North & South Parts of Ethiopia
The Omo Valley in Ethiopia is a captivating destination that immerses you in the rich cultural heritage of the region. Known as the "Cultural Crossroads of Africa," the valley is home to numerous ethnic groups, each with its distinct traditions and way of life. Among them, the Hamar people stand out for their vibrant culture and striking customs.
Venturing into the Omo Valley allows you to witness the unique traditions of the Hamar people firsthand. Renowned for their elaborate hairstyles, body adornments, and bull-jumping ceremonies, the Hamar offers a fascinating glimpse into their ancient customs and social structures. Engaging with the tribe allows you to gain a deeper understanding of their way of life, including their farming practices, tribal rituals, and communal living.
7 Nights and 8 Days
Fly to Lalibela and take the airport shuttle transfer to the town ( 40 minutes) and visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
After you check at your hotel we will drive to sites where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia's most famous Rock hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as " the living wonders of the world "These churches are they have been here for at list 900 years, an active christen shrine, spiritual center of the country religious life.
Then we will visit Northwestern Clusters of churches this group contains, Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Golgotha
After lunch, visit the Southeastern Cluster of Lalibela churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, a giant monolithic in the shape of a cross, constructed in honor of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia.
Overnight - Lalibela, Harber Hotel
After breakfast, we will take a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore the nearby monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret on the Zege peninsula, known for its 14th-century, round, grass-roofed churches, and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret churches. Its architectural styles with mud-plastered round walls and a conical thatched roof are typical examples of ancient Ethiopian orthodox churches. The monastery is found hidden in the forest of the Zege peninsula. Ura is especially well known for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, and ecclesial objects, such as the crown of various emperors dating from the 14th century, gold and silver processional crosses, silver drums, and royal vestments. On our walk through the densely-forested area, we hope to encounter monkeys and abundant bird life. On the lake, you will also have a chance to see hippos and more wildlife
After lunch, we will visit the magnificent Blue Nile Falls. The water plunges here for 45m (148ft). It is about a 35km/1 hour drive from town. In the later afternoon, we drive back to Bahir Dar and discover the market, where you may purchase handicrafts like jewelry, woven and embroidered garments, ox-horn cups, or grass baskets (Agelgil), for which Bahir Dar is well known, or simply watch the indigenous culture of the local community
Overnight - Bahirdar, Jacaranda Hotel
In the morning at about 7:30, the car picks us up at the hotel in Gondar and takes us 100 km north on the Ethiopian highland to Debark, a small town of about 35,000 inhabitants at the border to the famous Simien National Park. After a quick stop for the formalities at the headquarter offices of the national park and for collecting scouts, we drive out on a rough road to the Sankaber area at about 3,100 m sea level from where we take a short walk of 2-3 hours to assist the acclimatization process. We get a first impressive view over the dramatic mountain range and see some typical plants of that area such as big Heather Trees (Erica arborea), St.John swort (hypericum revulutm), or the Abyssinian Wild Rose (Rosa Abyssinia). This is also the area in which the largest number of Gelada Baboons (theorepticus gelada) can be found.
Driving through the small town of Debark The impressive mountain ranges while driving up the mountains
A male Gelada Baboon eating fresh grass Walking along the edge of the escarpment
The view from there on the 2000m deeper lowlands The Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris), endemic in East Africa
Overnight - Semien mountain National park, Semien lodge
Early morning after breakfast, proceed to Omorate(a home of the Dassanech tribe), a tribe who settled at the last border nearby where the Omo river inter to the Kenyan lake Turkana.
Then after you arrive at Omorate, you will take the local wooden boat in order to cross the majestic Omo River and meet the Dassanech people at one of their local villages.
Then after the Dassanech visit, drive back to Turmi till mid-day. Then after lunch in Turmi continue the drive to Dimeka in order to visit one the second largest weekly market of the area in which two interesting tribes( Hamer and Kara) will show up together with their goods.
Please note that: Most of the weekly markets we have in Omo Valley are not only a place to buy and sell, but they are more like weekly social events, where the tribal people exchange news as well as offer and receive invitations for whatever ceremony they have. So you will have an amazing experience at the market.
Further, on this day, if there is any ceremony like bull jumping, then that will be seen.
Overnight - Kizo Lodge
After breakfast, we will drive from Lalibela to Bahir Dar just within a wonderful landscape, 300km, 6hr to 7hr drive.
After you check in at your hotel we will explore the city tour of Bahir Dar
Overnight - Bahirdar, Jacaranda Hotel
After breakfast, we will drive to Gondar, a 170km, 3hr drive.
We spend the whole of day five exploring the historical sights of Gondar. Our tour takes us to the Royal Enclosure, called Fasil Ghebbi - the remnants of a once wealthy fortress city. The Royal Enclosure is a World Heritage Site consisting of six castles and other structures, along with the enclosed Fasilidas’s Pool used by Orthodox Christian pilgrims in Timket celebrations to this day.
We view the fortress of the royal enclosure, surrounded by a 300-foot-long wall, and visit the basalt-stone palace of Emperor Fasilidas, the oldest structure at this historical site. These royal ruins include the library of Emperor Yohannes I, the House of Song where royal ceremonies were held, the stately hall of Emperor Bakaffa, and the palace of the king's wife. Our tour includes the Kuskuam Palace Compound featuring Empress Mentewab's Palace and the Quskuam Mariam Church she built in honor of the Virgin Mary.
We also view the elaborate murals of the Debre Birhan Selassie Church in Gondar. One of Ethiopia's most important and best-known churches, Debre Birhan Selassie is an imposing building featuring colorful ceiling murals. Legend has it that a swarm of bees protected the church from attack by Sudanese dervishes in the late 1800s leaving Debre Birhan Selassie as the only church standing in Gondar
Overnight - Gondar, Goha Hotel
After breakfast drive back to Gondar to Fly
to Addis then by connection flight to Jinka.
In the afternoon, fly out to Jinka, and meet your guide and driver, then direct drive to Turmi.
Turmi is an area located in the southeastern part of Omo and where the Hammer people live.
The Hamers are fine-looking people, both men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and coloring their hair, oiling their bodies, and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around their arms and legs.
So, you will drive to one of the local Hammer Village and spend the rest of the days visiting the Hammer people.
Overnight - Camping at the Village with the Hammer people
Early in the morning, we will drive to Kara village. The Kara tribe is among the smallest tribes in the area numbering only 3000 people. They settled on the west bank of the Omo River and were believed to be a master of body painting that they use for beautifying purposes. So today you will meet these authentic people at one of their second biggest villages called Dus(one of the furthest villages which is not often visited by tourists) and the most important place for the entire Kara people.
And you will spend some time with the Kara people. Afterward, you will drive back to Jinka.
But before Jinka, along the way, again you will attend one of the biggest and the most colorful weekly tribal markets at the village called Alduba where more than three different tribal groups join together for their own different reasons.
Finally drive back Jinka Airport for your flight to Addis then drive to Bole International Airport for your international flight.