Encounter the stunningly diverse landscapes and tribes of Ethiopia

Often overlooked, Ethiopia’s spectacular nature reserves and diverse tribal communities are ripe for exploration. Go off the beaten track and visit remote tribes in the Omo Valley, or take to the high road in search of Ethiopian wolves in the Bales Mountain range. Spot crocodiles lazing on the shores of Lake Chamo and explore the five islands of Lake Ziway. This is a raw and immersive journey into the hidden heart of Ethiopia.

TRIP CHANGES 2018:
• Omo Valley taken out of itinerary
• 3 nights in Harar added
• 1 night in Awash National Park Added
• 2 nights in Wendo Genet taken out and replaced with 2 nights in Awassa

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Finish
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Country
Ethiopia
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YDOO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Meet friendly tribespeople in the Omo Valley and learn about the many different tribal identities in the region.

  • Visit the Awassa Children's Project and see how donations get put to good use.

  • Look for the elusive Simien red fox in Bale Mountains National Park and climb the summit of Tulu Dimtu for spectacular views.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 30 September 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 October 2017 - 31 December 2018

Border Information: If you are joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Welcome to Ethiopia! Today is the arrival day for those joining in Arba Minch, and will be a free day to explore the town. There will be a short informal meetand-greet with our local Omo Valley guide at 6:00pm today - please note that if our truck is travelling up from Nairobi, you will not meet our regular Dragoman crew until your arrival in Konso tomorrow (as they will be travelling to the town of Moyale today).

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Hotel for the night: Zebib Pension
Zebib Pension
Secha
Arba Minch
Ethiopia
Tel - +251 4688 14788 

About Arba Minch:
Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market.

Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over 7 metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will travel to Konso, home to the local Konso people and our gateway to the very remote Omo Valley region of southern Ethiopia.

If our overland truck is travelling up from Nairobi, those joining in Arba Minch will take a transfer in a locally-chartered vehicle, and will meet our Dragoman crew this afternoon in Konso - there will be an important group meeting with your leader at 6:00pm this evening

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

About Konso:
In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is the town of Konso, the gateway to the Omo Valley. Home to the Konso people, a Cushtic speaking people native to the region, there are many traditional Konso village in the area where little has changed about the way of life over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld. 
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
" Day 3 to 5 "

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes.

We will camp in basic campsites on all these nights without possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip).

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day.

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES

Journey through the remote Omo Valley, visiting several tribal communities along the way (possibly including the Hamer, Banna, Mursi, Ari, Konso or Danesesch tribes) : Included in Kitty

About Omo Valley Region:
The Omo Valley region is unusual in that it is home to so many different tribal groups, all living very close to one another in such a small area. Anthropologists believe that this is because thousands of years ago this area of Africa acted as a kind of ethnic crossroads, as different groups of people migrated between north, south, east and west. Exploring the many small communities and settlements here will give you a fascinating insight into the different tribes, their cultures, traditions and way of life. 

On Dragoman trips we travel with a local guide, who will be able to introduce us to the Hamer, Mursi, Arbore and the Danesesch tribes. There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guides will explain some of their traditions and customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities. 
Accommodation
  • Basic Camping (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
Today we will exit the Omo Valley region and arrive in the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch : ETB 200

Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, a stunning lake with a dense population of crocodiles : ETB 450

Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people : ETB 100

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
On the next day, we will have a free day for some well-earned rest after the Omo Valley, or to take an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 8 to 9 "

Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we will visit the Awassa Children's Project in the afternoon. This is a home for local children orphaned by the HIV epidemic, and we will be shown around and see how public donations and the support of Dragoman goes towards feeding, sheltering and educating the children.

After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awassa, where we will stay for the 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

On the following day we will have a a free day to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, and take a dip in the nearby hot springs.

In Wendo Genet we will camp in the grounds of a small local hotel

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the Dragoman-supported Awassa Children's Project, a home for orphaned children from the area : Included in Kitty

Relax in the hot springs at Wendo Genet : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Head out on a short walk to the waterfalls near Wendo Genet : ETB 100 

About Wendo Genet:
Wendo Genet is a resort town in Ethiopia located near Awassa. Wendo Genet is known for its hot springs and is surrounded by primary Ethiopian forests.

The Wendo Genet hotel was established in 1964, on land used as recreation site for the royal family until 1975 - Emperor Haile Selassie bequeathed its name, meaning "Wendo Paradise", in reference to the beautiful panorama with a rich endowment of forests, wildlife and abundant water.

About Awassa:
Awassa is a small town near the Ethiopian city of Shashemene, and was the capital of the former Sidamo Province. During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Children's Project, which promotes sensible, culturally responsible relief work aimed at assisting children primarily orphaned by AIDS, educating people in Africa's Sub-Saharan region about AIDS prevention, and offering a proactive and immediate approach towards the resolution of serious health and social issues facing the region.

The project runs a children's centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS, the One Love Theatre AIDS education theatre company, and the Awassa Youth Campus community centre in downtown Awassa.

For further information on the project please go to http://www.awassachildrensproject.org/. 

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 10 to 12 "

Today we will leave Wendo Genet and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys! On the other day we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the second-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves.

In the Bale Mountains we will stay in dorms in a basic lodge near the entrance to the National Park. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Head out on various walks through the forests, moors, and mountains of the beautiful Bale Mountains National Park  : Included in Kitty

Head up to the incredible Sanetti Plateau on a day trip with our overland truck, stopping to explore the area on foot and search for Ethiopian Wolves : Included in Kitty

About Bale Mountains National Park:
The Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4,000 metres in height. As you climb into the hills the terrain changes from forest on the lower slopes, through junipers and heather, to the exotic moorlands of the plateau criss-crossed by fast flowing streams.

This beautiful park is home to three species unique to Ethiopia - the Ethiopian wolf, Menelik's bushbuck and the Mountain nyala. There are some 200 species of birds within the park, including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species.

There are many different trekking routes around the National Park, through the forests and mountains and up onto the moorlands. The high Sanetti Plateau is accessible to vehicles, so we can also explore this high moor in our overland truck. 
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will leave the Bale Mountains and head to the small town of Ziway.

After lunch we will take an included boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts.

In Ziway we will stay in a small local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Take a boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, and explore the old Coptic monastery on the island : Included in Kitty

About Lake Ziway:
Lake Ziway, about 100kms south of Addis Ababa, nurtures an array of wildlife. Birds, hippopotamuses and fish roam the lake, which is dotted with five islands. One of the islands, Tulo Gudo, is home to an atmospheric and colourful old Coptic Christian monastery which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the 9th Century CE. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today we will travel to the bustling Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where we will have a free afternoon to explore the city.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

About Addis Ababa:
Referred to more commonly as simply "Addis", the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2,300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate.

Addis has many sights to offer visitors - get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia's many tribal groups at the Ethnological Museum, see the stunning fossil collection at the National Museum, and don't miss the chaotic bustle of the Mercato, one of Africa's largest open-air markets. All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue, and there is often some excellent live music to be found in the centre of the city! 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Border Information: if you are leaving in Addis Ababa, you will most likely exit Ethiopia from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Addis Ababa. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit "Lucy", one of the oldest complete hominid skeletons ever found, at the National Museum : ETB 10

Stroll through the Addis Ababa Mercato, one of the largest markets in Africa : Free

Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism : Free

Visit the St. George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral), built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians in 1896 : Free

Visit the Menelik Mausoleum, built to serve as the tombs of emperors and princes : Free

Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie : ETB 100 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, Boat

Accommodation

Camping ( 6 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 8 nights )

Dates & availability

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Important notes

We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Ethiopia before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

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Reviews

Our Omo to Addis trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Omo to Addis , January 2017

Hermann Mueller