Addis AbabaRift ValleyJinka Konso

The Southern Tribal Route tour is perfect for immersing yourself in the cultural diversity of Ethiopia’s tribes. Starting your journey in Addis Ababa, the diplomatic capital of Africa, headquarters of the African Union and home to over 100 embassies. Visit the National Museum where the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy lie. Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral and enjoy a panoramic view of the capital from the Entoto Hills before exploring Arba Minch, one of the most significant towns in the southern region and a gate to the Omo Valley. It is often portrayed as a cultural Garden of Eden and is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth because of its wide variety of people and animals. The region is known for its culture and diversity: Cruise Lake Chamo is the home of many hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Visit Tribes of the Mursi known for the clay plates inserted behind the lower lips of their women. Discover the home of the Hammer, known for their body decoration, moonlight dances (Evangedi Dance) and bull-jumping. Karo tribes were considered masters of body painting before returning to Addis Ababa.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Explore cultural Garden of Eden
  • Cruise Lake Chamo
  • Visit local indigenous tribes
  • Cultural tour of Addis Ababa

What’s included

  • Private tours for most included activities
  • Meet & greet airport service
  • Luxury or boutique accommodation at your chosen level
  • Expert guides in each destination

flexibility

This is an example itinerary. It is fully flexible; you can add or detract days and include hotels at your chosen budget. It departs daily.

8

Nights

Price Guide

$TBC pp

Our quotes are bespoke for your customised trip. The prices displayed are indicative only, read more

Day 1

Fly to Addis Ababa

plan line
Day 2

Arba Minch: foothills of the Rift Valley

After breakfast, you’ll head to Arba Minch. On the way, you will visit the archaeological site of Tiya, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, where you can see the northern-most example of a particular type of engraved, standing Stellae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. The stellae are believed to have been erected between the 12th-14th centuries and were almost certainly grave markers. Recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between 18-30, and buried in foetal positions.

Then you’ll drive to Arba Minch, (“Forty Springs”), which is the largest town in Southern Ethiopia. The town lies at an elevation of around 1,300m in the foothills of the Rift valley wall, above a cliff overlooking the mountains that separate the lakes of Chamo and Abaya. With mountains rising to almost 4000m to the west, it is difficult to think of a more perfectly situated town anywhere in East Africa. In Arba Minch, whenever you walk and at whatever time of day, there are stunning views in all direction. Arba Minch is also the unofficial capital of the Ethiopian Rastafarian community. The community’s official name is the Ethiopian World Jamaica Federation

Southern Tribal Route
Southern Tribal Route
Day 3

Jinka

This morning you’ll start driving to south Omo, which is often portrayed as a cultural Garden of Eden and is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth because of the wide variety of people and animals that inhabit it. The region is known for its culture and diversity. You’ll drive on to Jinka through Konso, Weito and Key Afer.

Jinka is the administrative capital of South Omo zone. Firstly, you’ll drive to Yetnebersh village to visit Ari tribe and observe how they make local liquor made of Sorghum, Garlic and maize and how they make a pot.

If today is Thursday, you will stop at Key Afer to attend the Thursday market. Key Afer market is the best-known market of the lower Omo valley. It is attended by many decorated tribes of Bena, Ari and Hamer.

After taking a rest at Jinka you’ll visit the recently opened south Omo research centre and museum, which is perched on a hill overlooking the town centre and offers an attractive view.

Day 4

Mursi Tribe and Turmi

Today after breakfast you’ll drive to Mursi villages, 70kms away. The Mursi has become a cultural symbol of the Lower Omo Valley. They are the most renowned of the Omotic – speakers, famed for their practice of inserting large clay plates behind the lower lips of their women and for their colourful dresses.

Then you’ll drive to Turmi via Dimeka and Key Afer. Turmi is the home of the Hammer who are much known for their body decoration, moonlight dances (Evangedi Dance) and bull-jumping. Bull jumping marks the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood.

Southern Tribal Route
Southern Tribal Route
Day 5

Karo Tribes and Kolcho

After having breakfast you’ll drive to the village of Kolcho and visit the Karo tribes. They are considered masters of body painting, in which they engage when preparing for a dance, feast or celebration.

Then you’ll drive back to Turmi to visit one of the smaller villages that lie outside the Hamer towns of Turmi. Incredibly neat and constructed entirely from mud, wood and thatch, one of the most striking aspects of these small villages –which typically consist of a few extended families across perhaps 10-15huts –is the total absence of non –organic or western artefacts.

Day 6

Konso

Following breakfast, you’ll drive to Konso and, after the opportunity to refresh, you’ll visit Konso village.

The Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Kondo highlands. A registered UNESCO site, it constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. Konso people are known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials and the carved totems in which they decorate their graves.

At Konso, visit the village of Machekie and en route there is a home of the Konso tribes’ kings, which is well worth visiting.

Southern Tribal Route
Southern Tribal Route
Day 7

Lake Chamo

Today after breakfast you’ll drive to Arba Minch.

Upon arrival you’ll transfer to your hotel and, after the opportunity for a rest, you’ll have a boat trip over Lake Chamo to enjoy the hippos and crocodiles at a close range. This is a good place to watch a large number of crocodiles on the shores. This place is known as “Azo-Gebeya”, meaning Crocodile Market, and it offers one of Africa’s most impressive displays of big crocs.

In the late afternoon, you will drive to Dorze people at Chencha (about 35km away). The Dorze are famous for their huge beehive huts which are among the most distinctive traditional structures to been seen anywhere in Africa. Every Dorze compound is surrounded byenset (false banana) and other crops. In addition to this, some of the country’s best-woven cotton comes from this village Chencha and the Shama (traditional) cloth produced around Chencha is regarded to be the finest in Ethiopia. After soaking all this up, you’ll drive back to Arba Minch for an overnight stay.

Day 8

Addis Ababa

Today your city tour includes Mt. Entoto, the highest peak in Addis Ababa, giving the chance to catch stunning views over the city and the surrounding area from the summit. It is the first settlement in Addis Ababa where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace in 1887; a unique place which offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Ethiopia’s distinct culture. The compound at the peak hosts the Entoto Mariam church, an Ethiopian artefact museum as well as Menelik II’s palace.

As one drives up the hill there is an appreciable drop in temperature and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road. Roadside stalls offer fresh Ethiopian coffee. If you have an interest in Ethiopian traditional clothes it may be possible, depending on time, to stop by at Shero Meda Market, where there is a wide variety of beautiful fabrics, shawls, scarves, dresses, tops and jewellery, offering good ideas for gifts.

Your last night in Ethiopia will be a memorable farewell dinner at one of Addis Ababa’s wonderful cultural or international restaurants.

Historic Northern Route
dot joiner for itins
Day 9

Fly home

A note on price

The prices outlined above are a rough guide to give you an idea of costs and enable you to budget for your trip.

Guide prices are generally for private arrangements based on twin share, in well located, good quality accommodation (excluding international flights).

Please note costs are indicative and may vary due to a number of factors such as; travel date, hotel choice, room category, number of people travelling and prevailing exchange rates.

Price Guide $TBC per person

When to travel

jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

The optimum time to visit Ethiopia is from mid-October to January when the rainy season has come to an end and the countryside is still quite green. This is also the peak tourist season, so facilities and sites of interest tend to be busier than at other times. It is well worth aiming to be in Lalibela or Gondar for Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany), another wonderfully colourful celebration held on 19 January (except on leap years). Dry season, from February to May, is also a good time to visit, though the scenery tends to become drier and browner towards the end of this period, except in the far south where the first rains often start as early as April. Wildlife can be observed throughout the year, November to March – is particularly rewarding for bird watching.

Add on’s

There is a multitude of options to add to your Ethiopian Southern Tribal tour, for example, visiting many of Ethiopia’s historical and cultural centres.

Visit the Danakil region, which is the lowest point in Africa and also one of the hottest. This deep depression in the desert resulted from the rifting process that formed the Red Sea and the great African Rift Valley or visit neighbouring countries like Tanzania, Kenya or Sudan.

Want a quote on a trip like this?

Speak to one of our travel specialists and we’ll create your personalised itinerary just for you