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Two young girls painting their faces

Omo Valley Snapshot

Example 5 Day Tour
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Spend five days exploring arguably the most isolated and culturally rich regions in all of Africa. The Omo Valley in southwestern Ethiopia is home to a variety of diverse ethnic groups and tribes, many of whom still cling to their unique customs and live in relative isolation with the outside world. This short five-day Ethiopia tour offers a quick glimpse into their daily life. Visit villages of the Konso, Chencha, Tsemai, and Mursi people. Spend time wandering the stalls of the colorful Key Afar market where you can observe the Ari and Benna people buying and selling. This 5-day Omo Valley tour is for the traveler who is short on time, but wants to include a glimpse into the fascinating cultures on their Ethiopia trip.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Fly Arba Minch | Chencha Village
Day 2 : Lake Chamo Boat Ride | Konso Village
Day 3 : Jinka | Key Afer Market
Day 4 : Mago | Mursi Village | Arba Minch
Day 5 : Return Addis Ababa

Highlights

  • Visit Konso, Chencha, and Tsemai villages in the Omo Valley
  • Wander the Key Afar market and observe the Ari and Benna people at work
  • Travel to Mago National Park and visit the Mursi people

Places Visited

  • Africa
  • Ethiopia
  • Addis Ababa
  • Arba Minch
  • Jinka
  • Key Afer
  • Konso
  • Lake Chamo
  • Mago National Park
  • Omo Valley

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Two young girls painting their faces A woman from the Erbore tribe Omo Valley landscape A Hamer tribe woman Souvenirs from the Hamer people in Omo Valley A woman grinding sorghum from the Karo tribe Mursi tribe women wear lip plates

Day 1 Fly Arba Minch | Chencha Village

Drive to the airport in Addis Ababa for your flight south to the town of Arba Minch, the largest town in southern Ethiopia and a jumping off point for exploring the Omo Valley. Set amidst lush green hills near Lakes Abaya and Chamo, Arba Minch is divided into two distinct areas called Sikela, which is the downtown, residential and commercial area, and Shecha, which is the administrative center.

Upon arrival set out to visit the mountain village of Chencha and home of the Dorze people. The town is renowned for the people's cotton weaving here and the distinct beehive-shaped thatch homes. These structures stand two stories high and can last up to 50 years. Take a leisurely walk around the village, observing daily life and watching the women weave. Return to Arba Minch and your lodge this evening located in Nechisar National Park which spans the length of the isthmus separating Lake Abaya and Chamo. Spot kudu, zebra, eland, and gazelle in this area.

Drive Time; 1.5 hours

Day 2 Lake Chamo Boat Ride | Konso Village

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enjoy an hour-long boat ride on Lake Chamo to Azo Gegeya, the so-called 'crocodile market', and a common feeding ground for crocodile and pelican. Later drive an hour and a half to a Konso village. The Konso are considered a 'pagan' tribe and have an interesting practice of erecting totem poles (called waka) over the graves of their dead and have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of snakes. The cornerstone for Konso culture is a highly specialized agricultural economy on the fertile hillsides of the valley through stone terracing. Overnight at Kanta Lodge this evening.

Drive Time: 1.5 hours

Day 3 Jinka | Key Afer Market

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave Konso this morning for the 3-hour drive to Jinka. Along the way you stop at places of interest, including some villages of the Tsemay, Ari, and Benna people. Tsemay are the least known people in this region of Ethiopia and share political and spiritual similarities with the Erbore people. They are farmers who practice flood cultivation of sorghum and maize and rear livestock. Arrive on Thursdays to Key Afer for the big market day in the area. Many cultures come together to buy and sell. Here you see Ari people, who are the dominant people in this part of the Omo Valley and predominantly sell coffee and honey. The Benna people with their red-caly beads can also be seen along with their close relatives the Mali people. Continue on to Jinka where you overnight this evening.

If this day falls on a Saturday, visit another nearby market in Dimeka where Hamer and Karo people go to buy and sell. 

Drive Time: 3 Hours

Day 4 Mago | Mursi Village | Arba Minch

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Start a longer day of driving today with two hours towards Mago National Park, one of Africa's vast wilderness areas. While the acacia forests and open savannahs do offer habitat to over 100 species of mammals and 300 species of birds, the populations have dwindled. Visit a Mursi tribe in the area that lies along the Mago River in the heart of the park. This tribe is renowned for its fierce warriors and wild yet decorative appearance. Large circular clay labrets are placed in women's lower lip to reveal her worth prior to being married. This afternoon, drive five hours to return to Arba Minch.

Drive Time: 7.5 hours

Day 5 Return Addis Ababa

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to the airport this morning where you settle in for a day-use room at Jupiter Hotel. Spend the day free to explore Addis Ababa on your own before you are transferred back to the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination.

Eco-Omo Safari Lodge

Kanta Lodge

Paradise Lodge

Per person starting at
$2,814

Notes

Select a Date
Rates based on group of 2.

Included

  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
    • 4 Nights Hotel
  • 4 Days Private Guide Service
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.
    Arrival transfer in Arba Minch is included.
    Departure transfer in Arba Minch is included.
  • Photography Fees

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $390 Addis Ababa - Arba Minch - Addis Ababa
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • International Flights

Budgeting

  • $30 Meals not Included
  • $5 Airport Departure Tax
  • $50 Optional Excursions
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kassandra Miller
Kassi M

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

When to Go

Jan
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Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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