Omo River Tribal Dance
In the savanna of the Omo River Valley in southern Ethiopia live a fascinating mix of nomadic tribes, from the Bume and Karo to the Bena and Hamar. We visit the Omo tribes as well as the Orthodox Christian monuments of Ethiopia’s mountain highlands.
Photo by John Warburton Lee / Danita Delimont Agency
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||4 nights first-class hotels, 9 nights best-available hotels, 3 nights basic riverside lodge|
|Meals:||All meals included except 1 dinner|
|Activity:||Walking, Cultural Adventures|
Rugged road travel by 4WD vehicle, easy walks
- Enjoy the colorful pageantry of Timkat, Ethiopia’s biggest celebration
- Visit the wondrous rock churches of Lalibela and the holy city of Axum
- Encounter the fascinating tribal people of southern Ethiopia
This was my third trip with WT and it certainly won’t be my last. The itinerary was fascinating, our Trip Leader delightful, and the WT office wonderfully responsive.Sandra C.—New York, NY
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
Ethiopia is like no other place in Africa, from its Orthodox Christian heritage to its kaleidoscopic array of animist tribes. Our journey uncovers its mystique at such fascinating places as the holy city of Axum, the mystical rock churches of Lalibela, and mountain-ringed Gondar, seat of Ethiopia’s emperors. Heading south, we encounter an amazing tribal heritage including the Mursi, with their enormous clay lip plates, and the nomadic Karo, known for their elaborate body painting. Our grand finale? Witnessing Timkat (Epiphany), a joyous festival with dances, baptisms, and huge outdoor processions of priests and pilgrims.
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Addis Ababa / Axum
After exploring Addis, we visit Axum, with its Church of St. Mary of Zion and the ruins of the Queen of Sheba’s palace.
Lalibela / Gondar / Lake Tana
We explore Lalibela’s 12th century rock-hewn churches, Gondar’s medieval castles, an island-monastery on Lake Tana, and the vibrant markets of Harar.
Omo River Valley
In the south, fascinating semi-nomadic tribes coexist in a harsh land all but forgotten by the rest of the world. We meet the Dorze, famous for their weavings, the Karo, who excel in body painting, and the Mursi, whose men practice scarification and shave their heads in geometric patterns.
Addis / Timkat Festival
We witness lively processions of Orthodox priests in vividly hued gowns and throngs of parishioners in dazzling traditional Ethiopian dress. Depart on Day 17.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
What the Trip is Like
The trip is Level 2+, moderate, according to our trip grading system. This is a rugged trip in a very remote region. Participants should be fit, healthy, and have no mobility restrictions. Medical facilities on the trip will be far away and often non-existent. Some mornings, we have departures as early as 5:30 a.m! Trip members must be prepared for some walking and some long days of rugged vehicle travel.
Accommodations at the Sheraton in Addis are excellent, as is the food at that international-standard hotel. Outside of Addis, we stay in “best available” hotels. Although there are private bathrooms in the rooms, you must expect only cold-water showers! Outside of Addis, our meals will be simple and lack variety because there are limited resources in the countryside. At the Murelle Omo Explorer’s Lodge, we are very far from anywhere and, unlike the safari lodges in places like Botswana and Kenya, which are regularly supplied with fine foods and goods from the capital, the simple Murelle Omo Explorer’s Lodge makes do with locally available supplies, and thus the meals have little flair or variety. Ethiopia has some good beers, but the local wines are not distinguished. You may want to bring your favorite alcoholic beverage from a duty-free shop. Electricity in hotels in rural areas can be intermittent and sometimes generators are operated only during certain hours of the day.
Road travel in rural Ethiopia is very challenging. Our vehicles may break down or get flat tires on occasion, and that can delay the trip. We use vans for the trip, but they may not compare favorably with the vehicles you may be familiar with from safari countries such as Botswana and Kenya. While we are on our rural road journeys, there are no organized toilet facilities available. We will make “pit stops” from time to time so trip members can get out of the vehicle and find a private spot behind a bush.
In Ethiopia, air schedules can often be altered and new government regulations are implemented suddenly. We ask that you bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique journey, and take pleasure in the knowledge that you will be visiting a fascinating country.
Our trip is designed so that anyone in good physical condition can participate. We encourage you to make an effort to get in good physical condition with exercise beyond your normal routine.
Sep 11-27, 2014 Meskal Festival
Jan 4-20, 2015 Timkat Festival
Jan 11-27, 2015 Timkat Festival
Jan 17-Feb 2, 2015 Timkat Festival
Sep 12-28, 2015 Meskal Festival
Prices are for 2014
$7495 (7-8 members)
$7795 (2-6 members)
Single supplement: $1490
Forced single supplement: $1190
Internal airfare: $1390-$1890
more on pricing
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
- Accommodations (5-star Sheraton in Addis, simple lodging outside Addis)
- All meals included except 1 dinner
- Land transportation and airport transfers for passengers on recommended flights, and baggage handling
- Visits to tribal villages and weekly markets
- Witness the colorful Timkat or Meskal festival
Trip Cost Does Not Include:International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, international airport departure taxes, charter flights, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, any additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance