Southern Ethiopia is a land of outstanding natural beauty and culture. It boasts high mountains, steep valleys, rolling plains and numerous rivers and lakes. Besides such impressive natural sceneries the national parks of this region have Ethiopia's only wild areas of Savannah where one can still see large herbivores with their predators in their natural settings.
Culturally, southern Ethiopia is extraordinarily rich with some 56 languages spoken by people of many different ethnic origins. Here of special interest are groups of South Omo people, who live on the boundaries of Mago and Omo National Parks that preserve their traditional ways of life hardly changed from what they were centuries ago.
To anthropologists, South Omo is not far from being the proverbial "Living Museum" - a museum whose inhabitants seem intent on rituals and decorations. Body scarring, lip plates, bull jumping - in different parts of South Omo these are all parts of the way of life.
Omo Valley is accessible only by road. For visiting one should allow at least two days driving in either direction from and to Addis Ababa and four days in the region. Moreover, trying to plan the itinerary around the weekly market days will offer an optimum chance to interact with the local people.
The ideal time to make the South Omo tour is out of the rainy season. Poor roads and black cotton soil make travelling difficult during the rainy season, typically taking place in April and May but sometimes extending a month to either side of that.
Pretty few organized tours run to South Omo, but we can put together a private safari with driver, camping gear and food supplied.