Omo Valley cultural holiday in Ethiopia
Description of Omo Valley cultural holiday in Ethiopia
This two week group tour of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia focuses on the rich diversity of the cultural groups living within the region that have long retained tribal customs and traditions whilst staving off the trappings of the modern world.
Your group (no more than 12 people) will be invited into the villages of the Mursi, Karo, Hamer and Konso tribes in the company of a local guide so as to find out more about the lifestyles and cultural heritage of the Omo Valley as well as how it differs and compares to other areas of Ethiopia.
Visiting local market places, meeting tribal members and listening to the knowledgeable tales of your guide enables travellers to expand their Ethiopian horizons and tap into the history of the Omo Valley on a two week adventure that’s often considered more of a privilege than simply a cultural holiday.
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1 Reviews of Omo Valley cultural holiday in Ethiopia
Reviewed on 03 Nov 2013 by Joan Thomas
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Bull jumping ceremony in Hammar village
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Beware of poor accommodation in Yabello and Wando Genet
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
I enjoyed learning about the customs and village life
Read the operator's response here:
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that the client experience will be enhanced. We try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success. Working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an on-going relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved. Our travellers are usually only accompanied by locally based staff and guides. We do not send UK or other non-local staff to escort our clients unless absolutely unavoidable.
We only run tours with small group sizes, averaging just 6 clients. Our small groups aim to minimise the impact on the environment and local communities.
We are pleased that the client enjoyed the experiences of learning about the traditions and customs of village life which is the main aim of this tour. We feel that the problems with the accommodation have been addressed.
PlanetThis tour travels through some of the most remote regions in the world, away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and when camping we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues.
When camping we are careful to use only appropriate spots that will not have any detrimental effect upon the surrounding environment, rather than necessarily camping in the most picturesque places.
PeopleWhile visiting villages in the Omo Valley, we are careful only to stop at villages that we know will welcome visitors, and negotiate with tribal elders to ensure that our visit will be received sensitively. At each village we employ a local guide, providing employment and income for isolated communities which often do not have many opportunities to earn money.
Our leaders and local guides will carefully explain the customs and cultures of the various groups visited to ensure that our travellers are able to behave sensitively towards fragile communities, and help them gain from tourism while not being affected by some of its more negative aspects. By visiting these communities, many of whom live outside the cash based economy, you are able to contribute to their ability to trade with mainstream society and gain some of the associated benefits. These communities are often looked upon as backward, and as something to be assimilated into society. It is hoped that by increasing interest from tourism less enlightened local administrators will realise the intrinsic value of their cultural diversity.
Travellers also have the opportunity to support local communities by purchasing local handicrafts.
In our pre-departure information we include guidelines about photography. This is particularly relevant in the Omo Valley where the tribal groups are incredibly photogenic, although traditionally quite wary of visitors. Although many people are happy to be photographed, others are not, and we emphasise to our travellers the importance of respecting people’s wishes.
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis, getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures - usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come. This is especially pertinent in the Omo Valley where tribal cultures are under much pressure from both tourism and mainstream Ethiopian culture.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.