8 Days South
Cultural South, 8 days
Traveling in southern Ethiopia is done by car. This itinerary is the shortest way to give you an impression of this fascinating part of Ethiopia. We will visit 2 different markets and meet people of 5 different ethnic groups. To be at the right place at the right time we have to keep an eye on which day it is.
Day 1 (Th) Addis Ababa
We will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel for check-in. The first day we spent in the fascinating capital of the country: Addis Ababa. Depending on your time of arrival we take you on a half day or full day city tour visiting some sites of your choice like the Ethnographic Museum, National Museum, Trinity Cathedral, Mercato (the largest market of Africa) or the Entoto Hills just outside Addis Ababa.
Day 2 (Fr) Addis Ababa - Arba Minch, 453 km/ ~8,5 hr
This day we will have a full but interesting day driving. We travel through the rolling fertile hills along the Butajira Road and then down to the acacia savanna on the bottom of the Rift Valley. We pass the historical sites of Melka Kunture, Adadi Maryam an Tiya. A brief visit to one of these sites is possible.
Day 3 (Sa) Arba Minch (visit Dorze and Nech Sar NP)
On Saturday it is market day in Chencha, the biggest town in the area where the Dorze people are living. In about one and half hour we travel the 36 km from Arba Minch at an altitude of 1400 m to the highland town of Chencha at 2900 m enjoying beautiful vistas over Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo on the way. After the market we visit the Dorze people in their famous beehive like huts. We see the preparation of their staple food made of false banana. Of course we try their food. After a relaxing lunch we depart for a boat trip on Lake Chamo and have a good chance to come up close with most probably the biggest crocodiles you have ever seen. Many (water) birds and hippopotamus are also easily found.
Day 4 (Su) Arba Minch - Turmi, 277 km/ ~5,5 hr
Today we travel further south and traverse the areas where Konso, Tsamay, Arbore and Hamar people are living. We visit an Arbore village on the way. Near Turmi we visit a Hamar vilage. During our stay in Turmi we might be lucky to witness an Evangadi dance or maybe even a Bulljumping ceremony.
Day 5 (Mo) Turmi (visit Dassanech village and Hamar market)
Monday is the market day in Turmi where Hamar people from a wide area are attending. Before we visit the market, which only really gets going from midday, we drive to Omerate at the east bank of the Omo River, about 72 km/ 1,5 hr from Turmi. This is the area where the Dassanech people are living and we are going to cross the Omo River by local canoe to visit one of their villages.
Day 6 (Tu) Turmi - Konso, 195 km / ~4 hr
Before we depart for Konso we enjoy a walk around Turmi to explore the area on foot. When there's no water running in the Keske River (most of the time) we follow the riverbed and find almost certain the black and white colobus monkey and many birds. After lunch we visit the Konso people with their maze like villages and terraces for agriculture. They are also well known for their Waga stelae, grave markers for the brave and important men of this people. The cultural landscape of Konso is the youngest World Heritage Site of Ethiopia.
Day 7 (We) Konso - Yirgalem, 280 km/ ~5 hr
Today we travel into the green and fertile hills where a lot of the famous Ethiopian coffee is grown. We stay at the Aregash Lodge in Yirgalem situated at a coffee plantation. The lodge is a fine example of an eco-lodge. The huts are build in the same style as the surrounding Sidamo people. Delicious organic, home grown, food is served in the restaurant. It is a great place for a relaxing afternoon although short walks are available.
Day 8 (Th) Yirgalem - Addis Ababa 315 km/ ~5 hr
The last day of your unforgettable visit to Ethiopia brings us back to Addis Ababa. En route we pass Hawassa where we visit the fishmarket. We have lunch in Ziway where we do some birdwatching at the lake. A hotel room for day-use is available in Addis. We say goodbye to dear friends with a visit to a cultural restaurant, enjoying the great Ethiopian food together with traditional music and dance from all over this fascinating country. After diner we take you to the airport for your flight back home.