Going to Ethiopia, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. When you think about Africa, you conjure up images of giraffes munching on leaves up above, lions grumpily growling, or the majestic migration of wildebeest. What is easy to forget is the human side of the continent and how incredible the people are once you get to know them. These are the many faces of Omo Valley in Ethiopia.
More to read about Ethiopia after this
- The Ethiopia Omo Valley trip planning guide
- The full Ethiopia 9 day itinerary to Omo Valley
- Ethiopia packing list guide
- Other Ethiopia travel guides
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Here's what we're covering:
- Contemplative Zen
- A Little About Omo
- All About the People and the Tribes of Omo Valley Ethiopia
What makes Ethiopia uniquely different from the other parts of Africa is that it is less of an animal safari and more of a human safari. That probably sounds a bit strange and at times it really does put you in morally ambiguous situations where you question whether you’re completely disrupting a society’s existence or bringing about positive improvement.
The beauty of travel though is that it really does get you thinking about humanity at a broader level, puts you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to think about the simple values of life.
A Little About Omo
The region of Omo Valley of Ethiopia probably deserves a little bit of an introduction. I certainly didn’t know much about it and after a bit of research I knew that I couldn’t miss this opportunity.
Omo Valley is truly one of the last surviving group of people where modernization has hardly touched them which feels impossible in an era of Internet. For centuries, 200,000 or so Omo Valley tribespeople have pursued preindustrial lifestyles that until more recently have been left alone to their own devices because the land was considered useless and too remote for exploitation. Beyond the gifts of tourists and garbage left behind, men, women, and children all express themselves in their own tribal identity.
What makes them so fascinating is the fact that in such a small area, there is an incredibly diversity of language and genetics that also live as traditionally as they currently do. With 14 tribes, each carries its own language, customs, and heritage. It also may not be a coincidence that the oldest Homo Sapien fossil fragments were found here.
It’s the curiosity that bring travellers like myself to the region for the chance to witness rituals such as bull jumping and gladiatorial combat.
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All About the People and the Tribes of Omo Valley Ethiopia
With that, I thought what better way to introduce my experiences in Ethiopia than to introduce to you all of the incredible people I met along the way. It’s the new faces, friendly handshakes, and unexpected hugs that make for the best travel experiences and Omo Valley truly punctuated that.
Note that the photos below aren’t meant to be graphic but an inside look at a hidden culture so I hope no one is offended.
Arba Minch to start it off
Spending time in Jinka with the locals
Heading into Mursi Tribe Lands
The Ari Tribe
Hamar Tribe Hospitality
Bull Jumping Ceremony
Travellers We Met
The Heat of Nyangatom
Chilling with the Karo Tribe
Camping with Hamar Tribe
It’s the people that make every trip special and this one was no different. A trip to Omo Valley truly immerses yourself into all the different tribes and you’ll see things that are so unique that you’ll think you’re on an episode of National Geographic.