13-Days Omo Valley – Bale Mountain – Dallol Tours

Short Information of the Tour.

Tour Code: AETT 0013

Attraction: Cultural, History, Religion, Tribes, Nomads, Adventure of Dallol and Wildlife exploration at Bale Mountain National Park

Duration: 13 Days/12 Nights

Transportation: Surface Drive, Domestic flights, Game drive at Bale mountain national park and Boat ride on lake Chamo.

Time to Travel: January – July

Summary:

This 13 Days/12 Nights tour itinerary offers a combination of historical, nature, tribes, tomads, adventure, cultural attractions of the Southern Ethiopia, a visit to Dorze, Konso, Murci, Hamer, Karo, Dasanach and Bena tribes of lower omo valley cultural circuit and a visit to borena people Addis Ababa, Chencha, Arba minch, Konso, Jinka, Bale Mountain National park, Denakil Depression Dallol, Mekele and Awassa cites will be the main destination of the tour.

Upon arrival, Meet and greet Access Eco Trekking Tours representative at exit of luggage claim Bole international Airport and transfer you to your reserved Hotel.

DAY 01: Drive Addis Ababa Arba Minch

In the morning, after having breakfast, Drive from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch en route you will visit some of Rift Valley lakes that are teemed with different bird species.

Overnight: Dorze Lodge.

DAY 02: Boat Trip on Lake Chamo – Excursion to Dorze Village

Morning after breakfast make boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the largest Crocodiles in Africa which measure up to 7 Mts. Afternoon visit Chencha village and the Dorze people’s village.

Lake Chamo:

Lake Chamo is located in the mountainous and verdant landscapes of Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, just south of Lake Abaya and the city of Arba Minch. The lake’s northern shores lie in Nechisar National Park contributing to the stunning panoramic views of open savannah plains and soaring mountain ranges.

Besides wildlife like catfish, Nile perch and some hippos, the main showstopper at Chamo Lake is the large population of Nile Crocodiles. Visitors can get a close look at these impressive reptiles (some measure over 6 meters long!) on a boat trip (2-3 hours) to Crocodile Market, a stretch of sand where the crocodiles like to bask in the warm sun.

Dorze People:

The Dorze live in the Gamo Gofa region, an eight hour journey from Addis Ababa. There are 12 kebeles (Amharic for village or small township) of Dorze people.

The Omotic Dorze people are famous for their beehive shaped huts which are constructed with vertical hardwood poles and woven bamboo. According to the inhabitants this towering, re-locatable, structure can go as high as 12 meters and last from 60-80 years. Traditionally the Bamboos that are used as frames for the huts are cut during moonlight. For insulating the roof of the hut a thatch of False Banana (Enset), grass and cover of the Bamboo stem are used. Through time when termites destroy the basement of the huts, after having avoided the rotten part of the basement, the whole structure can be lifted and relocated in a different place of the same compound. This practice explains why the hut is first built so high. The older the house the shorter the height.

Overnight: Dorze Lodge

DAY 03: Drive Turmi – Konso

After breakfast drive to Turmi en-route visiting Tsemay and Bana tribes. Then walk to the villages of the Hammer people that enjoy body decoration and wear quantities of colorful beads and clay hair buns with Ostrich feathers spend pleasant after noon with friendly Hamar people.

Bana People (Tribes):

The Bana (Banna or Bena) people who are sometimes referred to as Hamer-Bana are indigenous pastoral and semi-nomadic people living in the harsh environment of lower Omo Valley region in Ethiopia.

The Bana are primarily located in the Gemu Gofa province, which is east of the Omo River and north of Lake Turkana. This area, called the Lower Omo region, has remained one of the most inaccessible and least developed part of East Africa (Kenyan border). They are closely related to their neighbors, the Hamar, in both language and culture.

Apart from Bana people being pastoral tribe whose culture revolves around cattle and their harsh environment forcing them to be semi-nomadic, during the dry season, the men walk long distances with their herds looking for water and grass, and also to harvest wild honey. Honey collection is now one of their major activities when not herding. The markets in Key Afer and Jinka are often visited by them.

The Bana practice ritual dancing and singing. The men often have their hair dressed up with a colorful clay cap that is decorated with feathers. Both the men and women wear long garments and paint their bodies with white chalk. Women of the tribe wear beads in their hair that is held together with butter.

Tsemay People (Tribes):

Tsemay people also known as Tsemako or Tsamai, are an Nilotic ethnic group of southwestern Ethiopia. They belong to the lowland East Cushitic family in which the Dassanatch and the Arbore are also part.

Most Tsemay live in the Hamer Bena woreda of the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region, in the Lower Omo River Valley and just to the west of the Konso special woreda. They found specifically in the town of Weyto, which is approximately 50 km from the town of Jinka, on the Konso-Jinka road and North of Weyto river.

Their neighbors include the Konso to the East, the Bana – Bashada group to the West, the Male to the North, and the Arbore to the South.

They speak an East Cushitic language called Tsamai, which is one of the Dullay languages, and thus related to the Bussa and Gawwada languages.

Overnight: Buska Lodge.

DAY 04: Excursion to Omorate (Dasanach)

Excursion to Omorate to visit the Dasenach tribes across the Omo river by wooden local boat then come back to Turmi in the afternoon to visit the nearby hammer tribe village, also possibility to see special occasion ceremonies like wedding and ritual.

Dasanach People (Tribes):

The Daasanech tribes are pastralists (cattle herders), but due to the harsh territory, they have moved south to grow crops and fish. Cattle are used by the tribesman for meat, milk and clothing. Often their cattle die from disease and drought. Of all the tribes in the Omo Valley the Daasanech are the poorest. Because, Daasanech people come from multiple ethnic groups, both men and women must agree to be circumcised. There are eight clans that make up the Daasanech tribe, each having its own name. They are the Elele, Inkabelo, Inkoria, Koro, Naritch, Oro, Randal and the Ri’ele. Each clan is defined by its territory with the Inkabelo being the wealthiest.

During a ceremony, the Dassanech men dance with large sticks and the women hold wooden batons. A Daasanech man blesses his daughter’s fertility and future marriage by celebrating the Dimi. During the Dimi 10 to 30 cattle are slaughtered. Both men and women wear fur capes while they feast and dance. A Dimi ceremony will most likely take place in the dry season.

Overnight: Buska Lodge.

DAY 05: Excursion to Karo Tribes – Jinka

Early Excursion to Karo village for the visit of Karo tribes with their interesting body decorations and scarification; Then drive to Jinka.

The Karo People (Tribes):

The karo tribes are considered to be the Master of body painting. They decorate their body with different colors when they are going to engage in dance, feast or celeberation.

The Karo tribe residing along the borders of the lower Omo River incorporates rich cultural symbolism in to their rituals by using ornate body arts, intricate head dresses, and body scarification to express beauty and significance within their community.

The Karo frequently perform the Pilla ritual, which signifies the coming of adolescence for the young men. The initiation must demonstrate that he is ready to “become a man” by leaping over rows of cattle six times consecutively without falling. If he is successful, the boy will become eligible for marriage (as long as his older brothers are already married) and he will be allowed to prepare publicly with elders in sacred areas.

Overnight: Nasa Pension.

DAY 06: Excursion to Mursi

In the morning after breakfast excursion to the Mursi tribe village known for their attractive culture, women wearing large clay plates into their lower lips. Then drive back to Jinka.

The Mursi People (Tribes):

The nomadic Mursi people live in the lower area of Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

They are one of the Nilo-Saharan linguistic Group, agro-pastoralist, originally from the larger Surma group, the Mursi are people who moved east from the surmic nucleus and occupied the land between the Omo and Mago rivers. Neighbored by the Surma to the west, the Ari and Mount Mago to the east, the Kwegu and Karo to the south and the Bodi to the north, the Mursi are about 6000 in number.

The Mursi are famous for their stick-fighting ceremony and Mursi women are known all over the world for wearing Clay Plates in their lower lips. Their economy is concentrated on bartering and sharing possessions.

Overnight: Nasa Pension.

DAY 07: Drive to Konso – Visit Konso Village

The Konso People (Tribes):

The Konso live in an isolated region of the basalt hills. The area is made up of hard rocky slopes. A Konso village maybe fortified by a stone wall used as a defensive measure. Their village is located on hilltops and is split up into communities, with each community having a main hut. In order to enter a Konso village, you must pass through a gate and a series of alleys. These paths are part of it’s security system, keeping the village difficult to access.

The erection of stones and poles is part of the Konso tradition. A generation pole is raised every 18 years, marking the start of a new generation. The age of a village can be determined by how many poles are standing. Carved wooden statues are also used to mark the grave of a famous Konso tribal member. The marker, called a Waga is placed above the grave and smaller statues are then placed around the larger one representing his wives and conquered enemies.

Overnight: Kanta Lodge.

DAY 08: Excursion to Elsod Creator Salt Lakes – Drive to Yirgalem

Early morning excursion to Elosd, the crater salt lake to see the Borena people extracting mud salt for their livestock food and on the way back stop at Dubluk to see the singing well typical of Borena tribes when they serve their cattle from 20 M deep wells. Then proceed driving to Yirgalem.

The Borona People (Tribes):

The Borana Oromo people, also called the Boran, are a subethnic section of the Oromo people who live in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. They speak a dialect of the Oromo language that is distinct enough that it is difficult for other Oromo speakers to understand.

Overnight: Aregash Hotel.

DAY 09: Drive Yirgalem – Bale Mountains National Park

After breakfast, continue driving to Bale mountains National Park. Visit many of the endemics wildlife like Blue-Winged Goose, Spot-Greasted Lapwing, Abyssinian Long Claw, Wattled Ibis, Black-Headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, Banded Barbet and of course other species, too.

Bale Mountain National Park:

Located 400km southeast of Addis Ababa, Bale Mountains National Park contains a spectacularly diverse landscape. The high altitude, afro-montane Sanetti Plateau rises to over 4,000m and includes the highest peak in the southern Ethiopia highlands. This undulating plateau is marked by numerous glacial lakes and swamps and surrounded by higher volcanic ridges and peaks. The southern slopes are covered by the lush and largely unexplored Harenna Forest.

Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge.

DAY 10: Drive Bale Mountain -Awassa

Morning after breakfast drive to Awassa. Awassa is a bustling Ethiopian town in the heart of the Great Rift Valley.

Awassa City:

Awasa, also called Hawassa, is a city in the Great Rift Valley of central Ethiopia. It lies at the eastern edge of large Lake Awasa, with its resident hippos. Water birds gather around a popular fish market along the lake’s shore. Nearby, the waterside Amora Gedel National Park is inhabited by monkeys. To the northwest, Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary is home to these endangered African antelopes.

Overnight: Haile Resorts.

DAY 11: Drive Awassa – Addis Ababa – Fly Mekele

Early morning after breakfast drive back via Awassa and visit the daily local fish market at lake Awassa.

Then drive to Addis Ababa city, after arrival directly, you will be transferred to Addis Ababa (Bole International Airport) and catch the afternoon flight to Mekele. Upon arrival at Mekele Airport… You will be Transferred again to your reserved Hotel.

Overnight: Planet International.

DAY 12: Explore Dallol – Fly Addis Ababa

Departing at 4:00 am early in the morning from Mekele, the tour will end at Mekele around 4 or 5 pm.

You will set off early in the morning at 04:00 AM towards Dallol- via Berhale. You pass through a small town of Berhale where the camel caravan stops before they proceed to the northern highlands. En route you see many long camel caravans coming to the salt mine and others going out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels.

The colorful landscapes formed by volcanic activity and iron-rich minerals that come straight from the core of our planet are like nothing you have seen before. Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Visit the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting into rectangular pieces and loading on camels. You will visit the local Afar and Tigrian people who are farming salt from the dry lake. They spend all day working in the open sun at temperatures that often reach more 50 degrees Celcius (122°F). The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on earth.

Because of the hot spots under the earth change frequently, this entire area changes its appearance every couple of weeks.

In addition to the beauty of the colorful Dallol sulfur fields, you also will stop by this incredible whole in the salt crust of the lake and Potash Lake.

Transfer to Mekele Airport and catching the night flight from Mekele to Addis Ababa, the tour will end.

Overnight: Desalgen Hotel.

DAY 13: Addis Ababa Day Tour

This morning, we start at 8.30 am with a pick up from your hotel and drive north up to Mount Entoto.

In 1881 Emperor Menelik II made his permanent camp there, after remains of an old town (believed to have been the capital of 16th century monarch Lebna Dengel) were discovered, which Menelik thought was a divine and auspicious sign.

Addis Ababa at between 2300 – 2500 meters is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is a few hundred meters higher – as we drive up the hill there is an appreciable drop in altitude and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road.

From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. Entoto is an important watershed, to the north water flows to the Blue Nile, to the south to the Awash River. Your guide will point out the important landmarks of the city.

Entoto was soon abandoned as a site for the capital – it was cold, difficult to provision and there was a shortage of wood. Empress Taytu was said to have led the move down to the plain of Finfine, and to have named the new capital Addis Ababa, or New Flower. However, two important structures remain within the old imperial compound, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. It was in the church of Mariam that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889, and in the small museum in the compound there are various clothes, court and household implements and weapons dating from the period. The church of Raguel is unusual in that it is octagonal, rather than round. There is a first story balustrade around which Menelik liked to stroll.

Leaving the churches we descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum. Here visitors can see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million year old bones of Lucy, through the Axumite and Gondarene periods to the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik.

We will take a break here for lunch – there are a number of possibilities, we could take lunch in the Lucy Restaurant, in the grounds of the National Museum, at Blue Tops across from the National Museum, or visitors may prefer to sample Ethiopian food at the atmospheric Addis Ababa restaurant, once the home of Empress Zauditu.

After lunch we resume our tour with a visit to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where we can see clothing from different regions, along with artifacts, household utensils and in a separate section, paintings reflecting the history and culture of the country.

This building was once the Genete Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, and visitors can see his bedroom and bathroom.

There is an interesting display in Giorghis Church, and after seeing that we will visit Menelik’s mausoleum, where Etege Taitu and Queen Zauditu are also buried.

We then move to the Mercato, the largest market area in Africa, where virtually every possible commodity is on sale, from livestock to computers. For the visitor good at bargaining, there is a huge selection of Ethiopian arts and crafts.

At the evening, we will go out for a dinner in a traditional Ethiopian restaurant “Yod Abissinia”, and watch a live musician and dancers from Ethiopia’s different regions.

Overnight: Desalgn Hotel.

End of Tour.