Discover the many tribal cultures of remote southern Ethiopia and the spectacular lands of Kenya.

Venture to remote southern Ethiopia and into the realm of the Great Rift Valley on this incredible Africa adventure. Journey from Arba Minch to Nairobi, via the remote reaches of the Omo Valley, where myriad tribal cultures live has they have done for centuries. Cross into the awe-inspiring landscapes of Kenya, where the Samburu and Nakuru national parks are brimming with Africa's great beasts and birds, and the slopes of Mount Kenya offer hidden caves and hiking trails aplenty.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Countries
Ethiopia, Kenya
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
YDOM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Stray off the beaten track to the remote tribal areas of the Omo Valley, where a staggering concentration of different cultures live side-by-side in such a small area

  • Be amazed by untouched landscapes and festive tribal cultures in Samburu, a national park in which lions, elephants and impala could appear at any moment

  • A free day in Naro Moru lets you explore the foothills of Mount Kenya as you please. Hike trails in search of exotic birds, explore hidden caves, or game-drive through Sweetwater Reserve

  • Stunning in its own right, Lake Nakuru National Park offers an excellent chance of spotting one of Africa's most sought-after beasts, the rare black rhinoceros

  • Visit Elsamere, the former home of legendary conservationist Joy Adamson, on the banks of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2019 - 31 December 2019

Border Information: If joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH). There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting. The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Arba Minch. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Arba Minch before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Arba Minch.

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

Activity Approximate Cost
Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch ETB 200
Boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the crocodile 'market' ETB 450
Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people ETB 100

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.
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.

In the Omo Valley we will camp in basic campsites on each night without the 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 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!).

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.

ACTIVITIES:
(Included)
Guided Omo Valley Tribal Tour visiting either the Hamer, Banna, Mursi or Ari tribes.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
Today we will arrive in the town of Konso, marking the end of our time in the Omo Valley region.

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.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today our group will split between those finishing in Arba Minch and those continuing towards Nairobi.

Those ending their trip in Arba Minch will have a local transfer back to Arba Minch today, where you stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time: 3-5 hours.

Those continuing south will have a full drive day across the Kenyan border to Moyale, where we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Border Information: Exit Ethiopia at Moyale, enter Kenya at Moyale.

Estimated Drive Time: 8-10 hours. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This is the final day for those leaving in Arba Minch.

For the group continuing towards Nairobi, today we will have an early start and travel through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Moyale-Marsabit road to the central Samburu region. The scenery along this route is spectacular, as you travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

We will reach the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post this evening, where we will visit a Samburu village - this evening there will be fantastic display of traditional singing and dancing from the Samburu villagers, and a chat around the camp fire with the locals to ask them all about their way of life.

We stay at a Samburu village just outside the Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but less known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.

We will camp in the village in the heart of the community tonight, where there are no toilet or washing facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will sometimes be accompanied by two armed police escorts between Moyale and Archer's Post. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 
Included: Visit and stay at the Samburu tribal community and cultural project, learning all about the culture of the Samburu people.
Included in Kitty
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning we will be shown around the Samburu village by our hosts - we will be shown around their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people! We will then enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will enjoy game drives in the truck (breaking for a long lunch during the heat of the day).

Samburu is a stunning National Reserve and is a great opportunity to spot big game such as cheetah, leopards, lions, and buffalo. The Reserve is also home to other animals rarely seen in the National Parks further south, such as Grevy's zebras, Somali ostriches and gerenuk ('giraffe-necked antelopes').

Tonight we will wild camp in a camping area in the National Reserve - facilities are very basic, but the area is a 5-10 minute walk from Samburu Lodge.

Please note that during very wet conditions we may need to use locally chartered 4x4 jeeps rather than our truck to get a good game drive in - in this instance we may make this option available at extra cost. 

The Samburu region has hardly been touched by tourism and its pristine wilderness is home to a fascinating mix of Kenya's nomadic tribes who still retain traditional ways of life. These tribes include the Samburu, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin.
The Samburu National Reserve is famous for its reticulated giraffes, Grevy's zebras, graceful gerenuks, and Beisa oryx, whilst crocodiles are often seen in the river. If we are lucky, we may also see lions or leopards here. The Ewaso Nyiro River meanders through the reserve forming a ribbon of oases in the parched landscape.

We will visit the Samburu Cultural Centre outside Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but lesser known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.


INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Head out for a wildlife safari in our overland truck through the Samburu National Reserve, in search of local wildlife including gerenuk and Grevy's zebra: Included in Kitty
Accommodation
  • Camping (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will get up early to spend the morning enjoying some more excellent game driving in our truck through the Samburu National Reserve. When the animals start to take shelter from the heat of the midday, we will exit the reserve and drive to the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Estimated Drive Time:4-5 hours.

On the next day, we will have a free day in Naro Moru to take optional walks around the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, explore the nearby Mau Mau caves, or take an optional game drive in the nearby Sweetwaters National Reserve.

In Naro Moru we will stay at a well equipped campsite. 

Naro Moru is a tiny village on the western flanks of Mount Kenya, most famous as being the starting point for the most popular trekking route up the mountain. There are many activities available for short-term visitors, such as day-treks on the cool forested slopes of the mountain to look for birds and local caves used by the Mau Mau in their fight against the British in the 1950s.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit the spectacular Thomson Falls at Nyahururu: Free

Guided walk to the Nayaroi Caves in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, used by the Mau Mau during the rebellion against British colonial rule: KES 1000

Head out horse riding in the forests around Naro Moru: KES 1000

Nature walks around the base of Mt. Kenya, searching for bird life and Colobus monkeys: USD 15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will head through the hills of central Kenya, through the area's beautiful scenery and tea plantations, to arrive at Nakuru.

If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Time: 4-6 hours. 

On the next day, we head into Nakuru National Park for an included full-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos!

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town. 

Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1968 to protect the huge flocks of lesser and greater flamingos that live here. At times there are over one million of these spectacular birds roaming around the acrid waters of the soda lake that is the centrepiece of the park. Even if you are not a keen birdwatcher, the sight is inspiring and it is not hard to understand why the lake has become such a favourite for African wildlife documentaries.

Nakuru is also where much of the film Out of Africa was shot. The park is located on the floor of the Rift Valley and is a mixture of bushland, forest and rocky escarpment. Each area is an important habitat for many different species of wildlife. Besides the prolific bird life, the park is also well established as one of East Africa's premier parks for big game.

Beside the lake, hippo, water buck, warthogs, Bohor's reed buck and zebra can regularly be found. Further up in the forests there's a large population of black and white colobus monkeys, and the ultimate forest predator, the leopard. However, Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population.
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Take a safari in 4x4 vans in the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park : Included in Kitty 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective: USD 5 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we make our way to Naivasha, on the edge of a beautiful calm lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here we will have the chance to take an optional boat trip on the lake to spot hippos and African fish eagles, and also to visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the old home of Joy Adamson.

Estimated Drive Time: 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some excellent optional activities around Naivasha. Naivasha is the base for exploring the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the Hell's Gate National Park, two scenic areas that are some of the only places in East Africa where you can safely explore and look for wildlife on foot. In Naivasha we will stay at a well equipped campsite on the lake shore.

About Naivasha:
Northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi lies the serene Lake Naivasha. A beautiful lake with some excellent campsites along the shore, there is the fantastic opportunity to take a calm boat trip to spot a wide variety of birds (including the African fish eagle) and the hippos that call the lake home. Naivasha is also home to the Elsamere Conservation Centre, a sustainability and conservation trust based in the former home of Joy of George Adamson, the founders of the Born Free project.

Naivasha is also the gateway to the fabulous Hell's Gate National Park - a rugged and primordial landscape, Hell's Gate is full of wildlife but contains no dangerous predators, meaning that it is one of the few National Parks that visitors are able to explore on foot and by bicycle. The nearby game reserve of Crater Lake is also perfect for walking safaris amongst the wildlife of the region.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the former house of the conservationists Joy and George Adamson : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Boat trip on the beautiful and serene Lake Naivasha (price for the whole boat): KES 7000

Walking safari in the wildlife-rich Crater Lake Game Sanctuary: USD 40 

Explore the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Hell's Gate National Park by foot or by bicycle: USD 50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will drive to the bustling Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where we will have free time on arrival.

In Nairobi we will camp in the grounds of a peaceful eco-camp in the suburb of Karen.

Estimated Drive Time: 3-4 hours.

Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes its name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention its vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the giraffes and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)

Meals

15 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 13 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4

Accommodation

Camping ( 14 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 1 night )

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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

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.