A trip to southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is to discover the Africa of old, of warrior tribes and pastoralists, or body adornments and blood-drinking hunters. But to go beyond the tourist shows, take a cultural tour in the highlands, where life carries on regardless of the visitors – in the weekly markets, the well-tended subsistence farms, the peaceful hillside villages and in the mountain wildernesses, herding sheep and goats. For a real cultural immersion, book a night in a community tukul
in Konso or Dorze – a traditional thatched hut located within a village, where members of the community will look after you. Alternatively, trek the highlands with a local guide, who will reveal the secrets not just of the landscape and wildlife – but of the people’s relationship with this land, the local folklore and the system of community land management which has preserved this wild region and its endemic wildlife for centuries.
Don’t miss an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, with beans freshly roasted over hot coals then hand-ground and brewed in a ceramic jebena
pot. The bean’s energising properties are said to have been discovered centuries ago in Ethiopia, so this is as traditional as coffee gets.