Get to know the Southern Ethiopia's fascinating people
Explore Southern Ethiopia with us for its wonderful people and landscapes
A truly special individual tour which can be crafted to suit special requirements, this is for visitors who are keen to get to know the amazing people of Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region. If you want to attend some of the markets - one of the events which do attract visitors to certain places such as Key Afer and Dimeka - we recommend you plan travel dates so as to arrive in Ethiopia on a Monday.
Start the trip with a quick flight to Arba Minch, effectively a 'gateway' to the South. Based at Paradise Lodge visit the Dorze people and savour fine Rift Valley scenery during a boat trip on Lake Chamo at the little-explored Nech'Sar National Park. Continue to Konso territory - you'll know you've arrived there when you see the remarkable, terraced hillsides - to stay at the simple but charming, eco-friendly Kanta Lodge. This has one of our favourite restaurants in Ethiopia - fantastic meals are served indoors or outside under a massive wild fig tree. Konso is one of Ethiopia's UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites and you'll be taken to a village here.
Travel then to remote Jinka, near where you visit the Mursi tribe, who have among the most distinctive identities of the Ethiopian tribes. Their 'signature' practice is the wearing of large lip-plates by women. You then travel to remote Turmi, near the banks of the Omo River. Here, based at Buska Lodge you get to know the Hamar and Karo tribes. If markets interest you, be sure to plan your dates so that you're able to take in the Key Afar market on a Thursday and Dimeka on a Saturday.
If you are visiting from late May to September, you might just be lucky enough to be able to attend one of the most spectacular Traditional Tribal Events to be seen anywhere in Africa: a Hamar bull-jumping ceremony.
Return then to Arba Minch and head for tranquil Yirgalem to stay for a couple of nights in Aregash Lodge, a wonderful base from where to see sites in the region and also, take in some rest and relaxation time. End the trip with a night at Lake Langano before returning to the capital.
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Day 1: Fly to Addis Ababa
Take an overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight from London Heathrow to Addis Ababa
Day 2: Welcome to Ethiopia!
On arrival, your dedicated, experienced and professional guide meets you and transfers you to Nexus Hotel where you stay overnight, breakfast included.
Day 3: Flight to Arba Minch
Fly with your guide to Arba Minch, a 'gateway' to the Southern region. Stay 2 nights at the comfortable Paradise Lodge with all meals indicated. You will be taken for sightseeing locally, or, you can relax at the lodge which has a large, sparkling pool and excellent restaurant. From the deck, there are marvellous views over the wide and densely forested gorge.
Day 4: Arba Minch and surrounds
In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, Nech'Sar National Park. Then take a guided visit to a Dorze village. The Dorze are best known for the design of their homes ('like bee-hives on steroids' as Philip Briggs writes in his Bradt Ethiopia Guide) and their weaving abilities..
Day 5: Drive to Konso
Travel to Konso, where you see impressive, intricately terraced hillsides in the countryside. Overnight in Kanta Lodge, all meals included. You will be taken to see one of the unusual and distinctive Konso villages
Day 6: Travel to Jinka
Travel to Jinka, with a stop at Key-Afar market. Overnight in the simple Eco Omo Safari Lodge with all meals included.
Day 7: Jinka - Mago National Park - Turmi
Accompanied by an experienced local guide, your guide and your driver take you to one of the Mursi villages, where you get to know about the everyday lives of this tribe.
You can stop if you wish at Mago National Park for a break and for some sightseeing - there's good birding; plenty of butterflies and you may see small mammals such as Dik-diks.
Continue to Turmi, near where you overnight in Buska Lodge, all meals included.
Day 8: Hamar country
In the morning, visit a Hamar village to get to know the culture of this tribe. Afterwards, visit Dimeka Market. Overnight in Buska Lodge, all meals included. During your time at Buska Lodge, you can also visit a village of the Karo tribe, overlooking the Omo.
Day 9: Back to Arba Minch
After breakfast, depart on the long but scenic drive through varying countryside back to Arba Minch where you arrive in the afternoon and stay overnight in Paradise Lodge.
Day 10: Arba Minch - Yirgalem
Drive via Sodo and the busy lakeside town of Awassa/ Hawassa, to Yirgalem, near which you stay for 2 nights in the charming Aregash Lodge with all meals included. Towards dusk your hosts will inevitably invite you for a traditional coffee ceremony, during which, as the sun sets over the forested gorge, one of the staff calls out to wild Spotted hyenas and you can witness a very scaled-down version of the better-known hyena-feeding events that go on in eastern Ethiopia.
Day 11: Yirgalem
'Yirgalem is lovely!', many who have been there report. We concur. There is good birding in the forest around the lodge (also, plenty of mischievous Grivet and Colobus monkeys about). You can also take a visit to see Forest coffee:Ethiopia is of salutatory significance for coffee enthusiasts, because it was originally discovered in the Ethiopian district of Kaffa. All over the country, coffee ceremonies are held usually in the early evening and Ethiopian coffee is internationally rated as among the best available, along with certain Latin American varieties. If you like, you can also visit the Tutu Falla stone structures near Wenago, past Dilla.
Day 12: To the Rift Valley Lakes
Tranquil Lake Langano is your destination today: set off after breakfast to the scenic Rift Valley Lakes region, where at Lake Langano you stay for the night in Hara Langano with all meals included.
Day 13: Back to Addis Ababa
After a relaxed breakfast (and if you wish, some sightseeing) at Lake Langano, travel up to Addis Ababa where you have the use of a day/evening room at Nexus Hotel. (Drive time is about 4 hours and if you like, you can stop at the Tiya Stelae site). V
Evening transfer to Bole airport to check in for the Ethiopian Airlines flight back to London.
Day 14: Fly back to UK
Depart around 01h25 on the Ethiopian Airlines flight to London, arriving Heathrow at 06h55.
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Ethiopia Holidays, Africa
Based on 2 people travelling together and sharing in twin or double room accommodation, price per person includes return economy class international Ethiopian Airlines flights from London Heathrow to Addis Ababa; internal flight to Arba Minch; air taxes; all private 4WD transportation; services of experienced, professional, English-speaking Ethiopian guide and of driver; excursions and activities as outlined; all park fees; entrance fees and permits; accommodation based on twin or double room occupancy with meals as indicated.
Photographic fees in the South are not included. Ask us for details.
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