UNVEIL THE UNTAMED BEAUTY OF THE OMO VALLEY
Among the many highlights featured on this journey, the following are some experiences that just cannot be missed:
THE SURMA: An unforgettable time with Surma tribe
TRIBAL ENCOUNTERS The cultural diversity of a region unique in the world.
HAMER VILLAGES Inhabited by probably the region’s most highly adorned people.
YOUR PLANS ARE BEING ARRANGED BY:
Expertise: Ethiopia,Kenya andDjibouti
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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
POINT OF CONTACT FOR BOOKING: Ermias
DRIVE TO JIMMA
We will be driving south-west of Addis Ababa to Jimma, which is located around 330 km away. En route we will be visiting the Gurage and Oromo people and their beautiful villages, as well crossing the magnificent and <!–more–> picturesque Gibe Gorge. This deep gorge is home to the Gibe River, which is a major tributary of the Omo River. Our route takes us through a landscape, much of which is dominated by coffee plantations. Jimma, the largest city in south-western Ethiopia and inhabited by Oromo, Kefecho and Kulo people, is our destination for the evening. It used to be the capital of the former Kaffa Province, and it is this region which is recognized as the home of the Coffea arabica, or coffee. 6 hours of driving (330 km). Overnight at Honey land Hotel (similar)
JIMMA TO MIZAN
Today, we will be continuing our south-west routing as we make our way to Mizan Teferi. The 240km drive is made up of a mosaic of forest and cultivated land dominated by coffee, tea and various spices, and we will have ample opportunity to stop and take advantage of any photographic opportunities we may encounter. 7 hours of driving (270km).
Overnight at Salayish Hotel(similar)
This morning is an exciting travel day as we head deep into the little-visited portion of south-western Ethiopia. En route we pass through Bebeka coffee plantation (located about 30km outside Mizan), which is the largest and oldest coffee plantation in Ethiopia. On our journey, we will visit the Menit tribe, who are the less well-known neighbours of the Surma, one of our main photographic targets of this trip. Passing through the town of Tulgit, will finally arrive in Kibish, where we will be camping for the next two nights. Much of our focus today will be photographing the fabulous Surma people, who due to their remoteness, are one of the least visited of the Omo Valley’s tribes.
The Surma are pastoralists, placing much value on their cattle, which they protect vigorously against theft from neighbouring tribes. The Surma however also steal livestock from their enemies, and in recent times there has been more pressure on their grazing lands due to input of people from adjacent Sudan who have been displaced by civil war, resulting in not-infrequent fighting in the area.
The Surma people do not make wood carvings, statues etc, and instead are renowned for their incredibly ornate decoration of themselves, which they achieve through painting, scarification and adornment with flowers and other natural objects. The paintings are dynamic artworks which vary greatly in design, are truly fascinate ing to photograph! Virtually no area of the body is left out, and nakedness is a standard and acceptable part of daily life for the Surma, who regard Westerners concept of clothing with fascination!
Possibly more famously, Surma women, like Mursi women, wear lip plates. In her early twenties, an unmarried woman’s lower lip will be pierced and then progressively stretched over the period of a year. A clay disc, which has its edge indented like a pulley wheel, is squeezed into the hole in the lip. As the lip stretches, a succession of ever-larger discs are forced in until the lip, now a loop, is so long it can sometimes be pulled right over the owner’s head! The size of the lip plate determines the bride price with a large one bringing in fifty head of cattle. Surma women make the lip plates from clay, colouring them with ochre and charcoal and baking them in a fire.
Another famous component of Surma life is stick fighting, known a Donga. We will be exceptionally fortunate to witness such a contest, but our local guide will keep an ear to the ground and with luck, we may be able to attend such an event. At a fight, each male contestant is armed with a hardwood pole about six feet long and with a weight of just under two pounds.
The men paint their bodies with a mixture of chalk and water before the fight. In the attacking position, this pole is gripped at its base with both hands, the left above the right in order to give maximum swing and leverage. Each player beats his opponent with his stick as many times as possible with the intention of knocking him down, and eliminating him from the game. Players are usually unmarried men. The winner is carried away on a platform of poles to a group of girls waiting at the side of the arena who decide among themselves which of them will ask for his hand in marriage. Taking part in a stick fight is considered to be more important than winning it. . 5 hours of driving (180km).
Overnight camping in Kibish
Today we have a full day to explore and photograph the fascinating Surma, making the most of our time in this remote region of Ethiopia. We spend a second night at Kibish.
Overnight camping in Kibish
After breakfast, Start Game drive in the park to see its many animals and around 306 species of birds have been identified here, while large herds of Eland, some Buffalo, Elephants, Giraffe, Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, Burchell’s Zebra and others.
We will visit the Hamer Tribe surrounding or searching for ceremonies & cultural-events & if possible Bull Jumping Ceremony, Wedding Ceremony & visit Schools & Pastoral Society.visiting Gado’villages attainding some ceremonies.
The drive north to Lake Langano takes you across fertile land planted with bananas, cereals and tobacco. Langano is a holiday resort with a splendid beach dotted with acacia trees, pinkish volcanic water – ideal for swimming. Overnight at Sabanna beach Resort.
DRIVE BACK TO ADDIS AND CONNECT TO THE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT