Omo Valley Explorer Tour

Ethiopia Omo Valley Tour – a 12 day Small Group Tour.

Join our small group tour and visit the remote tribes of Ethiopia’s deep south, with distinct cultures and fascinating traditions that have long since died out elsewhere.

We gain an understanding of the incredible ethnic diversity of this isolated part of Africa and there are additional extensions available to explore the Harar Region of Ethiopia.



Travelling among the eight different tribes of the Omo Valley provides an Africa refreshingly at odds with a safari chic fantasy that’s long promoted the continent as an up-market zoological park for well-heeled westerners.

This tour aims to engage with the Omo’s different ethnic groups and facilitate understanding of their centuries-old traditions. As Ethiopia develops, pressures brought by hydroelectrical projects and land appropriation threaten these lifestyles.

In a small way, to highlight the Konso region and the Omo Valley – already both recognised by UNESCO, may counter some of the negative developments and help preserve a unique African cultural heritage.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture 
  • History 
  • Wildlife 

Tour pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Start the Omo Valley tour when you arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to hotel accommodation. This afternoon visit some of the capital’s key sights including the Entoto Mountains with great views over the city, the Ethnological Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Overnight stay at Nexus Hotel or similar. No meals are included today.

(508 km, Approximate driving time: eight hours)

After a relaxing breakfast we begin the journey to Arba Minch, visiting the Dorze people en route, learning about their distinct traditions and architecture.  Overnight at Paradise Lodge or similar. (BLD)

(240km, Approximate driving time: five hours)

This morning we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo. As well as hippos, the lake is noted for crocodiles of unusual size – the largest recorded in recent years was over 5.5m., before continuing to Jinka, travelling through the lands of the Derase, Tsemay and Bena people. On arrival in Jinka we will visit the Jinka museum. Overnight at Eco Omo Lodge or similar. (BLD)

(120km, Approximate driving time: three hours)

This morning we travel to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi pastoralist people, characterised by the practice of extending their lips with clay plates. After lunch we begin the journey to Turmi, which takes us through the lands of the colourful Hamar people, renowned for women’s red clay-braided hairstyles and the unique tradition of young men who test themselves by bull jumping during festivities. Overnight at Turmi Lodge or similar (BLD)

We spend today visiting villages of both the Dassenach and Hamer people and hope to learn a little about their lifestyles first-hand. Overnight at Turmi Lodge or similar (BLD)

(185km, Approximate driving time: four hours)

The highland settlements of Konso were inscribes by UNESCO in 2011 as Cultural Landscapes. This morning we leave Turmi for Konso where we will visit the Thursday Key Afar market, attended by the Derase, Tsemay and Bena people. Later we will visit a Konso village and the Konso museum. Overnight stay at Kanta Lodge or similar. (BLD).

(340km, Approximate driving time: eight hours)

The journey today passes through coffee plantations, and we may stop to try the freshest of brews. We also stretch our legs at the stelae fields of Tutu Fella where the origins and significance of prehistoric carved stone monuments remain uncertain. Overnight at Haile Resort or similar. (BLD)

(270km, Approximate driving time: six hours)

En route from Harwassa we pass through further coffee plantations and fruit growing villages set among verdant countryside. Overnight at Goba Wabe Shebele Hotel or similar. (BLD)

After an early breakfast we head onto the Sanetti Plateau, passing through Harenna forest from where we can see the peak of Tulu Dimtu 4377m, the country’s second highest mountain. We’ll explore the plateau, and if lucky may spot critically endangered Ethiopian Wolf. Overnight at Goba Wabe Shebele Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Please Note: it can get very cold at night so you should bring warm clothes to wear

(250km, Approximate driving time: five hours)

Today we continue to the Rift Valley lakes of Shala, Abyata and Langano. The lakes attract flocks of flamingos, pelicans and many other bird species. On the shores of Lake Langano, near to Munessa Forest, there are options for hiking, horse-riding, cycling, boating, or birdwatching. Overnight at Sabana Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

(207 km, Approximate driving time; three hours)

We begin our drive back to Addis Ababa stopping to visit Lake Abiata, known for its population of wading birds, and Lake Shala, the largest by volume in Ethiopia. Overnight stay at Nexus Hotel or similar. (BLD)

After breakfast there may be time for a last-minute city tour. Visits include St George’s Cathedral, the National Museum and the Merkato, reputedly the Africa’s largest open-air market. The Omo Valley tour concludes with transfers to Bole International Airport for onward flights. (BL)

Please contact us for details of the additional extension to visit Harar or download the Tour Dossier.

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers.

Return flights from London to Addis Ababa start at £590. Contact us for a quotation.

Single Supplement from £335.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Harar Extension £850 to £895 per person, based on two people travelling. Single Supplement £50 – £75.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with us so that we can tailor your perfect tour of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Ethiopia Omo Valley Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation
  • Transport in private vehicles
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (please note that groups of 1-3 people will have a driver and different guides in each place visited, rather than one guide accompanying the trip throughout)
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Video/camera charges
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks (although water is provided with each meal)

We’d describe this trip as one of the best we’ve had anywhere in the world. The encounters with the tribespeople were enjoyable. We felt lucky and privileged to witness a Hamer bull jumping ceremony.


Mike and Sue Croft, UK