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 MelkaKunture (pre-historic tool-making site). Final destination for the day is Awassa. Overnight in Awassa (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 (camping, hotel or lodge).
In the morning, depart to Arba Minch for a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market”, and the local hippos. Afterwards, 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 (camping, hotel or lodge).
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 (camping, basic hotel or lodge).
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 (camping, hotel or lodge).
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 (camping, hotel or lodge).
After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Arba Minch via Key Afar and Konso. 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). 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 a brief opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. After the visit, proceed driving to Arba Minch. Overnight in Arba Minch (camping, hotel or lodge).
Early in the morning, depart from Arba Minch for a full day’s drive to Addis Ababa. On the way you may have time to visit one of the following archeological sites of interest:
– Tiya – ancient stellae field and UNESCO World Heritage site
– Adadi Maryam – rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela
– MelkaKunture – pre-historic tool-making site
End of tour.
*** This itinerary is flexible, and will likely change in order to coordinate visits with market days in the south, which is a great opportunity to mingle with the people, many of whom travel long distances on foot to attend.