TRIBAL LIFE EXPEDITION TO THE LOWER OMO RIVER, DECEMBER 4 - 17, 2015
Located in the far southwest of Ethiopia is the Omo Delta, one of the last great tribal regions left in the world. Living in this remote but accessible area are a vast number of tribal groups all within driving distance of one another. Living in voluntary isolation, their culture, dress and language has remained intact. Some 45 different languages are spoken, and tribes range from the many thousand strong Borena to the smaller Karo Tribe. With the recently constructed road stretching from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch this area is now open for exploration and tourism. To anthropologists, the Omo Valley is a living museum; to photographers the Omo Valley is a visually breathtaking experience.
The villages of the Lower Omo Valley are home to some of Africa’s most fascinating ethnic groups and a trip here represents a unique chance for people to encounter a culture markedly different from their own. Whether it’s wandering through traditional Daasanach villages, watching Hamer people performing a Jumping of the Bulls ceremony or seeing the Mursi’s mind-blowing lip plates, your visit here will stick with you for a lifetime. This is quite a beautiful region, too. The landscape is diverse, ranging from dry, open savannah plains to forests in the high hills and along the Omo and Mago Rivers. The former meanders for nearly 800km, from southwest of Addis Ababa all the way to Lake Turkana on the Kenyan border.
Day 1 —Fri, Dec 4 : Addis Ababa
Arrival and overnight at Jupiter Hotel.
Day 2 —Sat, Dec 5 : Addis Ababa – Tiya – Hosaina - Arbaminch
Departing from Addis Ababa at 7:30AM, you will be heading to Arbaminch, en route visiting Tiya — one of the UNESCO-registered monuments and traditional village settings. Further from Hosaina, you will be driving through marvelous landscape. Arriving Arbaminch late afternoon, you will spend overnight at Paradise Lodge.
Day 3 —Sun, Dec 6: Arbaminch – Chamo Lake Boat Trip – Konso
At 8:30AM, you will have boat trip on Chamo lake – one of the seven Rift Valley lakes in Ethiopia where you will be able to see Hippos, Nile Crocodile and a variety of birdlife. With lunch at Konso’s Kanta Lodge, you will spend the late afternoon visiting a less-frequented Konso tribal village. End of the day, you will spend overnight at Kanta Lodge.
Day 4 —Mon, Dec 7 : Konso - Arbore – Turmi
With 6:00AM start out of Konso, you will be heading down into the Weito plains with a photo stop roughly 40kms out of Konso. Proceeding further through Weito, you will be arriving at an Arbore village with detour to access remotely located villages. Proceeding further and arriving Turmi at noon, you will spend the afternoon attending to the weekly Hamer-tribe market. End of the day, you will be spending overnight at Buska Lodge.
Day 5 —Tue, Dec 8 : Turmi
With 6:00AM departure, you will have your first village visit of the Hamer tribe. With lunch break, you will have your second Hamer village visit mid-afternoon. End of the day, spend overnight at Buska Lodge.
*Additional optional activity at noon is visit to Alduba market of the Hamer+Bena tribes located 63kms/1hr drive from Turmi.
Day 6 —Wed, Dec 9 : Turmi – Omorate – Turmi
With 5:30AM departure, you will proceed to Omorate where you will be able to visit a Dassanach tribe village either by crossing the bridge or optionally by driving on the banks of the Omo River. Returning back to Turmi at noon, spend the afternoon visiting a Hamer tribe village. End of the day, spend overnight at Buska Lodge.
*Of the three nights in Turmi, we will look into the possibility of seeing a bull-jumping ceremony.
Day 7 —Thu, Dec 10 : Turmi – Korcho - Dus
At 5:00AM, you will be driving to Dus, with early morning visit to Korcho village. Proceeding further shortly before noon, you will be arriving Dus. After settling in campsite and lunch break, late afternoon, you will visit Dus village. End of the day, camping overnight at Dus.
Day 8 —Fri, Dec 11 : Dus
Early morning visit to Dus village with extensively photo ops. Resting through mid-day, mid-afternoon onwards you will attend to a Kara-tribe dancing ceremony. End of the day, camping overnight at Dus.
Day 9 —Sat, Dec 12 : Dus – Turmi
With additional Kara village visit early at 6:00AM, you will proceed to Turmi, arriving at noon. The afternoon can be spent at leisure of optionally having additional Hamer village visits. End of the day, you will spend overnight at Buska Lodge.
Day 10 —Sun, Dec 13: Turmi - Jinka
At 8:30AM, you will be proceeding to Jinka. Arriving Jinka at noon, you will spend the early afternoon visiting the South Omo Research Center for a good insight of the different tribes of the Lower Omo Valley. Mid-afternoon, you will visit an Ari tribal village in the surroundings of Jinka. End of the day, overnight at Eco-Omo Lodge.
Day 11 —Mon, Dec 14 : Jinka – Mago NP – Jinka
At 5:45AM, you will head into Mago National Park where you will be able to see a bit of wildlife as well as visit Mursi tribal villages in the lowlands of the Park. Returning back to Jinka at noon, you will spend the afternoon visiting Omo Child Center www.omochild.org. End of the day, overnight at Eco-Omo Lodge.
Day 12 — Tue, Dec 15 : Jinka – Weito - Konso - Arbaminch
At 8:30AM, drive to Arbaminch, en-route visiting a Tsemai tribal village around Weito and further on Konso tribal villages prior and past Konso town. Arriving Arbaminch late afternoon, you will be spending overnight at Paradise Lodge.
Day 13 —Wed, Dec 16 : Arbaminch - Addis Ababa (Flight)
The morning spent at leisure or optionally with street photography in Arbaminch town, you will proceeding to Arbaminch airport for your flight to Addis Ababa at 3:45PM. Arriving Addis Ababa at 4:50PM, you will be transferred to the Jupiter Hotel, thereby ending your 13-days photography tour of the Lower Omo Valley.
Day 14 — Dec 17: Transfer to the Airport
*Special Note: This itinerary is subject to change as we will try to attend the Hamer bull-jumping ceremony which means the itinerary will be altered.
In association with
Tour Cost $6,800, Trip Deposit $1,000
Single Supplement $275 where possible
Maximum Group Size 8
Herb Leventon & Jeremy Woodhouse. This trip is limited to only 8 participants.
All Photos © Jeremy Woodhouse
Tour fee includes
Tour fee does not include
Why this tour?
This tour is geared to the photographer who enjoys exploring unique cultures and adventure photography. If you are looking for all of the creature comforts of home this may not be the tour for you. Group cohesion, adaptability, a sense of humor and a curious mind are all important. Past participants have found this expedition a highlight of their days behind the lens. At the conclusion of this trip, you the photojournalist will be able to tell the story of a culture that most only see in magazines or on television.