Trip reference number: ITN-ETH001

Trip Operator: Rainbow Tours

Ethiopia Meskel Festival, Omo Tribes And Lalibela Small Group 2020

From: £3770.00

We are delighted to be offering an exceptionally unusual and very special small group set departure, taking in the following Ethiopian highlights and experiences: Start off by exploring the fascinating South Omo & Konso Region where you will meet the celebrated resident tribes who still retain their incredibly distinctive cultural identity.You will get to know about people such as the Mursi, Hamar, Karo and Konso among many others, during your time in the South Omo and Konso region.

As this tour is timed during the June to September harvest season, there may also be an opportunity to attend one of the famed bull-jumping events held by the Hamar tribe, should one be scheduled to take place during the time you are there.

Departing back to Addis Ababa, note the wonderful floral displays, even along the airport runway! These displays are sometimes regarded as second only to Namaqualand, and in the Ethiopian Highlands they are dominated by endemic, bright yellow, Meskel daisies.

You then fly up north to Lalibela, the country's number one must see site on the Historical Route. At Lalibela, spend two days being over-awed by the magnificent rock-cut churches that have made this one of the country's many UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites.

End the tour with attendance of the colourful Meskel Festival in Addis Ababa - this is Ethiopia's second largest annual festival and as is the case during our very much- enjoyed Timket Festival tours each January, we shall arrange special passes enabling guests the opportunity to make the most out of the festivities. Throughout the tour you will be staying in comfortable accommodation and you will be led by one of our superb, highly rated, experienced, professional Ethiopian tour leaders. (We encourage you to read the reviews on our website, particularly for example, for our Timket set departures).

Finally, nature enthusiasts will not be disappointed: two seldom-visited national parks are included in the itinerary: first, you'll take a boat excursion on Lake Chamo in remote Nech'Sar National Park (mostly for aquatic wildlife) and then near Jinka, you'll visit Mago National Park, where there is plenty of small wildlife and an abundance of birdlife. (Birding is excellent all over the country).

Group size is limited to a maximum of 6 participants and a minimum of 4, so we do recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. (Guaranteed departure; only 2 spaces remaining).


Day 1 Fly on Ethiopian Airlines from London Heathrow or Manchester overnight to Addis Ababa

Day 2 On arrival off the Ethiopian Airlines flight into Addis Ababa Bole Airport this morning, purchase your visas (US$50), and collect checked baggage. You will be met by your dedicated, experienced, professional, English-speaking Ethiopian guide and your driver who will transfer you to the Golden Tulip Hotel where you stay overnight in a Deluxe room with breakfast included. Relax for the rest of the morning and refresh after the long-haul flight. After lunch, your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a city highlights tour - today you can cover 4 stops such as Trinity Cathedral and the National Museum, but these can be decided on depending on individual interests.

Day 3 Your guide and driver collect you from the hotel and transfer you to Bole Airport to check in for the flight to Arba Minch, one of the gateway airports to the South. Your guide flies with you. On arrival at Arba Minch Airport your driver will be there to welcome you. Depart in your private, comfortable, air-conditioned 4-wheel drive vehicle to the very comortable Paradise Lodge where you overnight with all meals included. Today's activities include a visit to the Dorze people who live in this region. You will also be taken on a boat trip on Lake Chamo, which will be slotted in either today, or tomorrow morning after breakfast. This gives you the chance to visit remote Nech'Sar National Park.

Day 4 Arba Minch/Arba Minch - Turmi/Turmi (Road Journey) Depart after breakfast on the journey deep into the Omo Region, to Turmi. Drive time today is about 5 hours (275km) Continue to Turmi, meeting tribes along the way including the Aari, Banna and Hamar. In Turmi, you will stay for 3 nights in a double en-suite bungalow at Buska Lodge, with all meals included. This is the perfect base from which to explore the Omo and to meet its wonderful people - you will get to know the Hamar, Karo and Dassanech tribes who reside in this region. If there is a Bull-jumping event being held among the Hamar people, we will take you to this and adapt the itinerary accordingly to fit it in, as attendance requires much of a day. (Do note that the donation to the host family, approximately US$120 per person, must be given to the family in cash on arrival at the event).

Day 5 Today you will be taken to see the Dimeka Market (drive time to Dimeka from Turmi is 1 hour, distance 60km). At this very interesting market, you can see and purchase a wide range of really interesting artefacts, locally made jewellery, pottery and carvings. IF there is a bull-jumping event happening among the Hamar tribe, we will adapt the programme to get you to this instead.

Day 6 Your time today will be spent visiting villages of the amazing Hamar people and then, the Karo tribe. During your time in one of the Hamar villages, you will be invited into a Hamar home, where for example you will be able to see examples of the 'calendar ropes' that they have marking important social events such as Bull-jumping ceremonies. At the Karo village, you will see and learn first hand about the enormous challenges facing the marvellous people of the Omo Region. (This all will become clear when standing at a viewpoint overlooking the Omo River, during which your guides will explain.

Day 7 Depart Turmi today to Jinka, a centre of the Mursi tribe, among others. At Jinka, stay overnight in the Eco Omo Lodge, with all meals included. (Drive time today is 3 hours; 120km). During your time at and around Jinka, you will be taken to visit a vilage of the Mursi people, renowned mostly for the lip plates worn by many of their women. These village visits are sensitively arranged and we provide carefully compiled guidelines for example, pertaining to photography as this varies from tribe to tribe. Other tribes whom you will meet during your time in the region include Tsemay, Aari and Banna. In this region you will also be taken for a stop at the seldom visited Mago National Park, where there is plenty of small wildlife and abundant birdlife to be seen.

Day 8 Depart Jinka after breakfast and head in to Konso, which you will know you are approaching when the landscape becomes more verdant, hilly and you see the very distinctive terraced agricultural slopes which are part of this World Heritage Cultural Site. Stop along the way at the Key Afar Market as today is Tuesday. Drive time today is 4 hours over 200km. Your accommodation for the night is the simple Kanta Lodge, which has a lovely hilltop location - there's a terrace under a huge wild fig tree, where guests enjoy having meals. Visit one of the walled villages of the Konso people - this is quite unalike anything you will see elsewhere in the country. You should see some 'waka' carvings and the Generational Pole. Overnight in rustic bungalows at Kanta Lodge. (The menu is good, with several excellent Italian dishes - try their rissoto!)

Day 9 After sightseeing with your guide and driver around Konso, drive to Arba Minch Airport (80km, drive time 1 hour) where you check in 1 hour prior to the departure of the Ethiopian Airlines flight up to Addis Ababa: 13h35 - 14h40 (current schedule) Upon ar...

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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