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November 23, 2011

A 10 Day Cultural Ethopia

Activity Package
This is a compulsory payment that covers what we consider to be an ‘essential activity’ on our tour. This payment is 100% transparent and is listed below. As the activity package on this tour is compulsory; we recommend that you pre-pay this to your agent prior to your arrival.

Activity Price
Compulsory National Park Fees R3940
Countries Visited Ethiopia
Vehicle 4×4 vehicle
Malaria Malaria prophylactics are required throughout the route.

Departure Point 8:00am from the Embilta Hotel, near Rasbesta Hospital, Enklalfbrika. Tel: +251 11 372 6120
End Point The Embilta Hotel, near Rasbesta Hospital, Enklalfbrika. Tel: +251 11 372 6120

What’s included Accommodation, registered guides and transport as per itinerary.
What’s excluded All items of a personal nature, alcohol, snacks, souvenirs, tips and optional activities (see list for an indication of prices.)

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disability that you may have.

VisasPlease note that these are your responsibility. Most nationalities require visas for Ethiopia. See Pre Departure Booklet for more information.

Vaccinations A Yellow Fever Certificate is required for this tour. Please see the Pre Departure Information booklet for detailed information on vaccinations in Africa.

Insurance All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via the Nomad website (Nomad World travel insurance is in no way affiliated with Nomad Tours)

The African sun is very strong. Please use a factor 30 sunscreen and wear a hat. You should drink at least 3 litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. It can also get very cold during winter months on this route. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information.

Currency and Banking
USD (United States Dollars) is the best currency for Ethiopia. Travellers Cheques can take a long time to change into cash and often incur unreasonable charges. Credit cards cannot always be processed – especially in remote areas, and cash points (ATMs) might not recognise foreign debit or credit cards. USD Notes printed before 2004 (i.e. the old style notes) will not be accepted and many places will not accept USD100 notes, so make sure to bring lots of $1, $5 and $10 notes for tips and craft markets. USD20 and USD50 notes are good to change in to local currency. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information on each country.

Onward Travel Fly to Nairobi and enjoy our Masai Mara & Gorillas tour, a Kilimanjaro Trek or East African Adventre – South.

Pre and Post Tour Accommodation
If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you. We can also arrange airport transfers – contact your travel agent or Nomad to make these bookings.

Arrival Please be sure to arrive 1 day before your tour is due to depart. This will avoid any problems such as forgotten luggage, misplaced bags or any unforeseen problems such as airline strikes or delayed flight arrival.
Departure Please book your flight to depart the day after the tour officially ends. This is to account for any delays that we may experience due to unpredictable road conditions.

Country Area Activity Price Range
Ethiopia Addis Ababa Dinner at Local Restaurant $30 to $60
Ethiopia Bahirdar Boat Trip on Nile River $10 to $15
Ethiopia Bahirdar Boat Trip on Lake Tana 1 – 8 clients $25 to $35
Ethiopia Gonder Black Jews Community Center Small donation
Ethiopia Semien Mountains Mountain Biking $25 to $30
Ethiopia Semien Mountains Mule Riding + Muleteer $5 to $15
Ethiopia Lalibela Coffee Ceremony $10 to $15
Ethiopia Through out Local House Visit $5 to $15

Day 1 Addis Ababa to Arba Minch
It’s an early start as we leave Addis Ababa and begin the adventure of Omo Valley in 4×4 vehicles. We pass by the Rift Valley lakes before arriving into Arba Minch. This town is the largest in southern Ethiopia; it is situated among green hills that offer grand views over the Rift Valley Lakes of Abaya and Chamo. Tonight we have dinner in the Soma Restaurant, famous for its fresh fish dishes.

Meals: Dinner Accommodation: Camp: Bekeie Mola Hotel Camping area (no website available) Facilities: Restaurant, bar, shared ablutions.
Route: Addis Ababa to Arba Minch. ±505 km Travel time: ±9-10 hrs

Day 2 Arba Minch
In the morning we take a relaxing, yet very rewarding boat trip on Lake Chamo, which although much smaller, is much bluer in colour, and populated by a substantial number of crocodiles and hippos. Abaya is the largest of the Rift Valley lakes +-1,070km2 and has a rusty appearance resulting from ferrous hydroxide suspended in the water.

Later in the afternoon we visit the Nechisar National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in Africa. Established in 1974 and set in the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,100 – 1,650m, the park not only covers the easterly Nechisar(white grass) plains is named after, but also a large part of the two lakes and the mountainous “bridge of God” that lies between the two lakes. On the open Nechisar plains is the best viewing spot to see large game, most commonly of which is Burchell’s zebra which are regularly see in herds of 100 or more and Grant’s gazelle, although rare there are also ±100 Swayne’s hartebeest. Lion, cheetah and even African Wild dog are present, but you’d be extremely lucky to see them.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bekele Mola, Camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Restaurant, bar, shared ablutions.
Route: Arba Minch
Travel time: ±6 hrs round trip in National Park
Nechisar National Park
Established in 1974 and set in the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1 100 – 1 650 m, the park not only covers the easterly Nechisar (white grass) plains, but also two lakes and the mountainous “bridge of God”. The open plains are the best viewing spot to see large game, most commonly seen is Burchell’s Zebra and Grant’s Gazelle, and although rare there are also ± 100 Swayne’s Hartebeest. Lion, cheetah and even African Wild Dog are present, but you’d be extremely lucky to see them.

Day 3 Arba Minch to Turmi
The road continues into the savannah, running alongside the “Mountains of Men”, the road then rises up the Karkerte Mountains (providing splendid panoramic views) until it reaches the soft, terraced hills of Konso. Here we visit a Konso village on the southern extensions of the highlands to meet the locals who are excellent farmers. The Konso are also noted for their unusual practice of sculpting eerie wooden statues to mark the graves of their dead. Should the Chief of Konso be in residence, we may be granted an audience with him. Then we continue our route through the savannah and on to Turmi where the tour will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Buska Lodge and Camp Site
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable, bar, restaurant
Route: Arba Minch to Turmi. ±260 km
Travel time: ±7 hrs
Although small in size, Turmi is an important transport hub and best known for its Monday market, possibly the most important in Hamer country. There are a few small and unspoilt Hamer villages within a 2 km radius of Turmi town.

Day 4 Turmi to Omorate
Today we drive through the savannah along tracks that are barely visible, passing through a vast meadowland with shrubs and umbel lifers (“umbrella” acacia trees). As we pass over the Omo River nothing in Ethiopia or modern Africa prepares you for South Omo. This area is filled with extraordinary cultural integrity, where the people weren’t even aware that such a thing as Ethiopia existed until 50 years ago. Omorate lies on the eastern bank of the Omo River and is almost totally isolated from the rest of Ethiopia.

The main attraction is the Dasanech Villages on the out skirts of the town. The Dasanech are also known as Galeb or Reshiat. They were forced out of their homeland in a region called Nyupe, to the west of Turkana, by the expansionist wars of Turkana in the 18th century. They now cover a large territory of the western banks of the Omo all the way south to Lake Turkana. Here we will encounter the Galeb people in the countryside and go into the villages, after which we head back to Omorate to look at the local wild life on the banks of the river. We return to Turmi for the evening to rest before tomorrow’s adventure.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Buska Lodge and Camp Site
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable, bar, restaurant
Route: Turmi – Omorate – Turmi.
Travel time: ±5 hrs

Day 5 Turmi to Mago National Park
Today we continue northwest up towards Murulle, where we can visit the Karo tribes of Kolcho and Dus. We then continue to Mago National Park, from here on there is no real track to speak of any more. Instead we travel through the savannah in a typically African landscape. Here we will frequently be running into herds of Oryx and gazelle. Surrounded by huge trees, this is the land of the Karo tribe and it is possible to meet with them along the river.

We continue the drive north to Mago National Park. Mago National Park was proclaimed in the 1960’s and is bisected by the Mago River, which flows into the Omo on the southern boundary. After about 2 hours of rough road we arrive at the camp site where we spend the night in tents.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Mago Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable
Route: Turmi to Mago National Park. ±201 km
Travel time: ±9 hrs

The campsite is situated in a beautiful clearing among towering trees, which provide shade, and near the river Neri. We’ll visit the Mursi village situated close by. The Mursi are most notably known for their custom in which the women slowly expand their lower lips using disks that gradually get larger and larger. These are people who farm the land and breed livestock; they live in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world. There are not that many animals visible during the day in the park, but by night we are surrounded by thousands of sounds, among which is the trumpeting of elephants.
Mago National Park.
Mago National Park was proclaimed in the 1970’s and is bisected by the Mago River, which flows into the Omo on the southern boundary. It is the newest of Ethiopia’s National Parks and its highest point is Mount Mago (2 528 m). The Mago River, which is 760 km long, originates in the central, south-western highlands of Ethiopia, where it is known as the Gibe. Its final destination is Lake Turkana, close to the Kenyan border.

Day 6 Mago National Park to Arba Minch
We leave Mago National Park on the return journey towards to the northeast, passing though the Konso villages. We will have a very brief stopover in Jinka and then continue towards Key Afer where we will visit the Ari and Bana tribes. You can have lunch in one of the local hotels or restaurants. Then it’s back on the road and towards the evening we will arrive at Arba Minch.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bekeie Mola camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable
Route: Mago National Park to Arba Minch. ±245 km
Travel time: ±11 hrs

The Ari are the largest tribe in the southern Omo, with territory’s extending from the northern borders of Mago National Park into the highlands around Jinka and Key Afer, and further still to the north. In the 1984 census they were numbered at about 100 000, and are considerably larger today. As with the Hamer, the Ari speak a south Omotic language, which is divided into ten distinct regional dialects. Both tribes are farmers who grow various grains, keep livestock, and produce excellent honey.

Day 7 Arba Minch to Awassa
This morning we return to the road that leads back up the Rift Valley. On route the tour cross through fertile lands that have been planted with bananas, cereals and tobacco. All kinds of fruit and weaved goods are sold along the roadside. On the way we’ll stop off in Chencha and visit a Dorze village. The Dorze people are renowned cotton weavers, and their tall beehive-shaped huts are the most distinctive in Africa, these remarkable huts can measure up to 6 meters tall, and are constructed entirely from organic material. These dome structures are extremely durable; one would last a lifetime.

In the afternoon the tour arrives at Awassa, this large city is located on the edge of Lake Awassa, at an altitude of 1,685m and about 275km south of Addis Ababa. The lake is the smallest of the Rift Valley lakes. Set in an ancient volcanic caldera, the lake has no outlets, yet remains fresh with an abundance of both fish and bird life. Lake Awassa is surrounded by stunning mountains and lush fringing vegetation. There is also a beautiful dyke that runs along the lake close to town, built to prevent flooding when the lake rises, which is perfect for walks, to stretch those legs and go bird watching.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Wabishebele Hotel Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions.
Route: Arba Minch to Awassa. ±280 km
Travel time: ±7-8 hrs

Birds in the area included the fish eagle, silvery-cheeked hornbill, grey kestrel, several types of weavers and much more. There are also hippos present in the lake which can be seen from a boat. The city itself has a great open market, Monday and Thursday, as well as a daily fish market on the lakeshore. This is also a good place to go to the bank to change traveller’s checks and USD.

Day 8 Awassa to Dinsho
The tour now heads out east towards Dinsho, the route passes through immense fields of wheat, barley and high-altitude meadows. This is a particularly lush green landscape, especially in October and November. The local Ormo people, move from one village to the next on small horses, carrying various goods of grain and weaved cotton. We arrive in the evening, have dinner and camp the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bale National Park HQ (no website available)
Facilities: Shared Ablutions
Route: Awassa to Dinsho. ±195 km
Travel time: ±7-8 hrs

Day 9 Dinsho
Dinsho is our gateway to the Bale Mountains National Park. The park encompasses the higher reaches of the Bale range, including Mt Tullo Deemtu – at 4,377m; it is the second highest peak in Ethiopia. The main attractions are the wild alpine scenery, especially the 4,000m-high Senetti Plateau as well as the Simien wolves. The road across the Senetti Plateau is reportedly the highest all weather road in Africa. We’ll spend the day exploring the park and meeting some of the locals

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bale National Park HQ (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablution
Route: Dinsho to Sanetti. ±90 km
Travel time: ±6-7 hrs

There are many protected mammals in the park, including nyala, kudu, gazelles and the rare wolves found in the mountains. The day is dedicated to visiting the park, with the option to go on short treks or horse riding. Then the tour returns to camp for dinner.

Day 10 Dinsho to Addis Ababa
The tour heads back up north for the drive to Addis Ababa.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Own arrangements / post-tour accommodation can be booked through Nomad.
Route: Dinsho to Addis Ababa. ±400 km
Travel time: ±10 hrs

Tour Ends
We will drop you off at the Embilta Hotel Your accommodation for the night needs to be pre-booked through your travel agent or Nomad. We suggest you book accommodation here for this evening. If you choose to stay elsewhere you will need to arrange a transfer.

East Africa: In general tipping in restaurants is expected and is around 10% for good service, more if you have received exceptional service, and, feel free not to tip at all if you received poor service. Tipping taxi drivers etc is really at your own discretion and not always expected. If in doubt please ask your guides. It is expected to tip Porters and Car-guards etc. Ask your guides how much is appropriate in local currency.

The crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty. The recommended amount is between USD1-2 per person, per day, per crew member.
The best way to arrange tips is to elect one person in the group to collect the money. So if you have 3-crew on a tour, we would recommend that 3 envelopes are used and each crew member’s name written on one. Place what you feel is fair in to each envelope and the elected person can give these to the crew at the end of the tour. If you do not feel that the crew deserve a tip, please, do not tip them.

At Nomad we are passionate about the people, places and wildlife of Africa that make our tours so special. In order to give back we have set up the Nomad African Trust.

By the end of your tour you may have left-over local currency that you will not be able to change outside of its country of origin. Any assistance you could provide to the trust by donating this left over currency by depositing it in the secure box provided on the truck is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help and please join our newsletter at the website above to receive regular updates on what we are doing to support our beneficiaries.

Green Seats – Travel responsibly in Africa
Nomad gives you the opportunity to offset your carbon foot print by purchasing a “Green Seat”. If you would like to help Nomad making Africa Greener, simply choose the tick box on your booking form and we will take care of the rest. The Nomad African Trust will plant trees that are ecologically viable and that have very high carbon absorption.

All the funds that are collected are administered by the Nomad African Trust who will
manage the project in conjunction with South African National Parks as well as the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
and the Rhodes University. Once you have bought your green seat you will receive an e-certificate providing you with all
the details of the project as well as contact details should you wish to receive further information.


At the end of your tour you will be provided with feedback forms. These forms are confidential and should be given to your crew in a sealed envelope. If you are not sure of the confidentiality of the feedback form please feel free to email us as well on Please make sure to also complete the feedback form as we use the answers on these forms to improve and maintain our service levels.

Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice, the accommodation listed in this dossier is our preferred supplier, but sometimes due to availability, we are unable to make use of the property listed in this dossier. If we cannot use the accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards.

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