Tour – Forgotten Tribes of Ethiopia

Tour – Forgotten Tribes of Ethiopia

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Tour – Forgotten Tribes of Ethiopia

12 Days Starting and ending in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Visiting: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Konso, Jinka, Turmi, Kibish, Mizan Teferi

Tour operator:

Crooked Compass

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

2 - 12

Physical rating:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:




$6564 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$309

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Explore the remote market town of Jinka, home to the Mursi people, well known for their elaborate lip plates made of claySpend time visiting Mursi villages where the women are known for their body scarificationVisit Hamer villages where the locals shave and colour their hair, oil their bodies and decorate themselves with beads and bracelets worn around their arms and legsPossibility to witness bull jumping or Donga (stick fighting)Come with us on this wild journey that takes you through some of the most remote parts of Africa and to the most incredible tribes in Ethiopia; the Surma; Mursi.

Ethiopia is a country that is rich with colourful history, amazing wildlife, breathtaking scenery and fascinating tribal groups that have resisted pressures of the modern world to hold onto their ancient traditions. The Surma tribe are so remote that it can take up to five days to reach them by car, stop at various sites along the way to enjoy the magnificent landscape of Africa with rolling hills and barren deserts.

Explore Addis Ababa, the largest city in Ethiopia and home of the ‘Mercato’ one of the largest open-air markets in Africa. Discover Mago National Park, Ethiopia’s newest nature reserve and home to the Mursi tribe and herds of African Elephants, Grant ’s gazelle and Burchill’s Zebra. The Mursi are known for their body scarification and (among the women) the wearing of lip plates. If you’re lucky, you will get the chance to witness the coming of age ritual practised by this tribe of bull jumping.


  • Explore the remote market town of Jinka, home to the Mursi people, well known for their elaborate lip plates made of clay

  • Spend time visiting Mursi villages where the women are known for their body scarification

  • Visit Hamer villages where the locals shave and colour their hair, oil their bodies and decorate themselves with beads and bracelets worn around their arms and legs

  • Possibility to witness bull jumping or Donga (stick fighting)


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Day 1 : Arrive In Addis Ababa

Location: Addis Ababa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Jupiter International Hotel or similar

Meals Included: No Meals

Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival in Addis, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The name of the city, in Amharic, means ‘new flower’. Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 metres above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain (3,000 metres above sea level). Addis enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacaranda trees, interesting museums and one of the largest open air markets in Africa, known as the “Mercato”.

This afternoon, you will have a city tour which includes a trip to the Archaeological Museum (where you can meet 3.25 million year old Lucy), the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Ethnological Museum (the former residence of His Majesty Emperor Haile Sellassie).

Day 2 : Arba Minch

Location: Arba Minch

Accommodation: Hotel, Lodge

Accommodation Name: Paradise Lodge or similar

Meals Included: No Meals, No Meals

An early start today, departing at around 07:30, heading down the western side of the Rift Valley passing through Butajira, Hossana and Sodo. It’s a long day’s drive, taking about 8 hours with lunch and coffee stops en route, but it is on a good asphalt road. The scenery is very attractive as you pass down the Rift Valley, on the western side. There are interesting places to be visited en route – the Neolithic site and museum at Melka Kunture, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Tiya, and the rock hewn church at Adadi Mariam, contemporaneous with the churches of Lalibela.

After Sodo you skirt the western shores of Lakes Abaya and Chamo, the southernmost of Ethiopia’s Rift Valley Lakes, before arriving in Arba Minch, or “40 springs”, and check into Paradise Lodge. The Lodge is situated on a hill overlooking the narrow stretch of forested land, known locally as “the bridge of heaven”, which separates the two lakes.

Day 3 : Konso & Jinka

Location: Konso, Jinka

Accommodation: Lodge, LodgeLodgeLodge

Accommodation Name: Eco-Omo Safari Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, No Meals

Today, you drive south to Konso, whose people are known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials and the carved totems with which they decorate their graves. Konso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Market days in Konso are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pass the Weyto river where you will see a great variety of pelicans and other aquatic birds. On Thursdays there is a very attractive market at Key Afer, frequented by the Bena and Ari people. After your visit, you turn towards Jinka, where the markets are held on Saturdays and Tuesdays. This afternoon oyou could visit the museum in Jinka (not included), which along with various artefacts has a lot of ethnographical information about the people of the Omo.

Located in southwestern Ethiopia, near the borders of Sudan and Kenya, Jinka is the largest town in the Debub Omo Zone. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. This remote market town is home to the Mursi people, who are well known for their elaborate lip plates made of clay. At the South Omo Research Center and Museum, visitors can learn more about the Mursi, as well as other groups in the region, through a series of exhibits detailing the cultures and customs of local tribes. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the nearby Mago National Park, where abundant wildlife finds shelter in the dense acacia woodland.

Day 4 : Jinka

Location: Jinka

Accommodation: Lodge

Accommodation Name: Eco Omo Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You leave Jinka and drive to the Mago National Park. The park has a variety of mammals and birds, but the animals tend to stay away from the roads and sightings cannot be guaranteed. In the park you may see the following animals: elephant, buffalo, Grant’s Gazelle, Topi and Burchill’s Zebra.

The main attraction in Mago are the Mursi people, so you head to Shembel, the nearest Mursi village and if you wish, you can go further, up the escarpment to the Mursi villages there! The Mursi are known for their body scarification and (among the women) the wearing of lip plates. You return to Jinka for your overnight arrangements in the Eco Omo Lodge.

Day 5 : Jinka - Turmi

Location: Jinka, Turmi

Accommodation: Lodge, LodgeLodgeLodgeLodgeLodgeLodge

Accommodation Name: Buska Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, No Meals

After breakfast at the Eco Omo Lodge, you will depart and begin your visit to the Hamer villages around Turmi. The Hamer are a fine-looking people, both the men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and colouring their hair, oiling their bodies and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around their arms and legs. If this visit falls on a Saturday or a Tuesday, you will also visit the market at Dimeke, which is one of the most colourful and interesting in the area.

During the time you have in Turmi, if there is a bull jumping ceremony in the vicinity, you will head to see this rite of passage ceremony for young men, marking their transition to adulthood. It may also possible to see Evangadi, or Hamer dancing ceremonies.

Distance: 132kms – 3 hours

Day 6 : Turmi

Location: Turmi

Accommodation: Lodge

Accommodation Name: Buska Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast you will drive to Murule, visiting the Korcho village of the Karo people. Among the people living along the Omo, the Karo excel in face and body painting. You will then head to your lodge in Turmi, the Buska Lodge for lunch.

After lunch you will head towards the Omo River to Omo Rate, passing Kangate and the villages of the Bume people, going on to visit the Galeb villages. Here you will cross the river in a local boat and visit the villages on the other side.

Day 7 : Kibish

Location: Kibish

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast you will be transferred to Kibish, which is approximately 140 km, where you will visit the Demeka Market on the way (if the day is Saturday).

Distance: 140 kms – 3 hours

Day 8 : Kibish

Location: Kibish

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, you will head around the old Kibish village (14kms round trip) for the visit of more of the Surma villages – to visit and appreciate the very attractive culture of Surma people, they are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular or rectangular clay discs inserted. The Surma men are well known for their stick fighting, which is called Donga. It is extremely rare to witness a Donga.

Day 9 : Kibish

Location: Kibish

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you will have the chance to explore more Surma Tribe Villages, hopefully witnessing some of their ceremonies & cultural-events. According to the Suri, they came to their present territory near Mount Naita about 200 years ago from the banks of the Nile River. The Surma have a sky god named Tuma. The Suri also believe in spirits and use medicine and undertake sacrifices or prayers and directly send them to Tuma. Another belief of the Suri is the rain maker.

Piercing and lip plates are a strong part of the Suri culture. At the point of puberty most women have their bottom teeth removed in order to get their lower lip pierced. Once the lip is pierced, it’s then stretched and a lip plate is then placed in the hole of the piercing.

Day 10 : Mizan Teferi

Location: Mizan Teferi

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Salayish Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you will depart from Kibish and the Surma Villages, leaving with fond memories of a truly unique way life that is unparalleled to anything you will find in the Western world. You will be driven to Mizan Teferi. Distance: 208 kms – 5 hours

Day 11 : Addis Ababa

Location: Addis Ababa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Jupiter International Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you’ll drive to Jimma for your connecting scheduled flight and head back to Addis Ababa. In Addis Ababa, you’ll be transferred to the Jupiter Hotel.

Distance: 220 kms – approx. 5 hours, Jimma – Addis Ababa flight: 1hr

Day 12 : Departure

Location: Addis Ababa

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today, you’ll head to the Addis Ababa International Airport, where you will connect with your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers

  • 11 nights accommodation

  • 9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners

  • Services of an English speaking local guide

  • Transportation in a private vehicle

  • Domestic flights

  • Park & conservation fees

  • Camping equipment when in the Kibish

  • Fast track VIP assistance into the Addis Ababa International Airport

What's Not Included

  • Visas: Ethiopia visas

  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above

  • Travel and medical insurance

  • All services, meals other than those indicated above

  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.

  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

  • Excursions other than specified

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the minimum group size?

    The min group size is 2 people.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Park & conservation fees are included.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, The local guides on the tour is English speaking

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Yes, Single Supplement will be chargeable at AUD$ 918.00.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, Return airport transfers are included.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Domestic flights are included.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in itinerary.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes. Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages. Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard.

  • What sort of transportation is used for your tours?

    Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Crooked Compass is firmly committed to the principles of ethical travel. Our comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Practices policy summarises our commitments and actions. Although the very basis of our ground operations lends itself to the ethos of sustainable tourism, this policy re-iterates our commitment to: Use locally owned hotels Use locally owned ground agents Use local guides and drivers Promote community tourism projects from homestays to craft shops Support charities that work within the destinations that we travel to Carbon offset our travels

  • Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?

    Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.

  • What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?

    Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty. Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers. Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists. Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.

  • Who do your tours cater for?

    Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.

  • I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset?

    Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more. If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit

Reviews of this operator

Jeff Rehn  

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass


A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass. Considering the country is just opening up to tourism everything went very well - flights, trips, transfers, guides and accommodation - thank you CC - highly recommended

Pauline Mavis Rusby  

We were kept safe at all times.


We were kept safe at all times. When unexpected hurdles appeared they were handled without fuss. Our tour was informative, picturesque and comfortable.

Tina Watts-Seale  

Family holiday to Vietnam


We booked a family holiday to Vietnam with Crooked Compass and it was perfect. The booking process was easy and Lisa took all of our requests on board so that the trip was exactly what we wanted. All flights, transfers, accommodations, guides and activities were fantastic, with great communication throughout the whole trip. Would highly recommend, we will be booking again soon!


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  • Low Deposit

    Crooked Compass requires a minimum deposit of 20% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of crooked compass charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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