Southern Ethiopia Explorer
Generation Pole, Konso village (ETO)  
Grain storage structure in Aari village near Jinka (Derek)  
Coffee break at Mago National Park (Derek)  
Hamar man about to go bull-jumping (Derek, 2016)  
4WD vehicle on road at Mago National Park (Derek)  
Hamar girls near Turmi (ETO)  
Arbore woman portrait  
Arbore boy  
'Desert rose' near Buska Lodge  
Termite mound near Turmi (Derek)  
Beehives in Acacia, Nech Sar National Park  
This party had great fun on their Lake Chamo boat trip  
Konso woman (ETO)  
Mursi woman portrait  
Long may the Omo's ethnolinguistic mosaic remain as it still is  
Mursi men  
Tsemay woman portrait  
The 'New York' formations in Konso (ETO)  
Mursi women near Jinka (Derek)  
Karo people close to Omo River  
Hamar 'maza' decorating each-other before a bull-jumping event (Derek)  
8 day tour
Prices from

Tour Highlights

  • Get to know the Mursi, Hamar and Karo people around Jinka and Turmi
  • Chance to attend a Hamar Bull-jumping ceremony (June - September)
  • Spend time in the remarkable Konso area
  • Visit little-known Nech'Sar and Mago National Parks
  • Great traditional food and the world's best coffee!
I'm enquiring about: Southern Ethiopia Explorer

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I'm enquiring about: Southern Ethiopia Explorer

Southern Ethiopia Explorer


This sample itinerary is ideal for those who wish to get to know the remarkable people living in South Omo and Konso. Now that Ethiopian Airlines operates domestic flights to Jinka, it makes travel to this wonderful region so much more straightforward. We recommend a one-way flight to Arba Minch first, where you can visit the Dorze people; take a boat trip on Lake Chamo (Nech' Sar National Park) and continue to Konso to overnight there. The Konso landscapes and people are quite distinctive - it is worth seeing a village here. Continue to Jinka, near where you visit a village of the Mursi tribe and can make a coffee stop in scenic Mago National Park. Not too far away, you then spend time in Turmi, which is the ideal base from where to visit the Hamar and Karo tribes. Here you'll have the opportunity to see first hand the Omo River and to understand the fragile situation in which the wonderful people of this region find themselves in today.  After having visited Turmi, transfer to Jinka airport to catch a flight back to Addis Ababa. 

The trip can be done as an add-on to a northern Historical circuit and/or to the wildlife hotspots of Bale and Simien Mountain National Parks - contact us to discuss travel options and ideas. 

Day 1
London Heathrow - Addis Ababa
Check in at London Heathrow for the overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa. In Ethiopian Airlines' comfortable Dreamliner aircrafts, flight duration is now less than 8 hours.
Day 2
Day 2
Welcome to Addis Ababa
You will be welcomed on arrival in Addis Ababa and transferred to the comfortable Jupiter International Hotel in Kazanchis. It is a short drive from the airport. Relax at your hotel for the balance of the morning. Your guide and driver will meet you after lunch to take you on a guided tour of the capital city including Mt Entoto. Overnight at Golden Tulip with breakfast included. Treat yourself to a coffee - you'll be sure to savour some of the best to be found anywhere in the world!
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
Day 3
Day 3
Addis Ababa - Arba Minch (flight) and drive to Konso
You will be collected from the hotel and transferred to Bole airport to check in for the quick flight to Arba Minch, a 'gateway' to much of Southern Ethiopia. On arrival you will be met by your dedicated, professional guide and driver. Depart on the easy drive to Karat-Konso, the centre of the Konso people. (Time allowing, you could visit a Dorze village as this is about an hour's drive from Arba Minch).. As you approach Karat- Konso, note the terraced hills which with 11 villages, were declared one of the country's UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites. Stay overnight in Kanta Lodge, which has a delightful terrace and an excellent restaurant. All produce is locally sourced, the property having its own livestock, poultry, vegetable garden and fruit orchard.
Accommodation: Kanta Lodge
Day 4
Day 4
Karat-Konso - Jinka
You will be taken to various sites of interest in the area today. The fortified Konso villages or paleta are very interesting, somewhat reminiscent of Mali's Dogon people. You may also be taken to see some 'waka', which are carvings placed on graves. Continue towards Jinka with a relaxed lunch stop or coffee break in the beautiful and little-known Mago National Park, where you'll see plenty of 'indicators' of a thriving and healthy ecosystem - there are (critically endangered) White-backed vultures, a myriad other birds and clouds of butterflies in evidence. You can then visit a village of the Aari people.. Arrive in Jinka during the latter part of the afternoon. Here you can relax at Eco Omo Lodge and enjoy dinner in the restaurant.
Accommodation: Eco Omo Safari Lodge
Day 5
Day 5
Jinka to Turmi
After breakfast, visit the Omo Valley Cultural Museum. You will then collect your local guide, who will accompany you to a village of the iconic Mursi tribe. Here you may take some photos - your guide will assist you with regards to ensuring you have the appropriate amount of Birr ready in order to settle the photographic fees with the villagers - and explore the village with your guides, who will give you an insight into these very interesting people, whose numbers are now at most 10,000. Continue to the outback town of Turmi, home of the Hamar people. Here you stay for 2 nights in Buska Lodge.
Accommodation: Buska Lodge
Day 6
Day 6
Turmi and surrounds
Various activities are possible today: you may visit a village of one of the most interesting tribes of Ethiopia, the Hamar. Then drive to the bank of the Omo River, to a village of the Karo, who are best known for their body painting. Once again, your guides will take good care of you and will give an insight into the interesting cultures of these people. They will also assist you so that you are prepared with the appropriate amounts of Birr to settle photographic charges with the villagers. If you are fortunate, your visit may coincide with a Hamar Bull-jumping ceremony. These are conducted when a young man decides he is ready to become an adult. In order to mark the transition, he has to jump 4 times over a line of cattle, at an enormous festival held in a remote location in the harsh countryside. The Hamar actually welcome tourists or 'faranji' to these events, as the family has to pay for food and drink, for anything up to 300 or so guests, so the earnings from tourist fees do make a contribution towards these often hefty costs.
Accommodation: Buska Lodge
Day 7
Day 7
Turmi - Jinka (drive) and fly to Addis Ababa
Depart after breakfast at Buska Lodge, you will be transferred by road to Jinka airport to catch the lunchtime Ethiopian Airlines flight back to Addis Ababa. (Flights daily except Mondays and Saturdays). On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Golden Tulip where you have the use of a day/evening room. You will be taken for dinner to a restaurant like Habasha-2000 which has superb traditional cuisine. Late evening transfer back to Bole airport for the Ethiopian Airlines check in.
Day 8
Departure (reluctantly)
Fly back to London Heathrow or Manchester on Ethiopian Airlines, arriving home in the early morning.

Pricing Information & Dates

8 day tour, from £2850 per person
Price Includes
* Return international Ethiopian Airlines flights from London Heathrow to Addis Ababa (economy class seating)
* Domestic Ethiopian Airlines flight from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa (economy class seating)
* Airport taxes
* Airport facilitation
* All private transfers and private transportation in comfortable, air-conditioned 4WD vehicle
* Services of experienced, professional English-speaking guide and of driver throughout
* Services of local guides at all places of interest
* Park permits and local guide fees
* Excursions and activities as outlined
* Accommodation as stated based on twin or double room occupancy, with all meals
* Bottled mineral water in vehicle and 1 complementary bottle per day at lodges and hotels
Price Excludes
* Tipping
* Photographic fees at tribal villages
* Optional Bull-jumping ceremony fee (500 Birr = US$ 22 per person currently; to be paid in cash on site)
* Drinks other than mineral water as mentioned above.
* Personal items (phone calls, travel insurance, laundry)
Price Notes
Prices based on low season airfare (best buy fare) so are subject to availability.


Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   Omo (South Omo and Konso)
  3.   The Ethiopian Rift Valley

Accommodation on this Tour

Buska Lodge
Buska Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
This comfortable, no-frills lodge is set in spacious grounds on the bank of the (normally dry) Kaske River near the tiny outback town of Turmi, a centre of the Hamar people. The 20 Tukul-styled rooms are well airy, spacious and have en-suite bathrooms.
Eco Omo Safari Lodge
Eco Omo Safari Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
Small lodge with en-suite tented rooms, on the outskirts of remote Jinka and near the Neri River.
Golden Tulip
Golden Tulip
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Golden Tulip Very conveniently located just 1 kilometer from Bole International Airport, this comfortable, internatonal, tourist-class hotel (part of the Louvre group) is a perfect base for those who......
Kanta Lodge
Kanta Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
Kanta Lodge For visitors who wish to spend some time exploring the remarkable Konso region during their holiday to Ethiopia, our accommodation of choice is Kanta Lodge.28 round bungalows or......

Image Gallery


Hello Derek 

Thanks very much indeed to you and Rainbow for all the help, advice and organisation for our recent trip.  I am sure you will want feedback and perhaps you want an online survey, but I just wanted to say it really was the trip of a lifetime, and we had an extraordinary time, thanks to the guides, especially Belete Beleke, who says that he knows you, and we thought he was extremely special: a great spotter of incredible birdlife, animals and plants too.  Very intelligent, he adapted our itinerary very slightly so that we should not be exhausted.

However, something you may not have caught up with yet - at Erta Ale, we discovered that the Afar have closed a significant portion of the new road you mentioned  - we estimated an approx 3km hike up the gravel track that a 4x4 would just have made,  before reaching the "footpath" scramble to the camp at the top - but at least we did make it, if somewhat slowly, we realised we would never have done it from the previous camp!  Apparently the Afar were losing too much money through people not hiring camels to take their gear to the top camp!  They seem adroit at collecting cash for all kinds of extras, even ones already paid for.  

We really did have a wonderful trip.  Thank you again, 

With very best wishes,



Hi Derek

I just want to endorse everything Rosie says below but especially to praise Belete Bekele - he really was exemplary. 

Big thanks for your and Rainbow’s help and advice - it was an unforgettable trip. 

Very best wishes






Ms Hoare and Ms Anders
November 25, 2019

Dear Derek,


We have just returned to Australia after our almost 4 weeks in Ethiopia. 

Our trip could be divided in 2 – the Southern and Northern component.

We felt the driver (Robi) and the escort Younis for the southern 2 weeks were excellent. Knowledgeable and attentive. We felt very comfortable with the driving particularly in difficult conditions.  They both enhanced the experience.

The northern component had Sayed as the escort. Whilst he was good, he was not have the same skills or knowledge of Younis so by comparison he suffered a little. We were satisfied with his services.

We have no hitches with accommodation and recognised that what was provided was “best available” or very close to it.

Overall, we were more than happy with the arrangements put in place by Rainbow.  We were glad we just didn’t “do” the classic tourist northern circuit.

The south was, for us the highlight. The Bale Mountains were truly memorable, we saw at extremely close range a number of wolves. Whilst we didn’t see lions, we heard them on consecutive evenings – they were not that far away.  Lake Langano was excellent.

The Omo Valley was fascinating and we felt privileged to see a number of the tribes and their way of life (one that is no doubt changing).  In the north we were captivated by the Simeons – we enjoyed time sitting with a group of researchers watching the Geladas and were fortunate to have a small group Wahlia Ibex pass very close to where we were standing.

Timket was a once in a lifetime experience. Just extraordinary.

We left Ethiopia feeling that we had gained a greater appreciation of the country, its people and the inherent issues facing the country. More so, than could ever be gained by the groups whizzing around in groups of 10-12 in mini buses.

Thank you for organising an excellent trip.


Mr and Mrs Rae
January 26, 2019

Service from Rainbow Tours: excellent

Knowledge of travel specialist: excellent

Overall level of satisfaction: excellent.

In the Omo Valley and Gondar our guides were excellent.

Ole Sereni Hotel: very helpful, lovely people.

Jupiter International Hotel: excellent 

Buska Lodge, Turmi: comfort and service excellent; location, meals and facilities good. Nothing too much trouble; a nice place to stay.

Eco Omo Lodge, Jinka: average. We took earplugs as advised but they could not cope with the noise of the all night party from the village especially the drums, and then the chanting from 03h30 am. 

Kanta Lodge, Konso: comfort, service and location: good. Meals and facilities average. 

Haile Resort, Hawassa: Excellent in all respects. Beautiful hotel.

Goha Hotel, Gondar: good in all respects. 

Lalibela Lodge: cmofort and location good; service, meals and facilities average. 

Sabean International Hotel, Axum: comfort: good; service excellent; location and meals good. No not water in our basin so they found Stephen a spare room in which to shave, lol. 

Speke's Camp, Kenya: a great camp for a safari; very well organised; amazing food; very clean and lovely staff. Very good knowledge of the wildlife on the game drives, 

A very enjoyable holiday. Just a few minor blips but overall a very well organised trip. Thank you.




Mr and Mrs Shearing
January 25, 2019
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