South Ethiopia: The cradle of humanity

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Trip Duration Days - 11 Days

South Ethiopia: The cradle of humanity

Price Starts from € 0

Ethiopia is the paradigm of cultural diversity and tradition. It is home to the most iconic communities in East Africa, and perhaps the entire continent. On this trip, designed by photographer Aníbal Bueno and videographer Luís Piñero, we will have the opportunity to delve into the most remote culture of the Omo Valley: the Surma. And cross the Omo Valley National Park to combine it with the classic and most iconic tribes of the nation.
Dates: January 9 -19, 2022

Duration: 11 days - 10 nights

Guide: Aníbal Bueno, expert ethno-photographer in Ethiopia.

Price: please contact us

Group of 5-9 travelers

The price includes:
-
Vehicle.
- Driver.
- Gasoline.
- Tolls, permits and tourist taxes.
- Spanish speaking guide.
- Second Ethiopian guide.
- Local guides in each community.
- Camping equipment.
- Accommodation in the indicated hotels.
- Visits and excursions.
- Meals indicated.
- Travel insurance.
- Bottled water.

Price does not include:
-
International flight.
- Visa.
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
- Souvenirs.
- Cancellation insurance.
- Tips to the guides.
- Meals in Addis Ababa.

Additional Information:
-
There are no compulsory vaccinations to enter the country.
- It is recommended to take prophylaxis against malaria.
- You need a sleeping bag.
- Front light required.
- Mosquito repellent is recommended.
- It is recommended to carry external batteries due to the lack of access to electricity in some sections of the route.
Day 1. SPAIN - ADDIS ABEBA
Departure from Spain on an international flight to Ethiopia. Upon arrival, we will be greeted by the guide who will accompany us to the hotel. Night at Denver Hotel or similar.

Day 2. ADDIS ABEBA - JIMMA

Today will be a day of transition. We will begin the fascinating journey to the ethnic south of the country. During the journey to Jimma, by paved road, we can enjoy a landscape where the beautiful gorge of the Omo River stands out. Night at Boni International Hotel. PC.

Day 3: JIMMA - MIZAN TEFARI - KIBISH

After breakfast we will embark on a long route to the deep tribal south. We will continue our expedition to Mizan Tefari, the regional capital. Passing through spectacular landscapes of coffee plantations and along tracks we will arrive at the village of Kibish, the ideal entry point to discover the territory of the Surma ethnic group. Night in tent. PC.

Day 4 and 5. KIBISH (POBLADO SURMA)

The Surma are a people of about 45,000 individuals who are found in the jungle of southwestern Ethiopia and, to a small percentage, in South Sudan. These shepherd-farmers keep their traditions deeply rooted. Surma women continue to wear sublabial plates (some can reach 40 cm in diameter) as a symbol of fertility. We can also observe the scarifications that they carry on their skin, in addition to the different designs that are made with paintings to decorate their body. We may have the opportunity to attend a donga. A tournament held by the young surma after harvesting the harvest. It is a melee fight with wooden sticks in which the younger men try to demonstrate their masculinity and strength. The participants face one against one, the winner will fight with the next rival and so on until all have fought. The winner wins a large part of the annual harvest and can choose a woman from the village to marry. Night in tent. PC.

Day 6. KIBISH - OMO NATIONAL PARK

After saying goodbye to the Surma, we will go to Omo National Park, where we will have the opportunity to observe a great diversity of fauna. Overnight in a tent in Omo National Park. PC.

Day 7. OMO NATIONAL PARK - KANGATE (TOWN NYANGATOM)

We will head towards the land of the Nyangatom, one of the most feared warrior groups in southern Ethiopia; for many years they have been mired in tribal disputes. Brothers of the Toposa, they share a territory in southern Ethiopia and the border with South Sudan, more isolated than the rest of the tribes, since they are located on the other side of the river bank, where conditions are harsher and the annual drought makes have trouble keeping livestock. Its aesthetics, for any photographer, is very striking. The men usually carry weapons for the defense of livestock, some also wear military suits. The women adorn their necks with infinite necklaces of colored beads, in addition to decorating their lower lip and nose with piercings of different shapes. We will get to know their culture closely and we will be able to photograph the inhabitants of the village where we will spend the night. Night in tent. PC.

Day 8. KANGATE - KORCHO (KARO TOWN)

After saying goodbye to the Nyangatom, we will go to Korcho, where we will live with the following ethnic group: the Karo. The landscape in this town is captivating. The Karo live on top of a mound, on the banks of the Omo River. From one end of the town you can see the immensity of this river, as well as the presence of crocodiles on its banks. The contrast between the reddish color of the sand and the intense green of the vegetation make this place a unique and idyllic space. We will share a few hours with them, doing their daily activities: taking a bath in the river, washing clothes, fishing, etc. And we will be able to witness the great agility they have going up and down the great slope that leads to the river. This ethnic group is famous for their face and body paintings, which they make themselves. We will be able to observe the different designs that are made on the bodies, indicating their rank within the community. We will spend the night in your village. Night in tent. PC.

Day 9. KORCHO - ARBA MINCH

We will be able to enjoy the sunrise in this special place and, after saying goodbye to this community, we will begin our journey to the city of Arba Minch. Once there, we will enter Lake Chamo by boat, to see the giant crocodiles that inhabit these waters, along with hippos and pelicans. Night in Tourist hotel or similar. PC.

Day 10. ARBA MINCH - ADDIS ABEBA

Today will be a day of transition. We will go back to the capital of the country, to spend the last hours before returning to our country. Night at Denver Hotel or similar.

Day 11. ADDIS ABEBA - SPAIN

We will spend the day shopping and strolling down Churchill Avenue, one of its commercial arteries. We will also visit the National Museum, where you can see the skeletal remains of Lucy, one of the first hominids, 3.5 million years old. When our flight leaves, they will accompany us to the airport to catch the plane back home.

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Tourist Visa for Ethiopia
The tourist visa is mandatory to enter Ethiopia. An eVisa can currently be obtained online. It must be obtained online in advance, it is not possible to obtain it upon arrival at the airport. The agency can help with the management, but it is the traveler's responsibility to obtain it. See all details in  https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/
Documentation required to enter Ethiopia: https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/required-documents-travel-ethiopia/


Health - Vaccines for Ethiopia
In this link you can see the regulations and recommendations of the Ethiopian government regarding vaccines: https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/vaccines-travel-ethiopia/. We advise that, in due time, you go to Foreign Health or Health Center to inform the traveler about the specific health recommendations of the area to which you are going to travel and to guide you on the guidelines to follow for the prevention of diseases.
COVID-19: A negative PCR test is required to enter Ethiopia. See all the details in https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/entry-restrictions/


Securyty en Ethiopia
Safety in Ethiopia
Generally speaking, Ethiopia is a safe tourist destination. However, depending on the area of ??the country to which you travel, some precautions must be taken.
That is why in this section we want to give you the guidelines to travel to Ethiopia safely. Follow our recommendations to make your trip to Ethiopia easy and safe!
There are certain places in Ethiopia that are considered a risk zone, these places being mainly the following:
Border with Somalia: travel to the border regions with Somalia is discouraged.
Somali region: 2 types of incidents have occurred in the Somali region in recent years. Firstly, clashes between the Ethiopian army and the armed group of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and secondly, there have been some abductions of Western citizens.
As for the Gambella Region (South Sudan border), there are sometimes ethnic conflicts in the area. That is why, before traveling there, it is recommended to obtain updated information from the your Embassy, or by contacting directly with the staff of Last Places East Africa.



Climate - Best time to travel to Ethiopia
Last Places West Africa organizes trips throughout the year to Ethiopia.
The climate in Ethiopia varies a lot within its territory, with more humid areas in the north except around Axum and the Danakil depression.
Generally, the best time to visit Ethiopia is from October to March, when the temperatures are not so extreme. At night in mountain areas, such as Gondar, night temperatures can drop to 5ºC. If you plan to visit the Simien Mountains NP, keep in mind that night temperatures can be almost 0ºC and you will need warm clothes.
From April to September the temperatures are high and even suffocating in some places, mainly in the Omo Valley and the Danakil. If you want to visit this last area, you should avoid those months because temperatures of almost 60ºC are reached. In addition, in the months of July and August, the roads sometimes flood and make communication between some towns impossible.



Currency in Ethiopia
The currency of Ethiopia is the Birr.
You can carry euros, as they are easily exchanged at banks, hotels and travel agencies. NO need to carry dollars. Generally, hotels offer the same change that is available on the internet.
See information about currency, credit cards and comments on the cost of traveling in Ethiopia at this link: https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/travel-costs-in-ethiopia/


Ethiopia Timezone
GMT/UTC + 3. (Easter Africa Time) In Ethiopia there is no time change in summer.


Electricity, battery charging, cameras and mobiles
For Ethiopia there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Ethiopia operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. It is also a good idea to bring a car charger or an external battery for the south.


Comunications / Internet in Ethiopia
The international phone code for Ethiopia is +251. Only the hotels along the route and some guesthouses have Wi-Fi, sometimes with a weak signal. You can buy a SIM card to have a connection during the trip. In some remote areas there will be no possibility of internet connection.


Language
The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic, see https://www.ethiopiaonlinevisa.com/amharic-the-ethiopian-language/ , although English is understood in hotels and certain establishments. In villages and tribes it is difficult to find people who speak English, so a local guide-interpreter will help us communicate during visits.


Recommendations and Prohibitions - Protocol when visiting tribal societies
The majority of the following behaviour guidelines are observed in a daily basis, but sometimes, fascinated by what we encounter, one might forget them. Some recommendations are to protect their habitats and traditions..

Greetings and introduction: on arrival, and with the help of our guide-interpreter, we will encounter the chief of the community. We will introduce ourselves and explain the reason of our visit. After a brief chat, we ask for permission to wander around the village, interact with its inhabitants and take pictures. This way, the visit flows in a more natural and relaxed atmosphere

Interaction: although the chief of the community has granted us permission to visit his village, if we wish to enter inside a house or private area, we should ask explicit permission to the owner. This applies not only to buildings, but also to the lands, animals, totems and natural surroundings. Tribal life is a whole and has a much wider meaning which affects the lives of its inhabitants who live in symbiosis with their animals and nature.

Presents: We will avoid bringing clothes, footwear, toys, plastic and utensils which do not belong to their culture, because this would accelerate the global process against the preserving of their customs. Simple apparently harmless gestures, like giving sweets to the children, can have major consequences like cavities. We will bet for presents which already belong to their culture, like fabrics bought at their local markets and which are already a regular product for them. If we bring medicines, we will take them to the medical center to ensure its correct administration.

Photography: Like in many other countries in the world, it is strictly prohibited to take pictures of the police or army, and to places considered strategic, such as military areas or buildings, places of high security and governmental buildings.
When taking pictures at people in their villages (tribes), it is always preferable to start the visit by greeting the chief of the community and after the introductions are done, we can discuss and come to an agreement on the photography protocol. We will ask for explicit permission to the person or people if we wish to take a picture of them. Sometimes we might be asked to pay for the posing, so it is advisable to discuss this price beforehand in order to avoid misunderstandings.The guide in Last Places can help deal with this once in the villages.

 • Observing without judging: Despite being sometimes difficult, it is the best way to plunge into other societies. The experience of interacting and learning from cultural diversity is the best legacy that we will acquire from tribal life.

Environment: In our trips we promote the protection of the environment and try to respect the natural surroundings by minimizing our impact and leaving no trace behind.