Expedition to the Surma's Donga stick fighting festival, Omo valley cattle breeders and volcanoes of Danakil depression

ETHIOPIA


November 13th to 28th, 2019.
Tour Southern and Northern Ethiopia

tour to Ethiopia Omo Valley Surma Donga festival Mursi Hamer tour to Danakil Ertale Dallol Northern Ethiopia Afdera tours to Africa

Dassanech Karo tribe Bulls jumping ceremony Assale Afar
The Great Rift Valley is the cradle of humanity, where on both banks of the Omo River dozens of tribes live in a traditional way, and some even remain in the Stone Age. Each of the tribes is distinctive and characterized by unique traditions, such as wearing lip plates by Surma people, the initiation ceremony of Hamer, where the boys must run across the backs of a dozen bulls, or Dassanech's smearing with manure.

Our ethnographic expedition sets off to the right bank of the Omo River, where every year, after the rainy season, Surma hold the Donga stick fighting festival, when men selflessly fight with sticks under play-off system in the hope of winning and taking any woman who came to the tournament.

Tour to South and North Ethiopia. The Great Rift Valley is the cradle of humanity, where on both banks of the Omo River dozens of tribes live in a traditional way, and some even remain in the Stone Age. Each of the tribes is distinctive and characterized by unique traditions, such as wearing lip plates by Surma people, the initiation ceremony of Hamer, where the boys must run across the backs of a dozen bulls, or Dassanech's smearing with manure.

Our ethnographic expedition sets off to the right bank of the Omo River, where every year, after the rainy season, Surma hold the Donga stick fighting festival, when men selflessly fight with sticks under play-off system in the hope of winning and taking any woman who came to the tournament.

SHEDULE AND COST:

I. Surma & other Omo valley tribes

Dates: November 13 to 22, 2019

Duration: 10 days / 9 nights

Cost per person: USD 2250 subject to 10 participants, USD 2500 subject to 8 participants, USD 2700 subject to 6 participants.
Everything is included except for:
- international and local flights
(Estimated cost of all flights – from Moscow to Addis Ababa roundtrip and from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch roundtrip – is not more than 1000 USD. Usually bought on your own)
- international medical insurance,
- Ethiopian visa (on arrival at the airport for 50 USD)

(Only Segment (I) can be taken)



II. Volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil desert

Dates: November 22 to 28, 2019

Duration: 7 days / 6 nights

Cost per person: USD 1450 subject to 10 participants, USD 1550 subject to 8 participants, USD 1700 subject to 6 participants.

Everything is included except for:
- international and local flights
(Estimated cost of all flights – from Moscow to Addis Ababa roundtrip and from Addis Ababa to Mekele roundtrip – is not more than 1000 USD. Usually bought on your own)
- international medical insurance,
- Ethiopian visa (on arrival at the airport for 50 USD)

(Only Segment (II) can be taken)




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO ETHIOPIA


I. Surma & other Omo valley tribes


Day 0. November 12, 2019. Flight to Ethiopia

Flight to Addis Ababa with arrival on next day (November 13).
Meals: no
Accommodation: no


Day 1. November 13, 2019. Addis Ababa – Jimma. 300 km

Early morning arrive to the airport of Addis Ababa. Meet the guide and start our expedition by SUVs. Drive to Jimma through the southwestern part of Ethiopia where coffee, one of life's great pleasures, originated and considered as Ethiopia's gift to the world. Jimma is the largest settlement in western Ethiopia and serves as the capital of Kaffa region where coffee is originated. On the way we will have stops on Guraghe Villages (woliso), Gibe Sheleko (Valley) National Park, and evergreen natural forest.
Meals: lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Central Hotel in Jimma



Day 2. November 14, 2019. Jimma – Mizan. 280 km

The drive covers the most scenic area of paradise for nature lovers. We cross through the famous town of Bonga (Kaffa Biosphere reserve – UNESCO recognized) and short visit of Kaffa villages with Coffee gardens and passes through the dense and evergreen natural forest associated with wild (organic) coffee found in these zone where full of wild animals , variety of birds , the most beautiful and attractive waterfalls with spots of hot springs.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Salaysh hotel in Mizan.



Day 3. November 15, 2019. Mizan – Kibish. 180 km

The drive sets in to the south western lowlands of the rift valley and to the home of Surma. Surma subgroups participate in a rigid but egalitarian system based around age. Bebeka is the largest Coffee plantation in Ethiopia and is of interest for its variety of Bird life are the famous attractions to see along the road.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping in the small town of Kibish.



Day 4. November 16, 2019. Kibish: walking around Surma village

Early morning hike to one of the nearby village of Surma people where will have the chance to see the morning ritual of pastoralist Surma with their cattle's trying to drink as breakfast the mixture of fresh blood and milk from live cows. Visit of other villages in the surrounding and their day to day rituals inside home.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping in small town of Kibish.



Day 5. November 17, 2019. Kibish: walking and driving Surma villages

Another day of the Surma village's visits that includes driving into the very wild areas where the Surma practice other rituals. The Surma women, like their Mursi partners in the other side of Omo River, are particularly known for the large, round lip plates worn by their women and the men used to practice a stick fight among their age groups to express their fitness to be transferred to manhood. If there will be good season for Donga festival while our visit, we for sure witness Donga stick fighting.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping in Small town of Kibish.



Day 6. November 18, 2019. Kibish – Yangaten

Morning drive to Yangaten village to visit Nyangatom (Bume) tribe.
The Nyangatom live on the west bank of the lower Omo River. Their territory extends all the way to the Kenyan and South Sudanese borders and also to South Sudan itself. Like most tribes in the area they are – as they claim – surrounded only by enemies: to the south are the aggressive Turkana, to the north the Surma, and to the east across the river the Dassanech. The Nyangatom were the first tribe in the Omo Valley to use automatic weapons (AK-47) which they obtained from Sudan just across the border. They use the machine guns to guard their precious cattle against thieves from neighbouring tribes and also to fight the tribal wars. Herds of cows are their most valuable property. Other tribes don't like the Nyangatom (mainly because they fear them) and call them pejoratively the Bume, which translates as "stinking". They themselves say that Nyangatom means "a yellow gun", or also "elephant eaters", make your choice ... They are indeed fierce warriors which is supposedly demonstrated by their custom to scar their chest; one scar for each killed enemy.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in camping in
Yangaten.


Day 7. November 19, 2019. Yangaten - Karo

Morning drive to Karo people village at the eastern bank of Omo River. Karo are famous for their intricate face and body painting practices, which they apply on their heads and torso before major events and on the weekly markets.
Driving to Turmi.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in Turmi in
Buska Lodge (or Evangadi lodge).


Day 8. November 20, 2019. Omorate – Turmi

The drive crosses the Omo River at Omorate and transferred to the Village of Dasenech tribes who live at the southern bank of the Omo river. Proceed to Turmi where the Hamer tribes are living.
Afternoon visit of Hamer people's village at the out skirt of Turmi small town and the other tribal village will continue to the Hamers people who speak an Omotic tongue and distinguished with women wearing leather skirts decorated with shells, several copper bracelets around their arms and heavy iron necklaces around their necks while their hair is dyed with ochre. There is also a chance to see one of the distinctive features of Hamers men – Bull jumping ceremony for the coming of age ritual. Evangadi the cultural dance of Hamer people is also another attraction we see during the night.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in Turmi in
Buska Lodge (or Evangadi lodge).


Day 9. November 21, 2019. Turmi – Arba Minch. 260 km

Early morning Bull jumping ceremony with Hamer people.
In the afternoon drive to Konso famous with its Cultural Landscape village, the UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011. Konso Cultural Landscape Iappears a 230 square kilometers territory, where its agriculturist inhabitants molded their eroded hills into a productive network of flat terraced fields through the construction of centuries old stone contour walls. In fact, Konso communal villages and lifestyle are worth to be learned in more details. The drive continues to Arba Minch.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in Arba Minch in Paradise lodge.



Day 10. November 22, 2019. Arba Minch – Chamo Lake

Early morning drive to Lake Chamo to have a boat trip and enjoy the giant crocodiles and hippos. After lunch flight to Addis Ababa and further international flight home (or for those who participate in Segment (II) Danakil expedition – flight to Mekele.
(For those who participate in Segment (II) in Danakil expedition – dinner and night in the hotel in Mekele).
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: no




II. Volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil desert

Day 0. November 21, 2019. Flight to Ethiopia

Flight to Addis Ababa with arrival on November 22.
Meals: no
Accommodation: no



Day 1. November 22, 2019. Addis Ababa – Mekele

Arrival to Addis Ababa airport. Transfer to the hotel. After some rest an excursion in Addis Ababa with visiting an Orthodox Church, local market, museum with Lucy skeleton, local cafe and observation desk.
Evening transfer to the airport and flight to Mekele. Dinner and night in a hotel in Mekele.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: hotel Aksum in Mekele



Day 2. November 23, 2019. Ascent to Erta Ale volcano

After breakfast we set for on 4WD cars to Danakil depression, a travel through desert to Erta Ale volcano area (613 meters above sea level). 9 km distance, 450m ascension. Time 3-4 hours.
Dismount to caldera and watching the lava lake at night, standing on the edge of a 150-meter crater.
Dinner and night on the edge of caldera: in a shack or in the open air.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in a shack or in the open air.


Day 3. November 24, 2019. Erta Ale volcano observation

Before dawn descent to the crater to watch the sunrise. After breakfast hiking to the second crater of the volcano. Watching lava fields, lunch, having the rest.
After dinner sunset at the lava lake. Night watch of a unique natural fire show. Night on the edge of caldera: in a shack or in the open air.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in a shack or in the open air.


Day 4. November 25, 2019. Erta Ale volcano – Afdera lake

Dawn at the lava lake. After breakfast descent from the volcano (about 3 hours). Transfer to the lake Afdera on 4wd cars through slag fields of Erta Ale volcano. Swimming in the extremely salt lake (water compared to the Dead Sea) visiting salt mine. Overnight at the lake shore in open air.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: at the lake shore in open air


Day 5. November 26, 2019. Afdera lake – Assale salt lake

After breakfast transfer to the lake Assale, on the dried bottom of which Afar people get dark salt in a traditional way, than cut it into square blocks and deliver it on camels along medieval route to Sudan. At sunset watching the caravans of camels carrying salt. Dinner and night in open air.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in the open air


Day 6. November 27, 2019. Dallol volcano

Short transfer to unique Dallol volcano, which is a volcano of various acid colors with fumaroles, small spitting acid springs and lakes. Dallol is considered the hottest place on Earth and what is more here due to incredible colors you feel like on Venus. Visiting the salt mines not far from Dallol, where we are again on another planet. Visit the oil lake. The road to Mekele through desert. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: hotel Aksum in Mekele



Day 7. November 28, 2019. Flight to Addis Ababa and returning home

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for flight to Addis Ababa and for further international flight.
Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: no

Cost includes:

I. Surma & other Omo valley tribes

• Accommodation in hotels and tents based on twin/double accommodation
• 3 times a day meals
• Drinking water and soft drinks with coffee, tea
• All entrance fees
• Experienced English speaking local guide
• Team leader Mzungu, translation into Russian
• all transport as per program: 4WD SUVs with AC and experienced drivers
• all permissions
• tribal fees, tribal guides
• government tax
• English speaking guide


II. Volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil desert

• Accommodation in hotels in Addis Ababa, Mekele and Lalibela (in double rooms)
• Accommodation in campings along the route, under open-air in Danakil, thatched huts on the top of Erta Ale volcano
• Three times a day meals in restaurants/cafes in all cities (Mekele, Addis Ababa and Lalibela)
• Cook and three meals a day during the expedition route
• Drinking water throughout the whole trip
• All transfers according to the itinerary by 4WD cars with air-conditioning, driven by local experienced drivers
• All permits for visiting protected areas
• English-speaking local guides and Russian translation (if needed)
• Armed security


To be addidionally (personally) paid:

I. Surma & other Omo valley tribes

• International air tickets to Addis Ababa (roundtrip),
• Domestic flight from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa (or to Mekele) oneway
• Tourist Insurance
• Visa of Ethiopia
• Alcohol beverages,
• Video filming and photography fees,
• Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
• All not mentioned in the "Price includes" section


II. Volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil desert

• international flight to Addis Ababa
• local flights from Addis Ababa to Mekele and from Lalibela to Addis Ababa
• international medical insurance,
• Ethiopian visa
• single accommodation




To take with:

I. Surma & other Omo valley tribes

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and warm clothes (hoody, light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather
- tourist mattress
- mosquito net
- personal hygiene items
- individual medical kit (analgetic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydron, court plaster, your personal medications)
- anti malaria prevention pills (up to ypu)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- repellents
- sunglasses
- big backpack for stuff
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 L)
- headlamp
- favorite meals (chocolate, nuts)
- Photo and video camera, extra batteries


II. Volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil desert

• Wear sets fitting weather conditions, one warm set
• long sleeve wear set,
• repellents,
• comfortable high tracking shoes,
• forehead torch,
• small backpack for ascent to volcano
• slipping bag for warm weather
• sunblock set (cream, sunglasses, cap)
• personal hygiene items
• personal medical kit (analgetic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydron, court plaster, your personal medications)
• photo and video camera
KEY FEATURES:
TOUR TO ETHIOPIA: OMO VALLEY AND DANAKIL
Southern and Northern Ethiopia


Best season: October - May



4WD SUV's journey to the Omo Valley – the heart of the Great African Rift, with its vast natural and anthropological diversity

Cuttle breeders Surma, famous for wearing lip plates, living on the rarely visited right bank of the Omo river. The opportunity to get to the Donga festival, where men on long sticks determine the strongest warrior

Bulls Jumping Ceremony – initiation ceremony for the Hamer tribe

The traditional tribes of Nyangatom, Karo and Dassanech, each with their own unique traditions

The world's largest crocodiles on Chamo lake in Nechisar National park

Travel on SUV vehicles to the lowest, hottest and lifeless part of the Great Rift Valley, along deep sands of Danaki desert and ash fields of Erta Ale volcano.

Assale salt lake and lifeless Danakil in the same name depression, the lowest place in Africa (155 m below sea level), which is the home of severe Afar people, whose women are considered to be ones of the most beautiful in the world.

9-kilometer ascension to Erta Ale volcano, one of five volcanos in the word with permanent lava lake.

The hottest place on Earth - Dallol volcano. Dallol is situated in Danakil depression at the level of 48 meters below sea level and is the lowest situated volcano on Earth.

Primitive salt mining from the bottom of the lake and camelcades carrying salt blocks along the ancient trade road to Sudan.

Swimming in sky-blue Afdera salt lake, analogue of the Dead Sea, and overnights in the open air.



На странице использованы фотографии (Photos used on this page):
©️ Алексей Кольбов Alexey Kolbov/ MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS
©️ AFP/ Getty Images (фото боев на палках Донга/ Donga stick fighting photos)
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