Ethiopia - Omo Valley Explorer

Ethiopia - Omo Valley Explorer

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon visit some of the capital’s key sights including the Entoto Mountains, with great views over the city, the Ethnological Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Overnight stay at Jupiter Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Addis - Bale Mountains National Park (400km, approx. 8-9 hrs driving)

This morning we will drive to the Bale Mt. National Park, travelling thorough the southeast part of the country, where fertile land is cultivated by the Oromo people. We arrive at Dinsho Park Headquarters in the afternoon and will take a trek to search for endemic mammals and bird species. Later on we continue our drive to Goba. Overnight stay at Goba Wabe Shebele Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3 – Bale Mountains National Park (240km, approx. 4-5 hrs driving)

After an early breakfast we drive to the Sanetti Plateau through Harenna forest, where we will see Tulu Dimtu, the second highest mountain in the country (4377m). We will explore the area, and if we are lucky we may spot the Ethiopian Wolf. Overnight stay at Goba Wabe Shebele Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 4 – Bale to Yirgalem (270km, approx. 6 hrs driving)

After breakfast we continue with a drive to Yirgalem. We will pass through a number of coffee plantations and various fruit cultivating towns set in verdant countryside. Our destination is the Aregash Lodge. A natural retreat of astounding beauty and tranquillity, the Bamboo thatched Tukuls complement the traditional Sidama villages nearby. The surrounding forest is home for a diverse range of mammals and birds. A coffee plantation and the nightly visit of hyenas are further attractions to be found in the surrounding area. Overnight stay at Aregash lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 5 – Konso (340km, approx. 8hrs driving)

Today we will drive to Konso. On the way you will have the opportunity to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery of coffee plantations and we will stop to visit the Tutu Fella Stelae, prehistoric carved stone monuments that have mystified people for many centuries. Overnight stay at Kanta Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 6 – Konso to Jinka (170km, approx. 4hrs driving)

This morning we will visit one of the Konso villages and the Konso museum before continuing our drive to Jinka. We will travel through the lands of the Derase, Tsemay and Benna people. We will be able to see these tribal people and also the Ari people up close at the Thursday key Afer market. Overnight stay at Jinka Resort or similar. (BLD)

Days 7 - Mago National Park (160km, approx. 4 hrs driving)

This morning we will travel to Mago National Park and visit the Mursi people, renowned for their practice of extending their lips with clay plates. This afternoon we visit the Jinka Museum. Overnight stay at Jinka Resort or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 - Turmi (120km, approx. 3hrs driving)

Today our journey today takes us to Turmi. We travel through the lands of the very colourful Hamer people, renowned for their unusual hairstyles. En route we stop to visit the colourful Dimeka market which is attended by the elegant Hamer and Benna women. Since it borders on Benna territory, the Saturday market attracts locals from both tribes. After taking some time in the market we will drive to Turmi. Later we visit one of the Turmi villages where local people are known for their colourful hair styles and bull jumping traditions during wedding festivities. The ladies are normally adorned in beautifully decorated leather skirts. Overnight stay Turmi Lodge or similar (BLD) 

Day 9 – Turmi (140km, approx. 3-4 hrs driving)

We also spend time with the Karo people, known for their body decoration and scarification. We will drive to Koricho, a settlement for the Karo ethnic groups, perhaps the most beautiful, with its lofty views over the Omo River and traditional Karo dwelling. We will also visit another authentic village called Dus. Overnight stay at Turmi Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 10 – Turmi to Arbaminch (270km, approx. 7 hrs driving)

After a relaxing breakfast we will witness the fascinating spectacle that is the Monday Turmi market, principally attended by the Hamer people. Overnight stay at Paradise Lodge or similar. (BLD)

 Day 11 – Lake Chamo and Dorze

This morning we take a boat trip to view the crocodiles in Lake Chamo. This afternoon we drive to Chencha, to visit the Dorze people, with their unique culture, houses and traditions. Overnight stay at Paradise Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 – Rift Valley Lakes (320km, approx. 7-8 hrs driving)

Drive to the Rift Valley lakes of Shala, Abyata and Langano, admiring wonderful views and the many birds, including pelicans and flamingos. Then relax by the shores of Lake Langano and near to Munessa Forest or choose one of the options of trekking, bird-watching, horse-riding, boat excursions, cycling and more. Overnight stay at Sabanna Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

Day 13 – Addis Ababa

The morning will be at leisure to relax and swim by the beach. This afternoon, we continue our drive back to Addis for the night. En route we will have a stop at Lake Ziway for some bird watching. In the evening, there is a traditional dinner where you will experience live cultural music and dance. Overnight stay at Jupiter Hotel or similar.  (BLD)

Day 14 – City Tour and Departure

After breakfast, depending on the time of your flight, there may be time for some last minute exploration. Visits will include St George's Cathedral, the National Museum and the Merkato, reputedly the biggest open air market in Africa. The tour concludes with a transfer to Bole International Airport (BL)

Harar Extension- 5 days/4 nights

Day 1 – Awash (218 kms, approx 5.5 hours)
A morning drive takes you from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park. This park is one of the most beautiful in Ethiopia. The River Awash runs through a spectacular gorge; the park itself is home to 392 species of birds and many mammals live there including onyx, gazelles and antelopes. Upon arrival take a game drive in the park. Overnight at Genet Hotel or similar. (LD)

Day 2 – Harar (330 kms,approx 7.5 hours)
Early in the morning we will return to the park, to enjoy wonderful birdlife, hot springs, and the Awash Waterfalls. Afterwards continue to Harar, which is unique within Ethiopia. With its 368 alleyways squeezed in to just 1sq km, it is more reminiscent of Fez in Morocco than it is of any other Ethiopian city. Its countless mosques and shrines, coffee –scented streets, busy market place - probably the most colourful in Ethiopia- crumbling walls and charming people are reminiscent of a bygone era. Overnight stay at Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3 - Harar
Explore the old city on foot with its many sites including the house where Rimbaud lived; Harar was the poet's favourite city and he based himself there in order to trade in arms, eventually destined for the emperor Menelik. In the evening, see the renowned ‘hyena men’. Overnight stay at Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 4 - Dire Dawa (55 kms, approx 1.5 hours)
The road climbs into the Cercer Mountains (3,000 metres above sea level), offering magnificent panoramas of the surrounding countryside. Alongside the road we begin to see crops of 'chat', a bush whose leaves are chewed by the local people to provide light stimulation. The women of this region dress in very brightly coloured clothes. We will have lunch on arrival in Dire Dawa and in the afternoon we will explore the city. Overnight stay at Samrate Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 5 – Addis Ababa (452 kms, approx 7.5 hours)
Drive back to Addis Ababa to connect with your departure flight. (B)

Please note that the itineraries are slightly different for the tours beginning on 21st January and 28th April. A Tour Dossier is available in the"Downloads" section.

Our Historic Ethiopia tour taking in the historic sights of the north of the country runs directly before the Omo Valley Explorer tour so you can experience these amazing trips back to back!

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