“Ethnic tourism” omo valley

Visitors with an interest in observing pre-materialist cultures and in anthropology will find much to fascinate them in the different ethnic groups situated along the Omo River, with marvellous scenery, wild life and bird life as an added bonus. Before reaching the Omo, just before Arba Minch, a visit can be made to Chencha, the home of the Dorze people, famed for their bamboo bee-hive shaped houses and their weaving skills. Further south are the Konso, noted for their intricately terraced hillsides and the wooden totems with which they adorn their cemeteries. Along the Omo River a variety of different ethnic groups are found, such as the Arbore, Bume, Galeb, Karo, Hamer and Mursi, whose contact with the modern world has come only within the last two to three decades. (The Omo, flowing for nearly 1000 km from the highlands south west of Addis Ababa to Lake Turkana in Kenya, provides excellent opportunities for white water rafting.) For a trip to the Omo Valley at least 8 days should be allowed.  On the east bank, the construction of lodges has obviated the need for camping, but on the west bank it is still necessary.   Green valleyEthiopian  can provide well fitted camps, with cooks, full board, .

Nearer Addis Ababa, from the Awash Park eastwards, are the Afar, most of whom are still pastoralists and who can pack up and carry their houses on the backs of camels.

Special interest tours

Ethiopia is one of the twelve bio-diversity centres in the world, and visitors with a special interest in nature, such as flowers and plants or butterflies, will find much to interest them. A butterfly tour would take in the Menagesha Forest near Addis Ababa, the Rift Valley Lakes, the Bale Mountains and the Awash Valley. (There are 8 families, 93 genera and 324 species to be found in Ethiopia.) A typical tour would take about 11 days in and out.
With flowers and plants we would take in the Bale Mountains, the Awash Valley and then cut across to ascend the escarpment of the Abyssinian Highlands. About 10 days should be allowed.

Increasingly popular are coffee tours, which Ethiopian Quadrants organises in collaboration with the Oromo Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, which featured in the award winning documentary, Black Gold.  The tour would include meetings and discussions in Addis Ababa, cupping sessions, a visit to a coffee auction, and visits to the cooperatives in the coffee growing areas, such as around Harer, Yirga Chefe, Jimma and Nekemte.

Geologists will find the Awash area particularly interesting, while a trip to Mount Ertale (the only volcano in the world with a permanent lava lake) would be a “must” – it can be accessed by road, with the ascent being made on foot with camels carrying the supplies, or by a helicopter flight from Mekele. A comprehensive tour, also taking in the Simien Mountains, would take about two weeks.Study tours in areas such as education or health could be made anywhere in the country, according to the other interests of the group.

Ethiopia has a number of pilgrimage sites, Christian and Muslim, visited on certain days by thousands (in some places, tens of thousands) of pilgrims. The better known sites include: Mariamtsion Church in Axum, Debre Damo Monastery, Hamad al-Negash (site of the first Muslim settlement in the world), Gabriel Kolubi near Dire Dawa and Sheikh Hussain near Bale.

Planning and costing your itinerary

Green valley Ethiopian will tailor make your trip for you, and tell you how much it will cost, if you can supply us with the following information, by phone, fax or email:

  • From the categories above, what would you say is your main interest? What other interests do you have?
  • How much time do you have?
  • What are your accommodation requirements: a) best available hotels b) tourist class hotels c) camping.
  • How many are in your group?