The Lower Omo River in south west Ethiopia is home to eight different tribes whose population is about 200,000. They have lived there for centuries. However the future of these tribes lies in the balance. The Lower Omo Valley is a spectacularly beautiful area with diverse ecosystems including grasslands, volcanic outcrops, and one of the few remaining ‘pristine’ riverine forests in semi-arid Africa which supports a wide variety of wildlife.
The Bodi (Me’en), Daasanach, Kara (or Karo), Kwegu (or Muguji), Mursi and Nyangatom live along the Omo and depend on it for their livelihood, having developed complex socio-economic and ecological practices intricately adapted to the harsh and often unpredictable conditions of the region’s semi-arid climate.
The annual flooding of the Omo River feeds the rich biodiversity of the region and guarantees the food security of the tribes especially as rainfall is low and erratic.
They depend on it to practice ‘flood retreat cultivation’ using the rich silt left along the river banks by the slowly receding waters.
They also practice rainfed, shifting cultivation growing sorghum, maize and beans on the flood plains. Some tribes, particularly the Kwegu, hunt game and fish.
Cattle, goats and sheep are vital to most tribes’ livelihood producing blood, milk, meat and hides. Cattle are highly valued and used in payment for bride wealth.They are an important defence against starvation when rains and crops fail. In certain seasons families travel to temporary camps to provide new grazing for herds, surviving on milk and blood from their cattle. The Bodi sing poems to favourite cattle.
What to Expect
There are dozens of tribes you can choose from but here are some of the most recognizable tribes (with alternate spellings in parenthesis). Also, the bold names are considered to be among the most popular or most accessible ones:
Considering you’re on a budget and going overland (public bus or private transport), it takes one day (eight hours+) to go from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch, where you can see the Dorze tribe.
It takes two hours to reach Konso, where you can see the Konso tribe, and then about five hours to reach Jinka, where you are finally in the Lower Omo Valley.
So, it takes more than a day to reach Jinka by bus. Alternatively, you can cut that by flying to Arba Minch or Jinka.
The recommended time is to spend at least seven days in the region (if flying) or at least ten days (preferably longer) if you’re doing everything overland. Another thing to consider when planning your time in the region is whether you’ll have private transport or will be using public transportation. Public transport in Ethiopia, especially in the Omo Valley is very uncomfortable, slow, and unreliable.
Omo valley tours is very content to announce the commencement to organize , a day trip to Mago national park (mursi tribe) in combination with multi-ethnic Tuesday ( Aldub market) or Thursday ( keyafer market).
Travel schedule every Tuesday and Thursday 6 am
Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel in keyafer. Afterwards you will undertake an approximate three hours scenic drive through the magnificent landscape of mago national park up to Mursi village. At arriving To oliliglonge Mursi village relatively friendly village among other, get well comed by oliliglonge the chief and a good friend of mine. During a walk through the village, I will be explaining the life, past and today’s life of the Mursi tribes, after words you will have a photo opportunity. After wards return back to jinka for lunch.
Early in the morning, make an excursion trip to korocho to visit the Karo. The Karos residing on the bank of omo river , are celebrated for the most fine body painting and body scarification.This afternoon we will have a visit of biggest hammer village
After breakfast, make an excursion to Omorate which is found east of the Omo River; We cross Omo River by a small boat and walk 20 minutes to the Gelab (Dassanech) tribal village. Dasenech people are also known for their body painting and body scarification.
In any of the above afternoon, we might be attending hammer bull jumping (age rite) depending on when and where it is happing.
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