Lower Omo Valley
A tour of Southern Ethiopia, centred on Awasa or perhaps Arba Minch, will allow the intrepid visitor to gain an insight into the lives of a number of different tribal groups, some 500,000 people in all.
The Lower Omo Valley is home to a number of different tribes, people whose lives vary considerably. The Mursi tribe is known for the large clay discs the women insert into their lips,
while the Hamar people are famous for the Bull Jumping Ceremony, where teenage boys are initiated into manhood by successfully jumping over the backs of a number of bulls
Bodily beautification, be it scarring and piercing, elaborate hair arrangement, or different forms of jewellery, identify the different tribes.
The Konso people live in what is known as a Cultural Landscape, a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Southern Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities.
There are a number of National Parks, some of which attract many visitors, others much more isolated. Sometimes there is competition between the wild animals of the area and the animals belonging to local tribes which are often to be seen within the boundaries of a National Park. It is a harsh area, and life here is not easy for any of the tribes.
Lakes abound, many with particularly rich birdlife, along with hippos and crocodiles.
Be aware though that these people in recent years have been exposed to many visitors from the West, so that a new commercialism has emerged, with some villagers demanding money for each photo etc. Baregota Tour and Travel treats each ethnic group with real respect, as opposed to what could be called a ‘human zoo’ type of experience, where a car load of people turn up at a village, cameras at the ready, and the local people line up in their particular finery for an exchange of cash and a series of quick photos, before the car speeds off again. We believe that it is important for the visitor to be able to experience the reality of these peoples’ lives, to get to know something about their culture, and to spend time with them.
Talk to Baregota Tour and Travel about visiting this fascinating part of Ethiopia. But don’t expect to do it justice in 2 – 3 days!