to see the rare Ethiopian Wolf. Migratory birds such as the Ruddy Shelduck and Wattled Crane might also be visible. The Sanetti Plateau is the world’s largest expanse of Afro-Alpine moorland. Explore the Harenna Forest in the southern end of the park. The Harenna Escarpment towers 2000m above the edge of the forest and provides stunning views. Return to the Bale Mountain Lodge for the night.
Return to Addis Ababa. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s many ethnic groups. Transfer to the airport for a late night departure or additional hotel night booked upon request.