Southern Region

People and nature are the order of the day in the south. Wildlife and tribal peoples roam the beautiful landscapes while amazing birdlife, much of it endemic, flies above. Gear up and get ready to explore the real Africa. Lower lip plate optional.


For more details please click the tours to see the packages.


Upper and Lower Omo Valley – 22 Days

The Omo Valley is increasingly popular on the southern circuit, with its varied tribal peoples living virtually untouched by modern society.  Witnessing the local practices of living purely from natural resources is a humbling and inspiring experience.  The landscape is equally spectacular, as it descends from the highlands, to wet forests, through open savannahs, and eventually to the searing desert lands on the shores of Lake Turkana.

The Omo and Mago National Parks are tucked along the banks of the Omo River, the life-giving waterway that runs through the Omo Valley.  While wildlife sighting are rare, many species still roam these lands.  The most interesting natives of this land are the Mursi people, known around the world for the clay plates worn in their lower lips and earlobes.

 


Day 1
Depart from Addis Ababa to Jimma via Weliso, which is home to the Gurage tribe, known as “the hardest working people in Ethiopia”. On the way you will pass through beautiful landscapes as you drive through the Gibe River Valley. Overnight in Jimma at hotel of your choice.


Day 2

Continue your drive to Mizan Tefari via Bonga. Bonga is in ancient Kingdom of Kaffa, the birthplace of coffee. You will have an opportunity to visit a traditional Kaffa house and learn about the culture of the Kaffa people. You will also pass through the Belete Forest, where you can visit the Colobus monkeys.


Day 3

Depart from Mizan Tefari to Kibish. On the way, visit the Bebeka coffee plantation, where they cultivate organic coffee trees as well as rubber trees. You can also learn about the coffee processing techniques. Afterwards, pass through Dima, which is home to the Inuak tribe; here you can visit these tribes and learn about their culture. Overnight camping in Kibish.


Day 4

Today you will visit the Surma tribe near the village of Kibish. Overnight camping in Kibish.


Day 5

After your breakfast, depart 25 km to the Surma village of Tulgete, where you can visit with the local Surma people. Also, if you’re lucky, see the Surma stick-fighting competition, known as Donga. Here, men from different local villages meet and compete against each other, winning the respect of the maiden ladies in the crowd. Overnight camping in Kibish.


Day 6

Today, depart Kibish for Tum. On the way, visit the Dizi tribe. The Dizi people are hereditarily very short people who have beehive-like houses, similar to the Dorze. Overnight camping in Tum.


Day 7

From Tum, take a day trip to Magi, where you will meet with the Dizi, Surma, Tishena, and perhaps the Bume tribe. If lucky, you will visit on market day (Saturday), which is a wonderful opportunity to meet and mingle with the local tribes. Return to Tum for overnight camping.


Day 8

As it isn’t currently possible to travel directly from the Upper to Lower Omo Valley, we will return north to Jimma before continuing back south. Today we continue back north to Bebeka, where we will stay for overnight inside the guesthouse at the Bebeka Coffee Plantation. Overnight in Bebeka in guesthouse with hot shower!


Day 9

Continue to Jimma via Mizan Tefari. In Jimma you can take a refreshing swim in the pool at Central Jimma Hotel. Overnight in Jimma.


Day 10

From Jimma we proceed to Sodo. On the way we will pass the Chida Mountain and cross the Gojeb River. Overnight in Sodo (hotel).


Day 11

Continue along to visit the Dorze tribes. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their quality cotton weaving. If today is a Monday or Thursday, we will visit the market at Dorze; if it’s a Tuesday or Saturday, we will visit the market at Chencha. Overnight in Dorze village in traditional Dorze hut or continue to Arba Minch for overnight.


Day 12

After a short drive to Arba Minch, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the hippos. The crocodile market is known to be one of the best displays of crocodiles in all of Africa. Afterwards, continue to Konso for overnight.


Day 13

Today you will visit with the Konso people, who are known for their wooden totems erected in honor of their dead warriors, as well as their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. We will also visit the natural New York village, which gets its name from the tall sand formations that resemble skyscrapers. Konso market days are Monday and Thursday, which are good days to visit Konso. Afterwards, continue driving to Jinka for overnight.


Day 14

In the morning, drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribe, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. After the visit, return to Jinka for overnight. Saturday is market day in Jinka, so that may be visited. Alternatively, take a walk in the local hills to visit an Ari village.


Day 15

Depart Jinka for Turmi, via Key Afar and Dimeka, stopping in local markets along the way. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, home of the Benna people, while Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka. Both of these markets are quite busy and colorful. Overnight in Turmi - camping or in lodge.


Day 16

In the morning, drive to Omorate to cross the Omo River by local boat and visit the Dassenech tribe. Afterwards, you will return to Turmi for further visiting with the Hamer tribe. If it’s a Monday, there is a very colorful market that will be visited. Also, if there is the traditional Hamer Jumping of the Bulls wedding ceremony, that will be visited. At night time, you can visit the traditional night dancing of the Hamer people, known as Evangadi. Overnight in Turmi – camping or in lodge.


Day 17

Today we drive to Kolcho and Dus to visit with the Karo people. Overnight camping in Karo village.


Day 18

Departing from Karo territory, we pass through Turmi, and Erbore to Konso. Passing through the Weyto Valley, you will stop in Erbore to meet with the Erbore people. Erbore market day is Friday. Overnight in Konso (hotel).


Day 19

After breakfast, drive to Yabello for a visit to the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary. Overnight in Yabello (hotel).


Day 20

Depart south from Yabello to El Sod. Close to the village of El Sod is the House of Salt, a very deep crater lake which supplies large amounts of salt to Ethiopians. After a visit and a short hike here, we will continue to Awassa for overnight (hotel).


Day 21

In the morning, you can take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the fish market. In the afternoon, we will continue to Lake Langano, stopping at Wondo Genet for a dip in the hot spring pools along the way. Overnight camping on the shores of Lake Langano or in Lodge.


Day 22

Today we return to Addis. On the way, we will visit the Lakes Shala and Abiatta National Park and Lake Ziway for the birds that inhabit the areas. We will drive via Butajira, where you can visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stellae fields) and Adadi Maryam – a rock-hewn church.


Bale Mountains and Sof Omar – 7 days

The Bale Mountains is one of the best places in Ethiopia to see wildlife.  The most popular residents here are the endemic Ethiopian wolf and mountain nyala.  For birdlovers, the Bale Mountains are a paradise, with over 250 recorded species living in the park boundaries, at least 16 of which are endemic to Ethiopia.  The most popular areas for wildlife viewing are the Sanetti Plateau, where the Ethiopian wolf is most commonly seen, as well as the Harenna Forest, a dense, moist forest with an abundance of plant-and wildlife.

Not far from the Bale Mountains lie the Sof Omar caves.  Said to be the largest network of caves in Africa, they stretch 15.1km (9.5 miles), with the Web River snaking through the cave system the entire distance.  The most stunning feature of the caves are the towering limestone pillars, the most famous of which are located in the Chamber of Columns.  Not only a natural wonder, the Sof Omar caves are an important religious center for both Islam as well as local animist religions. 


Day 1
Depart south from Addis Ababa to Dinsho, which is where the headquarters of the Bale Mountains National Park is located. Here we will organize the trekking for the next day. Overnight in Dinsho Lodge.

Day 2
Depart from Dinsho through the Web Valley toward Finch Abera Waterfall, located where the Web and Wolla Rivers meet. Afterwards, continue to Mararo for overnight camping.

Day 3
Continue trekking, following the Wasema River through the valley. On the way, stop and visit a local mineral spring. Afterwards, continue to the campsite beneath the peak of Mt. Batu.


Day 4

Begin the ascent to the Sanetti Plateau, climbing Mt. Batu on the way. Continue to the Tegona Valley for the Gabra Guracha Lake, where you will spend the night.


Day 5

Today you will explore the Sanetti Plateau, a great place to see the endemic Ethiopian wolf. You will also visit the Crane Lakes. A final ascent will be made to the top of Tullu Deemtu, offering spectacular views of the surrounding areas. In the afternoon, you will be met by your vehicle and taken to Goba for overnight.


Day 6

Early in the morning, depart from Goba to the Sof Omar caves. The most famous spot of the caves is the Chamber of Columns, with limestone pillars up to 20m high. From the entrance, you will follow a trail through several other chambers; Web River, which snakes through the cave, seven times. The birdlife in the area is very abundant. Afterwards, continue to Dinsho or Dodola for overnight.


Day 7

Today you will return to Addis Ababa. On the way, visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala is a very deep crater lake (over 260 meters deep!) and Lake Abiatta is a soda lake, which attracts thousands of flamingos. After the visit, continue back to Addis.

Lake Awassa – 2 days

Lake Awassa is located in the Main Ethiopian Rift south of Addis Ababa. According to the Statistical Abstract of Ethiopia for 1967/68, the lake is 16 km long and 9 km wide, with a surface area of 129 square kilometers. It has a maximum depth of 10 meters and is located at an elevation of 1,708 meters. Because it is relatively accessible to scientists, Lake Awassa is the most studied of the Rift Valley lakes in Ethiopia. According to William Taylor, a member of the African Lakes and Rivers Research Group at the University of Waterloo, Lake Awasa is, despite its lack of an outflow, "essentially a freshwater lake (conductivity is variable, but less than 1,000) indicating that it must have a subterranean outlet."

 

Day 1

Depart south via the Rift Valley to the town of Awassa. On the way, visit the birds on Lake Ziway, including one of the largest birds, the maribou stork. Afterwards, visit the ostriches and other wildlife in Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake, as is home to thousands of flamingoes for much of the year. Finally, continue to Awassa for overnight.


Day 2
Early morning, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the hippo pods and the local fish market where you can see the fishermen working their trade. Additionally, there is wonderful birdlife in the area. Before returning back to Addis, stop in Wondo Genet - former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie's favorite weekend getaway spot. Here you can take a dip in the pool, a shower in the therapeutic hot springs water, and hike in the local forest with the monkeys. Finally, return back to Addis Ababa for a late afternoon arrival.

Omo Valley and Bale Mountains – 15 days

Day 1
Depart south from Addis via Butajira. On the way, visit the archeological sites of Tiya and Adadi Maryam. Overnight in Awassa.


Day 2

After breakfast, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the fish market and admire the amazing birdlife in the area. You might see some hippos too. We then proceed to Dorze, to visit with the Dorze people, who are know for their tall beehive-like huts and quality woven cotton fabrics. If today is a market day, we will visit the market. Overnight in Dorze village.


Day 3

After a morning visit at the Dorze market, we continue to Arba Minch for a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the hippos and the famous crocodile market. Overnight in Arba Minch.


Day 4

We proceed driving to Jinka via Weyto and Key Afar. If today is market day, we will stop in either or both Konso and Key Afar to visit. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 5

Early in the morning, drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribes, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 6

Proceed driving to Turmi, via Dimeka. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Dimeka holds one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 7

In the morning we drive to Omorate where we cross the Omo River by local boat to visit the Dassenech people. Afterwards, we continue back to Turmi. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional wedding ceremony, that will be visited. At night, visit the traditional Hamer night dancing, known as Evangadi. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 8

Today we drive to Kolcho and Dus to visit with the Karo tribe. Overnight camping in Karo village.


Day 9

After more visit with Karo tribes, we return back to Turmi. Market day in Turmi is Monday, which will be visited. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 10

We will continue through the Weyto Valley to Konso, via Erbore. Erbore market days is Friday and Konso market days are Monday and Thursday. Overnight in Konso.


Day 11

The Konso people are known for the wooden totems they erect in honor of dead warriors and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. We will visit with the Konso people as well as the natural "New York" village. Afterwards, we continue to Yabello for a visit to the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary. Overnight in Yabello.


Day 12

In the morning, we will drive to El Sod to visit the House of Salt - a very large crater lake from which salt is extracted. Afterwards, we continue to Dinsho for overnight.


Day 13

Today will be trekking in the Bale Mountains. For the best viewing of Ethiopian endemic species, such as the rare Ethiopian wolf. Overnight camping or in lodge.


Day 14
After a morning hike in the Bale Mountains, we continue to Lake Langano for overnight, camping on the lakeshore or lodge.


Day 15
After a refreshing morning swim in the lake, we will head back to Addis Ababa. On the way we will drive through Lake Abiata-Shala National Park as stop at Lake Ziway to visit the local birdlife.

 

Omo Valley and Yabello – 13 days

Day 1
Depart south from Addis via Butajira. On the way, visit the archeological sites of Tiya and Adadi Maryam. Overnight in Awassa.


Day 2
After breakfast, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the fish market and admire the amazing birdlife in the area. You might see some hippos too. We then proceed to Dorze, to visit with the Dorze people, who are know for their tall beehive-like huts and quality woven cotton fabrics. If today is a market day, we will visit the market. Overnight in Dorze village.


Day 3
After a morning visit at the Dorze market, we continue to Arba Minch for a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the hippos and the famous crocodile market. Overnight in Arba Minch.


Day 4
We proceed driving to Turmi, via Erbore, visiting the market at Erbore on the way. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 5
In the morning we drive to Omorate where we cross the Omo River by local boat to visit the Dassenech people. Afterwards, we continue back to Turmi. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional wedding ceremony, that will be visited. At night, visit the traditional Hamer night dancing, known as Evangadi. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 6
Today we drive to Kolcho and Dus to visit with the Karo tribe. Overnight camping in Karo village.


Day 7
After more visit with Karo tribes, we return back to Turmi for a visit at the Turmi market. Overnight camping in Turmi.


Day 8
Proceed driving to Jinka. On the way we will visit the market at Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 9
Early in the morning, drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribes, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 10
Today we continue to Konso, via Key Afar. If it is market day in either town, they will be visited. Overnight in Konso.


Day 11
The Konso people are known for the wooden totems they erect in honor of dead warriors and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. We will visit with the Konso people as well as the natural "New York" village. Afterwards, we continue to Yabello for a visit to the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary. Overnight in Yabello.


Day 12
In the morning, we will drive to El Sod to visit the House of Salt - a very large crater lake from which salt is extracted. Afterwards, we continue to Lake Langano for overnight, stopping for a dip in the hot spring pools at Wondo Genet on the way.


Day 13
After a refreshing morning swim in the lake, we will head back to Addis Ababa. On the way we will drive through Lake Abiata-Shala National Park as stop at Lake Ziway to visit the local birdlife.

Omo Valley – 10 days

Day 1
Depart south from Addis via Butajira. On the way, visit the archeological sites of Tiya and Adadi Maryam. Overnight in Awassa.


Day 2

After breakfast, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the fish market and admire the amazing birdlife in the area, and maybe some hippos. We then proceed to Dorze, to visit with the Dorze people, who are know for their tall beehive-like huts and quality woven cotton fabrics. If today is a market day, we will visit the market. Overnight in Arba Minch.


Day 3

In the morning, we will embark on a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the hippos and the famous crocodile market. We then proceed driving to Jinka for overnight, stopping in Key Afar for a visit if it is market day.


Day 4

Early in the morning, drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribes, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 5

Today we drive to Turmi, via Dimeka. If today is a market day in Dimeka, that will be visited, as it is one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo. Overnight in Turmi, camping or in hotel.


Day 6

In the morning we drive to Omorate where we cross the Omo River by local boat to visit the Dassenech tribe. Afterwards, we continue back to Turmi. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional wedding ceremony, that will be visited. At night, visit the traditional Hamer night dancing, known as Evangadi. Overnight in Turmi.


Day 7
Today we drive to Kolcho and Dus to visit with the Karo tribe before returning to Turmi for overnight.


Day 8

We proceed driving to Konso, via Erbore, visiting the market at Erbore on the way. Overnight in Konso.


Day 9

The Konso people are known for the wooden totems they erect in honor of dead warriors and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. We will visit with the Konso people as well as the natural "New York" village. Afterwards, we continue to Lake Langano for overnight on the lakeshore - camping or in lodge.


Day 10

After a refreshing morning swim in the lake, we will head back to Addis Ababa. On the way we will drive through Lake Abiata-Shala National Park as stop at Lake Ziway to visit the local birdlife.

Omo Valley – 8 days

Day 1
Depart south from Addis via Butajira. On the way, visit the archeological sites of Tiya and Adadi Maryam. Overnight in Awassa.


Day 2

After breakfast, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the fish market and admire the amazing birdlife in the area, and maybe some hippos. We then proceed to Dorze, to visit with the Dorze people, who are know for their tall beehive-like huts and quality woven cotton fabrics. If today is a market day, we will visit the market. Overnight in Arba Minch.


Day 3

In the morning, we will embark on a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the hippos and the famous crocodile market. We then proceed driving to Jinka for overnight, stopping in Key Afar for a visit if it is market day.


Day 4

Early in the morning, drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribes, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. Overnight in Jinka.


Day 5

Today we drive to Turmi, via Dimeka. If today is a market day in Dimeka, that will be visited, as it is one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo. Overnight in Turmi, camping or in hotel. At night, visit the traditional Hamer night dancing, known as Evangadi.


Day 6

We proceed driving to Konso, via Erbore, visiting the market at Erbore on the way. Overnight in Konso.


Day 7

The Konso people are known for the wooden totems they erect in honor of dead warriors and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. We will visit with the Konso people as well as the natural "New York" village. Afterwards, we continue to Lake Langano for overnight on the lakeshore - camping or in lodge.


Day 8

After a refreshing morning swim in the lake, we will head back to Addis Ababa. On the way we will drive through Lake Abiata-Shala National Park as stop at Lake Ziway to visit the local birdlife.