Bale Mountain and Omo Valley

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Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira. On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melka Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site). Final destination for the day is Awassa. Overnight in Awassa at Haile Resort/Tadesse Enjory Hotel/Pinna Hotel.

In the morning after breakfast, visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa and then proceed driving to Dorze, set in the highlands above Arba Minch. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited. Overnight in Dorze in traditional Dorze hut (shared toilet facilities) or continue to Arba Minch for overnight at Paradise Lodge/Tourist Hotel/camping at Wabe Shabelle Hotel.

In the morning, visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards, continue driving to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market”, and the local hippos. Overnight in Arba Minch at Paradise Lodge/Tourist Hotel/camping at Wabe Shabelle Hotel.

After breakfast, depart from Arba Minch to Turmi. On the way you will pass through the village of Weyto (market day Saturday), which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore, where you will have a brief visit to a local Erbore village (market day is Saturday). Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe. At night, you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as evangadi. Overnight in Turmi at Buska Lodge/Evangadi Lodge/camping at Keske Campsite.

In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate to visit the Dassenech tribe. Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassenech village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hamer village. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony, that will be visited. Overnight in Turmi at Buska Lodge/Evangadi Lodge/camping at Keske Campsite.

Early morning depart from Turmi to the village of Kangatan. Here you will cross the Omo River and take a short walk through the local fields to visit a village of the Nyangatom tribe. After the visit, return across the river and proceed to the Karo village of Korcho, with a stunning location lookin over the Omo River. The Karo people, while the smallest tribe of the Omo Valley in number, are also known to be the most decorated. After the visit, return to Turmi for another opportunity to see Jumping of the Bulls. Overnight in Turmi at Buska Lodge/Evangadi Lodge/camping at Keske Campsite.

Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo. Afterwards, continue to Jinka. Overnight in Jinka at Eco Omo Lodge/Orit Hotel/Goh Hotel.

In the morning, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village. Overnight in Jinka at Eco Omo Lodge/Orit Hotel/Goh Hotel.

After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Konso, via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Konso (market days are Mondays and Thursdays). Overnight in Konso at Kanta Lodge (tukul)/Kanta Lodge (standard room)/Strawberry Fields Ecolodge.

The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting, you can also visit the “natural New York Village”, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. After the visit, continue to Yabello. If there is time, visit the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary for a chance to see zebras. Overnight in Yabello at Borena Lodge/Evangadi Lodge/camping.

Early in the morning, take an excursion south to visit El Sod, a village that is home to a crater lake with a large salt deposit called the House of Salt (chow bet). This is the land of the Borena people, a large nomadic ethnic group that extends deep into Kenya. After the visit, proceed driving to Yirgalem. Here you can enjoy an evening coffee ceremony while watching the hyenas in the surrounding forest. Overnight in Yirgalem at Aregash Lodge.

After breakfast, depart from Yirgalem to the Bale Mountains. You will have the opportunity to do some hiking near Dinsho, headquarters of the Bale Mountains National Park. The area around Dinsho boasts a high concentration of wildlife, including mountain nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck (endemic), as well as monkeys, warthogs and abundant species of birds. Proceed to Goba for overnight at Wabe Shabelle Hotel

Early in the morning, depart from Goba to the Sanetti Plateau, where you will hopefully be lucky enough to spot the endemic Ethiopian wolf in its natural habitat. You will have a full day of hiking in the area. Return to Goba for overnight at Wabe Shabelle Hotel.

In the morning, depart from Goba to the Sof Omar caves. The most famous spot of the caves is the Chamber of Columns, with limestone pillars up to 20m high. From the entrance, you will follow a 1.7km trail through several other chambers; this will take about 1 hour, and you will pass the Web River, which snakes through the cave, seven times. The birdlife in the area is very abundant. After the visit, proceed to Lake Langano for overnight. Overnight at Lake Langano at Bishangari Lodge/Sabana Beach Resort/Wenney Ecolodge/Abule Bassumo Hotel. for overnight (camping or lodge).

After a refreshing morning swim in Lake Langano, depart for Addis Ababa. On the way, you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.

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