Authentic Ethiopia Tours
Omo Valley Tours

Travel to Omo Valley

Wild life and beautiful scenery aside, this part of the country is home to many diverse and fascinating peoples and cultures: the Dorze,: the Konso, …The lower  Omo valley  is home for an astonishing mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups-The Tsemay, The Erbore, The Hamer, The Ari, The Geleb/Dassench, The Karo,  The Mursi, The Bodi, The Surma…to mention but  a few.

Lacking any material culture and artifacts common to more “civilized” peoples, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Life styles are as various as the tribes themselves. The Bume and Karo mingle with the pastoral Geleb and the Hamer.  The Mursi and the Surma, meanwhile, mix basic subsistence cultivation with small-scale cattle-herding-lives of harsh simplicity uncluttered by the pressures of the modern world.

Let’s make the South and omo Valley Trips …


The Dorze, famed for their intricately woven houses and their woven cotton cloth, situated on the scenic mountain of Guge, these tribes are found 42 k.m away from ArbaMinch. Each amazing Dorze beehive shaped bamboo house has its own small garden surrounded by ”Enset”, beds of spices and cabbage, and tobacco.  Having the fire place in the middle, the hut has about 12 meters high.  All the family members and the castles live together.

The Konso, for centuries have practiced terracing and intensive agriculture in their steep land and are known for the eerie wooden totems they erect over graves of the dead. The Konso are considered as the most hardworking people. Don’t miss visiting The Konso’s chiefs house, The terracing, The ‘Newyork”.

The surma and Karo, for example, are experts at body painting-using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on one another’s face, chests, arms and legs.  These designs have not symbolic significance but are created purely for fun and aesthetic effects, each artist vying to outdo his fellows.

Geleb and Karo men sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre’ caps’ of hair usually containing several ostrich feathers.

The insertion of wooden and terracotta discs into the ear lobes is wide spread custom, and Mursi and Surma women also progressively split and stretch  their lower lips to make room for similar discs there, too.  Though it appear bizarre to outsiders, the clay lip plate, for Mursi and Surma, regard as  assign of beauty-generally speaking, the larger the lip plate the more desirable the wearer.

Periodically practiced by young men of both the Mursi and the Surma tribes, “the Donga”-Stick Fighting, is conducted with the utmost vigor since the winners, and those judged to have shown the greatest bravery, are much admired by nubile girls.

Elaborate hairstyle a form of personal adornment for the Hamer tribes. Hamer women wear their hair in dense ringlets smeared with mud and clarified butter and topped off with a head-dress featuring oblongs of gleaming Aluminum.  “Jumping over the bull”, another important event not to be missed while you are with the Hamer tribes.  In this rite of passage, youths are required to jump onto backs of a line of thirty or forty cattle, run the whole length of this formidable obstacle, jump onto the other side and then repeat the entire procedure three more times without falling. 
“Evangadi”- Dancing at Night- another important event  practiced by the young women and men of the Hamer tribes.  Hamer tribes are attractive, friendly and the most photogenic tribes in the omo valley.

The best time of the year for organizing tours to Omo Valley runs from mid November to February and  from July to end of September.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2009 14:49