Explore Southern Ethiopia: Culture & Adventure Tour
Marvel at Ethiopian culture on this incredible adventure tour when you visit the Omo River, drive through the Great Rift valley and meet members of the Mursi tribe. Cruise over Lake Chamo, explore the beehive-hut village of Chencha and ponder over the mysterious megaliths of Tiya.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore Addis Ababa
- Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Chamo
- Visit tribal villages & local markets
- Canoe over the Omo River
- Safari in Mago National Park
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Leave the UK
Time to cross Ethiopia off your bucket list! Depart from the UK on an overnight flight to Addis Ababa from London. The flight time is roughly seven-and-a-half hours.
Day 2: Explore Addis Ababa
On arrival early this morning, you will be met at the airport for a 20-minute transfer to your city centre hotel. Check in to your room (we will have confirmed early check in) and freshen up after the flight.
After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring Ethiopia's sprawling capital - the third highest capital city in the world - with your private guide. Your trip will include visits to Entoto Mountain, the site from which Menelik, the founder of Addis Ababa, famously descended down to the plains. From here there is a wonderful panoramic view of the city. Two churches built by Menelik and his old palace are still intact and open to visitors. You will also visit the National Museum to see Lucy - the world-famous humanoid and one of our earliest ancestors.
Day 3: Transfer Addis Ababa to Arba Minch
Enjoy an early breakfast before checking out and meeting your guide for the seven-hour cross country drive to Arba Minch. It's a long journey but your driver will take the scenic route through the lakeside town of Hawassa (look out for the pelicans!) and past rural villages inhabited by the Guraje and Haiya tribes before arriving in the Great Rift Valley.
Catch a glimpse of Arba Minch's charm before driving out to the hillside accommodation where you'll be spending the next two nights.
Day 4: Chencha Village & Lake Chamo
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the terrace of the lodge before leaving to explore life in the Ethiopian countryside. Visit the beehive-hut village of Chencha to watch the weavers producing the cotton fabric shama and the women preparing flour for bread-making using traditional tribal methods.
Board a boat after lunch to skim across the waters of Lake Chamo where you'll see hippos and crocodiles in the shallows. Return to the lodge late this afternoon for dinner and a quiet evening. A cocktails on the terrace, as the sun sets behind the mountains, is highly recommended.
Day 5: Konso
Leave the lodge to venture further into the Great Rift Valley.
You will stop off to explore part of the Konso Unesco World Heritage Site, a fortified hillside settlement, and to see the wooden waga sculptures in some of the villages before arriving at your next lodge where you can settle in to your tukul (cone-shaped mud hut with a thatched roof) for a one-night stay.
Day 6: Turmi
Leave the lodge after breakfast for a full day out exploring the Ethiopian countryside and discovering how many of the various ethnic tribes go about their daily lives. You'll visit the Erbore tribe along the River Woito before entering into Tsemay territory in the Omo Valley region.
En route there'll be a stop at the produce market in Alduba, where locals converge to trade goods and livestock, before heading to Turmi where you'll be staying the next three nights.
Day 7: Hamer Tribe Visit
Absorb the true essence of southern Ethiopia when you spend a full-day in a village with the Hamer tribe. Discover their ancient ways of life breeding cattle, tending crops and collecting honey; how they make their bead adornments and why they scar themselves with thorns.
Return to the hotel after a truly enlightening day for dinner and drinks around the campfire.
Day 8: Karo & Galeb Tribe Visits
Leave the lodge after breakfast to spend the morning among the Karo tribe.
Learn the secrets to their amazing body painting art then enjoy lunch back in Turmi before being driven into the town of Omorate, ready for a canoeing trip. Paddle across the broad River Omo to the remote villages of the Galeb tribe in the afternoon before returning to the lodge in the evening.
Day 9: Jinka
Depart from your lodge in Turmi after breakfast for the two-hour drive to Jinka where you'll be spending the next two nights. Along the way there'll be a couple of stops, at the villages of Ari and Bena, to meet people from the different tribes who inhabit the area.
Check in to your safari-style tent room at your next lodge and relax for the evening and enjoy the stunning views while you have a drink at the bar.
Day 10: Mago National Park & the Mursi
Set off early from the lodge to drive out to the Mago National Park. Spot wildlife such as baboons and antelope before arriving at a village of the Mursi tribe to learn about their tradition of wearing lip-plates.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch back at the lodge and a restful afternoon in the tranquil surroundings.
Day 11: Arba Minch
Prepare for a day in the Ethiopian countryside as you make the return journey from Jinka to Arba Minch. Wander among locals from the Bena and Tsemai tribes at the Key Afer market while they trade merchandise before continuing the drive to Arba Minch and back up to the lodge.
Spend a quiet afternoon/evening in the sumptuous lodge surroundings, enjoying the pool and a few sundowners on the terrace.
Day 12: Arba Minch Back to Addis Ababa
Say farewell to the lodge after breakfast when you leave for the seven-hour drive back to Addis Ababa. On the way, visit the fascinating Melka Kunture archaeological site, the Adadi Maryam stone church and the carved megaliths of Tiya.
Arrive in Addis Ababa late afternoon and check-in at the Sheraton Addis for your final evening in Ethiopia.
Day 13: Return to the UK
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast and morning at the hotel before a private transfer to the airport. The lunchtime flight home takes seven-hours-and-45-minutes, arriving in the early evening.
Matt is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.