Day 1. Arrive in Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis Ababa (Saturday arrival preferred, however if you want to meet up with the market day at Turmi, Friday arrival is recommended), you will be met and transferred to Elilly Hotel.
In the afternoon, we will take you on a city tour. Addis Ababa in Amharic language means 'New Flower'. Founded by Emperor Menelik in 1887, Addis is the capital city with a population of 4.5 million people. Drive through the Mercato, the largest open market in the continent, and then proceed to the National Museum where 'Lucy', the 3.5 million year old hominid, resides. Next is the Ethnological Museum, which exhibits the culture and arts of the Ethiopian ethnic groups. A selection will be made from interesting churches that may be visited: Ba'ata Church on the grounds of the Imperial Palace of Menelik II; Trinity Cathedral, built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italy; or St. George Cathedral, which houses a large collection of religious paintings, books, parchments, crosses and work of the great Ethiopian artist, Afework Tekle. Return to hotel after the city tour. Elilly Hotel
Day 2: Jinka - Goh Hotel
Today after breakfast, fly to Jinka and after a traditional lunch, visit the Ari and Bena tribes. Saturdays for Jinka and the neighboring town, Dimeka, are market days and the towns turn into lively places, attracting people from all around the region. Accommodations are in a very basic yet clean hotel. Go with the flow of the life in the town and enjoy local hospitality. (B,L,D) Goh Hotel
Day 3: Mago National Park - Murulle Lodge
After breakfast, drive to Mago National Park, sitting on the eastern bank of the Omo River. Rising in the highlands southwest of Addis Ababa, the Omo River charts its course southwards for almost 1000kms (620mi) but never reaches the sea and instead pours into Lake Turkana, East Africa's fourth largest lake. Over millions of years its flood waters have cut deep gorges into the mountains, creating exciting opportunities for whitewater rafting.
The park, together with its sister park, Omo National Park, is one of the least visited game parks and what a joy it is not to see another vehicle in the vicinity. Huge herds of plain game such as buffalo, elephant and giraffe roam in this splendid wilderness with endless horizons. Lion, leopards, hyena are all here too. There is incredible bird life as well. From here, visit the Mursi highlands where the most illustrious of Ethiopia's unique tribes people live. The Mursi are known all over the world, including in the remotest parts of USA as has been discovered, for their decorative lip plates that adorn the lower lips of the Mursi women. The plates stretch the lower lip beyond imagination and the women's beauty and desirability is determined in direct proportion to the size of the plate. If only life could be as simple as that! You will be explained the various cultural aspects of the tribe and be able to take their photographs (not free) and interact with them. It is truly fascinating. After this immensely rewarding visit, head straight for the ERVS Murulle Lodge on the banks of the Omo River. Within the lodge concession area is a Karo settlement. You are invited to the settlement to be an integral part in the life of this tribe whose people are content to lead a life that is so basic and so close to nature that it is the complete antithesis of the modern world. You too can now begin to understand that life does not have to be so complicated. In the evening enjoy some of the most magnificently stunningly beautiful sunsets from a special vantage point that overlooks the mountains of Kenya and Sudan. (B,L,D) Murulle Lodge
Day 4: Turmi - Murulle Lodge
Today, enter the fascinating world of the local Hamar market in Turmi. The Hamar women are simply stunning. They wear their hair in dense ringlets smeared with mud and clarified butter and topped off with a head-dress made out of an oblong aluminum plate. Their necks and chests are adorned with string upon sting of cowrie shell and colorful beaded necklaces of varying lengths. Chunky metal wristlets and armlets, shiny nails appended to skirts, multiple earrings simple leather garments are all so a la mode. This tribe is an inspiration to all. The market is exciting too and you may have the opportunity to buy some of the tribal regalia and artifacts. On a lucky day, you should be able to see a spectacle called 'cattle jumping', a ceremony that constitutes rite of passage for young men. (B,L,D) Murulle Lodge
Day 5: Kangatan - Korcho - Murulle Lodge
Another day of cultural emersion - the Bume and Karo tribes embody the incredible colorful culture of Ethiopia's tribes. In the absence of any modern materials, these tribes find unique age-old ways in which to express their artistic impulses. The Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clay and locally available vegetable pigments to trace amazing patterns on their faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs are simply for fun and aesthetic effect, as each artist vies to outdo his fellow tribesman - it is really a contest of remarkable talents and imagination. The Karo men also sculpt their hair into extravagant shapes, with their special ochre 'caps' of hair containing several ostrich feathers. To watch this tribe perform is to watch Picasso at his best! (B,L,D) Murulle Lodge
Day 6: Arba Minch - Bekele Molla Hotel
After breakfast, depart for Omorate to visit the Gheleb tribe. The Gheleb have a decorative sense similar to the Karo tribe. After a picnic lunch, continue onwards to Konso where you will see some impressively terraced farmland and can interact with the Konso people, dressed in colorful costumes. You finally arrive at Arba Minch, 'Forty Springs' in Amharic. From here you can enjoy panaromic views of Nech Sar National Park and its bordering lakes of Chamo and Abaya. (B,L,D) Bekele Molla Hotel
Day 7: Addis Ababa - Elilly Hotel
After breakfast, embark on a full day's drive to Addis, visiting several Rift Valley Lakes, rich in aquatic birdlife, along the way. The drive is very scenic. Dinner at the restaurant in Addis. Overnight at Elilly Hotel.
Day 8: Depart Addis Ababa
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight back home. End of our services.