This 12-day adventure through a less-visited part of Ethiopia offers travellers willing to go without some western conveniences an opportunity to truly interact with various ethnic communities. Explore the enigmatic beehive houses of the Dorze and stop in numerous villages for truly immersive cultural encounters with the Ari, Karo, Mursi, Hamer and Dassanech people. Visit two national parks and explore Lake Chamo by boat in search of crocodiles, hippos and bird life. With your expert CEO doing the planning, you're free to soak in the diversity of this remote land and its incredible people.
Embark on a boat trip on Lake Chamo, uncover rural culture and traditions, meet different ethnic groups, view the incredible birdlife of Lake Ziway, camp with the Mursi people
Days : 12
Price : From AED 8,506*
*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
Trip Style :
Trip Type : Individuals
Physical Grading :
Arrive in any time and make your way to the joining point hotel. A brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel reception area on Day 1 of your tour. Upon arrival look for information from your tour leader on the hotel bulletin board from regarding meeting time. Addis Ababa, founded more than a century ago, means 'New Flower' in Amharic. At an elevation of 2400m, the third highest capital in the world, the climate is pleasantly cool. The city mixes past and present. Statues from the imperial times coexist with placards from the former Marxist Regime and huge billboards advertising current activities in the city, modern businesses, as well as development organizations' goodwill projects. The streets are a mesh of expensive cars, old Russian “Lada model” taxis, as well as donkeys, sheep, goats, stray dogs and cats, medieval looking priests and modern dressed working class with mobile phones. Traditional mud houses stand not far from austere Fascist buildings and private-sector banks. The National Museum contains a wide array of Ethiopian historical artifacts focusing on the pre- Aksumite, Aksumite, Solomonic, and Gonderine periods. It also has a wide array of Ethiopian art ranging from 14th century parchment to 20th century canvas oil paintings by leading modern Ethiopian artists. The museum houses anthropological and archaeological displays including Lucy, the fossilized hominid discovered in 1974. Entoto, about 3000m above sea level, is the highest point of the capital and the seat of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. Here you enjoy panoramic views of the capital and the museum adjacent to the church of St. Mary. Merkato is the largest open market in Africa where you can find a bit of everything. The spice market is very interesting for its colourful displays and aromas. For some travellers one of the highlights of the Merkato is the “recycling market” where old tires are turned into sandals, corrugated iron is made into metal buckets, and olive oil tins from Italy are made into coffee roasters and scoops. Also interesting is the section where the narcotic leaf “chat” is sold.
Estimated Travel Time: Day 2: 10 hours ; Day 3: 2 hours Approximate Distance: Day 2: 450 km ; Day 3: 30 km Depart early on our journey to Arba Minch, which lies a hefty 450 km south of Addis Ababa. Our full day’s travel will take us through some fantastic scenery, including the Wolayta farmlands, with views of the lush green hills and valleys. Arba Minch is set on an escarpment overlooking the Rift Valley Lakes, with Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. The town's name in Amharic literally means "forty springs" that are found around the town. In the morning of Day 3, we take a relaxing boat ride on Lake Chamo, in Nechisar National Park, where you will see crocodiles famous for their huge size, hippos and water birds. After lunch in Arba Minch, we drive high into the Guge Mountains to spend the night with the Dorze people. They are famous for their beehive-shaped bamboo houses and products produced from the Enset plant. The Dorze people use ingenious terracing and have a unique traditional lifestyle with their colourfully woven cotton products.
Estimated Travel Time: Day 4: 3 hours ; Day 5: 4 hours Approximate Distance: Day 4: 85 km ; Day 5: 205 km We continue further south to Konso - a crossroads of the region, for a visit of the area with a local guide, including a stop at the local museum, and even a visit to the Konso chief's compound - which includes the family graveyard and house of mummies. Learn about local conservation efforts at Gersale village nursery, where you can choose to participate in a tree planting and reforestation programme. Learn about local conservation efforts at Gersale village nursery, where you can choose to participate in a tree planting and reforestation programme. The Konso are a rich agrarian culture. They construct ingenious terraces and walls that encircle their fields and villages for protection against livestock damage and flooding. On Day 5, we cross through Weito, a village where we may encounter the Cushitic-speaking Tsemay people, and on to Jinka before settling for the night at Mursi Campsite in Mago National Park. Jinka is a frontier town with a mix of northerners and southerners. The Ari people are found around Jinka, and also inhabit the northern border of Mago National Park. Ari villages have neat compounds, fertile and scenic land with coffee plantations. Ari have large livestock herds and produce large quantities of honey. Traditionally, the women wore skirts from the banana like plant, called Enset.
Estimated Travel Time: Day 6: 4 hours ; Day 7: 7 hours ; Day 8: (day trip) 2 hours Approximate Distance: Day 6: 115 km ; Day 7: 110 km ; Day 8: (day trip) 60 km Tea and coffee will be ready at 6:30am for early risers. We will have breakfast at 7 am, after which we will have a short visit to say goodbye to the Mursi while our tents are being dismantled and the vehicles packed. We depart for Key Afar market by 8:30 am stopping briefly in Jinka for coffee. The Key Afar market is frequented mostly by the Benna, Ari and Tsemai people. Local town officials and business people are also doing their shopping there. Upon parking we will proceed to the market. Your CEO will be stocking up on food supplies in the market with the cook for the next nights camping in Turmi. Anyone who wishes to accompany the CEO is free to do so, or you can move around the market on your own. The local guide will assist you also with your market visit. We will meet back at the hotel for lunch and then drive on to our Hamer campsite near to Turmi to set up camp for the next 3 nights. On Day 7 we take an excursion to visit the Karo people. Breakfast at 7 am and depart for Karo at 8 am. We will visit a Karo village called Kolcho. Lunch is back at our campsite after which our afternoon activity will depend on what is happening in the Hamer region. We will either visit a village and attend an Evangadi dance or if there is a bull jumping ceremony, we will attend that. On Day 8 coffee/tea will be available at 6:30 am for early risers. Breakfast will be at 7:30 and we depart for Dimeka market at 9:30 so you have some leisure time to walk along the river or relax. We will have a packed lunch in Dimeka and will proceed from there if there is a bull jumping ceremony going on. Your CEO will be purchasing food supplies in the market and anyone is welcome to join. There will also be a local guide here who can show you around. We will have dinner back at our campsite.
Estimated Travel Time: Day 9: 6 hours Approximate Distance: Day 9: 197 km Tea and coffee will be ready at 6:30 am for early risers. Breakfast at 7am. Today is our excursion to the Dassanech people. We'll depart for Omorate at 8am. You must bring your passports for this excursion as they will be checked. We will cross the Omo River in dugout canoes to visit a Dassanech camp. The same principles of photo taking with the Mursi apply with the Dassanech. We will be coming back to our campsite for lunch. Pack vehicles, and depart at at 2 pm for Konso where we spend the night at Strawberry Fields Ecolodge.
Estimated Travel Time: Day 10: 2 hours ; Day 11: 8 hours Approximate Distance: Day 10: 105 km ; Day 11: 255 km We head west across various landscapes to the historic region of Yabelo, for a well deserved night in a hotel. We visit a camel market, Borena village and then pay a visit to the Yabelo National park to search for various species of antelope, warthog and zebra. On Day 11 we start our journey back north to Yirgalem. This is a driving day to make it to our traditional Sidamo style lodge. We'll be driving through Borena and Sidamo areas. Visit the stele yard at Tutu Fella.
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours Approximate Distance: 354 km Depart Yirgalem, with a stop at Lake Ziway for some bird watching. We'll also visit communities near the Lake that are using energy-saving stoves, decreasing deforestation of the area. Passing by the town of Shashemene, known for its Rastafarian community, we continue to the modern and cosmopolitan Addis Ababa, perched on the slopes of the Entoto Mountains, where your tour ends upon arrival in the late afternoon.
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, or sports bag, maximum 15kg, plus a daypack. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles is limited. Porters are not available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, a warm jacket is recommended. You will have a number of early mornings, and because of altitude, the climate in Addis Ababa and in the Dorze Village is not typically “tropical”. On the contrary, it can get very cool in the evenings./early mornings. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable. It is suggested to bring a few items to give to locals in the community. Clothing and toiletries are very much appreciated. Small items such as sugar-free gum are handy to trade for the opportunity to take photos.
Accommodation in Ethiopia is not to the standard of the west or other parts of Africa where tourism is more developed. Hotels don't always have much character, as they are made more functional than decorative and the choice is limited due to both lack of local and foreign demand. As such customer service standards are lower, due to lack of a large tourism industry and lack of exposure to western service standards. Plumbing can be simple and not always reliable and water pressure is weak, especially in dry season. Safety, location, and cleanliness are our top criteria when choosing hotels. We choose the best one that meets our criteria, and constantly evaluate the options that are out there.
It is recommended to cover legs, and to remove shoes and hats in churches and monasteries. Women should cover their hair with a shawl in churches/monasteries. Please note that Ethiopia is a fairly conservative country, so please dress accordingly.
When meals are not included, your hotel will have a restaurant or your will be advised of a good local establishment. Part of the excitement of a G Adventures trip is the ability to try local dishes when possible. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is not expensive. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though, and you may choose to explore some local restaurants on your own or with your travel companion(s). All camp meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. Hot breakfasts with coffee and tea will be provided. Lunches will usually be hot but occasionally will be light meal such as sandwiches or salads. All evening meals will be hot and will consist of continental and/or local dishes. Meals will be prepared by the crew with assistance from you if you would like to help cook, this is not compulsory. Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival.
This trip is done in private 5-seater old model land cruisers. If the group is larger than 3 persons, two or more vehicles will be used, and the group will be split up. Road conditions in the south of Ethiopia are generally very poor, especially during the rainy season, and during dry seasons, the roads can become very dusty. This style of travel is the best under these circumstances, having our own private vehicle allow us the flexibility of making stops when needed.
Throughout the entire 12-day journey in the south of Ethiopia, you will be accompanied on your trip by a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). To round out the team, you will be joined by expert driver(s). The Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will be the group manager and leader. He/she organizes the trip, and will be there to assist you when needed. He/she will have a general knowledge base of the region, history, culture, and wildlife. He/she will take care of the small things so you can concentrate on enjoying your adventure. Your driver(s) is(are) skilled and experienced in his/their trade, and is/are an integral part of the team. In addition, for some included activities, we engage local guides to add to the experience and share their expertise. While camping, you will have a cook, who will prepare your meals and add some further local flavour to the trip.
Suggested Items: - Fleece or wool jumper/jacket - 4 shirts/t-shirts, cool and breathable - 1 Long-sleeved shirt - 1 pair of shorts, mid-thigh or longer - 2 pairs of long hiking trousers, lightweight, breathable - 1 pairs of long trousers - Hiking Boots / Walking Shoes - Sandals - Day pack, for you to carry - 2-season (spring/summer) sleeping bag, and sleeping sheet for warm nights camping in Turmi - Water bottle, and water purification tablets or purifier (bottled water is also available for purchase) - Sun hat, Bandana (many uses - head protection, handkerchief, wrap injuries) - Sunglasses - Headlamp / torch / flashlight (with extra batteries and bulbs) - Camera and extra memory card/film - Extra batteries (recommended) - Pocket knife / Utility knife - Electricity Plug Adapter - Personal First Aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen , Malaria pills, band aids/plasters, adhesive tape, anti-histamine, Antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder (salt and sugar mix), throat lozenges, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) - Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, razors, etc) - Hand sanitizer gel/Sanitizer wipes - Toilet paper - Candles, matches - Plastic bags for packing (rain protection) Optional Items: Sleeping pad (optional – simple, thin mattresses provided while camping), reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks., Playing cards, games, frisbee, notebook, pens/pencils Documents: - Passport (with photocopies) - Travel insurance (with photocopies) - Yellow fever certificate - Airline tickets (with photocopies) - USD cash - Credit or debit card (see personal spending money) - G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier - Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
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*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights