Tribal traits and traditions tour itinerary – December 2018 Ethiopia tour details

Fire lighting

Day 1 – Sat 1 Dec: Addis Ababa

Group members gather in the lobby of the Jupiter or Monarch International Hotel. Tour overview,  briefing and Q&A session at 5:30 pm. Overnight stay at the Jupiter International Hotel or Monarch Hotel

Day 2 – Sun 2 Dec: Addis Ababa – Jimma – Mizan Teferi

Flight (ET131 10:35-11:30) Addis Ababa to Jimma. Drive from Jimma to Mizan Teferi. Overnight at Salayish Hotel

Day 3 – Mon 3 Dec: Mizan Teferi – Tulgit

We start at 7:30 am, heading to Tulgit, one of the larger villages of the Suri tribe. We drive through Bebeka, the largest coffee- plantation in Ethiopia. We arrive at Tulgit in the late afternoon. Camping overnight.

The Suri tribe are divided into three clans – Zilmamo clan settled around Tulgit, Chai clan around Kibish and Tirma clan around Jeba. The Tirma are more urbanized and have lost some of their traditions so we stay in Kibish, which is more convenient and has great access to the surrounding villages. The Suri are renowned for their facial and body painting, stick fighting (Donga) and the woman often have lip plates.

Day 4 – Tue 4 Dec: Tulgit – Kibish

We start early at 6:30 am to take advantage of the best light.  We visit a nearby Suri village of the Zilmamo clan. They are pastoralists so daily chores include herding and milking.  After lunch, we proceed to Kibish, a village of the Chai clan. In the mid-afternoon we will visit a village and photograph life as they know it – body scarification is common and occasionally we see them taking blood from their cattle or witness their renowned stick fighting. Late-afternoon, we return to Kibish where we camp overnight.  45kms / 3.5 hours driving

Suri tribe waiting

Lunch boxes will be prepared to make good use of time for village visits as we will be away from the campsite for most of the day.

Day 5 – Wed 5 Dec: Koka Cattle Camp – Kibish and environs

At 6:00 AM, we depart for the Koka area where there are a couple of cattle camps of the Chai clan. Cattle are integral to the life of the Suri tribe. We see the herders, young men, taking the cattle to water, milking and perhaps bloodletting. Before noon, we return to Kibish and embark upon a walk to a local village, one of the authentic villages of the Suri tribe’s Chai clan. Here, you will spend the afternoon photographing daily life. The lip plates of the women here differ in shape from the Mursi tribe (who are related to the Suri) in the Lower Omo Valley. In the late afternoon, we return to Kibish where we camp overnight.

85kms / 3 hours driving.  Lunch boxes will be prepared for the day.

Day 6 – Thur 6 Dec: Kibish – Kakuta

An early morning village visit while the team breaks camp.  At 8:30 AM we drive to Kakuta, a remote and rarely visited tribal area which is home to the Nyangatom, who are said to be descendants of the Toposa tribe in South Sudan. At midday, we arrive at Kakuta and in the afternoon we visit a village of the Nyangatom tribe. Here, we will have opportunities to photograph the tribe, who live in a climatically challenging area of the Omo (very arid). The women wear numerous strands of beads, which they build upon during life. Tribal adornment is an integral part of their culture. The area is semi-arid and water has to be collected from rivers each day. Camp overnight in Kakuta. 105kms / 3 hours driving. Lunch boxes are provided to create time to photograph in the villages.

Day 7 – Fri 7 Dec: Kakuta – Dus (via Kangatan)

Kara dancing in Dusty Dus

Departing Kakuta at 5:00 AM, we drive to Dus, the second of three village settlements of the Kara tribe. Sited on the banks of the Omo River, the Kara known for their creative and decorative body chalk painting. We visit the local school and photograph these outgoing and curious kids. Many of the Kara women have pierced lips and insert nails, flowers and pins. In addition to various photographic opportunities in the village and on the banks of the Omo River, we may be able to photograph the ceremonial, communal dance performed by the people of Dus. This is dusty and very atmospheric – photo opportunities abound. The Kara of Dus prides themselves as the best dancers in the Omo. Overnight camping.

Day 8 – Sat 8 Dec: Turmi

We break camp, after an early morning visit to the Kara, and proceed to Turmi in the Eastern or Southern Omo. We may visit the market at Dimeka, but if there is a chance of a Hamar bull jumping ceremony our itinerary will change. The Hamar women have high cheekbones, wear thick copper/metal necklaces, elaborate beads, goat-skins and their hair is often coloured with red ochre and butter. The men often use coloured clay on their hair and take real pride in their appearance and culture. Like all the tribes, they are very photogenic. Overnight at Buska Lodge

Day 9 – Sun 9 Dec – Omorate

We drive to Omorate to visit a remote Dassanech village, close to the Kenyan border. Here, we visit their villages and photograph daily life. This is an arid area with very fine silt soils deposited by the Omo river in the past. In the late afternoon, we proceed back to Turmi, perhaps stopping at a Hamar village to get the best of the light in the golden hour. Overnight in Buska Lodge

Day 10 – Mon 10 Dec: Turmi

Portrait of a Bull jumper (1)

During our days around Turmi, we may have the opportunity to see the ritual bull-jumping ceremony of the Hamar tribe. If this materialises the itinerary may be adjusted to enable us to see and photograph this amazing ceremony. We will visit the local Hamar villages and the market at Turmi where the tribes congregate to sell their wares and indulge in sampling the locally made alcohol!

Day 11 – Tue 11 Dec: Turmi – Arbore – Alduba – Jinka

We depart at 5.30am from Turmi, heading to Arbore located at the northern edge of Mount Buska. The Arbore women are absolutely stunning, with extremely dark skin and strong features. Prior to marriage, the women have their heads shaved. They wear dark robes, colourful beads and their huts are constructed of tree branches. After our visit, we drive to Jinka and spend the night at The Eco-Omo Lodge.

Day 12 – Wed 12 Dec– Jinka – Mago National park

A dying tradition

An early morning drive to photograph the Mursi who, like the Suri, have ornate body painting and the women have lip plates. In the afternoon we return to Jinka and visit the Ari tribe and the Omo Child project. There may also be an opportunity to visit the Bodi tribe whilst in the Mago area. Overnight at Eco-Omo lodge.

Day 13 – Thu 13 Dec: Jinka – Konso

After a visit to Jinka museum, we depart to visit the Konso tribe via Key Afer market. Their stone-walled village fencings with narrow alleyways, iconic thatched huts, colourful skirts of their women, etc. In July 2011 the Konso Community was named as the 9th UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ethiopia for their nine-clan community structure, terraced fields and unique farming skills. Overnight at Kanta lodge

Day 14 – Fri 14 Dec

A morning visit to the Konso people and a boat trip on Lake Chamo, renowned for its crocodiles, hippos and pelicans. We then proceed to Arbaminch and visit the Dorze tribe. Overnight at Dorze lodge.

Day 15 – Sat 15 Dec

We visit Chencha market and then to Arba Minch and the airport. – Flight (ET135 15:40-16:45) Arba Minch to Addis Ababa. Transfer to the Monarch or Jupiter hotel. At 7:15 pm, we have a farewell dinner Overnight at the Jupiter/Monarch, ending our 14-day photography tour of the Upper and Lower Omo Valley in South-West Ethiopia. Transfer to Bole airport and departure


Day 16 – Sun 16 Dec

Transfer to Bole airport and departure.

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