Day 1: Arrival Addis Ababa
Upon arrival at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, you will be transferred to the 4-star Dream Liner Hotel for your overnight stay. Relax at leisure and make use of the hotel’s facilities, including an 8th floor Sky Bar, and steam and sauna rooms.
Day 2: Addis Ababa – Arba Minch (B, D)
After breakfast, drive to Arba Minch on the Hosaena Road. En route, you will stop to meet the Gurage people in their village. The Ethiopian-Chinese Gurage are renowned for their hard work and contributions to the national economy. Learn about their traditional foods, such as kocho, made from false bananas. Explore a Gurage house and farm to learn more about their culture.
The day includes a lunch break in the town of Hosaena, located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region of Ethiopia, and ends with an overnight stay in the Paradise Lodge or Swaynes Hotel in Arba Minch.
Day 3: Arba Minch – Jinka (B, D)
Enjoy an early breakfast before the drive to Jinka, a relatively large town of the Omo Valley. Admire the spectacular landscape and warm temperatures as you descend down to the Omo River. Renowned for the fascinating diversity of its tribal people and abundance of wildlife, the Omo Valley is home to hippopotamus and crocodile. A boat trip on Lake Chamo will take you to the crocodile market, and get you up-close to the mighty hippos. If your tour falls on a Thursday, you will also experience the colorful market of Key Afer where you’ll see some of the tribes, including the Ari and Bena. Overnight at the Orit Hotel, or the Jinka Resort.
Day 4: Mago-Mursi (B, D)
Today you will explore the settlements of the Mursi people, known for their lip plating, body decorating, and stick fighting traditions. Enjoy personal contact with this fascinating tribe to learn more about their ancient culture and rituals. Return to Jinka for your 2nd night stay at the Orit Hotel or Jinka Resort.
Day 5: Jinka – Turmi (B, D)
Drive to Turmi after breakfast and visit a settlement of the Hamar tribe. Known for their colorful hair styles and cattle leaping rituals at weddings, the Hamar women are usually adorned in leather skirts decorated with pearls, and gleaming aluminum fixed to their necks. If the day falls on a Saturday, you can visit the lively market in Dimeka to see these renowned cattle farmers trading their goods with other tribes, such as the Benna, Karo, and Dus. Overnight at the Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge, blending beautifully with the Buska Mountains.
Day 6: Murulle (B, D)
Today is spent exploring the culture of the Karo people at their settlement in Murulle. Famous for their unique and elaborate body decorations, the Karo live on the eastern banks of the Omo River and farm maize, beans, and sorghum fertilized by the river. Explore the village houses and learn more about their ancient way of life, before returning to Turmi for your 2nd night stay at the Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge.
Day 7: Turmi – Konso – Arba Minch (B, D)
After breakfast, transfer to Arba Minch, stopping en route to meet the Erbore tribe. Upon arrival at a settlement of the Konso people, enjoy lunch before exploring the settlement to learn how the 9 different clans nominate their king as a symbol of peace. Hear about the communal Mora houses, where young boys spend the night to protect the village. Learn about the Konso initiation ceremonies, and the wooden waka grave markers. Continue to Arba Minch for an overnight stay at the Paradise Lodge or Swaynes Hotel
Day 8: Arba Minch – Addis Ababa (B, D)
Drive from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa via the Rift Valley lakes region. Along the way you will meet the Ras Teferians people, who are mainly of Jamaican origin and hold spiritual connections to the former Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. Next, visit the only Ethiopian freshwater lake free of the bilharzia parasite at Lake Langano, where warthogs, monkeys, a huge diversity of birdlife, and even the occassional hippo can be seen.
Finally, you will visit the Crater Lake in the resort town of Debre-Zeit (Bishoftu), before driving on to Addis Ababa for a complimentary farewell dinner, featuring live cultural dance and traditional foods.