This trip departs every Saturday between July and the end of March
Small group cultural tours
These tours are unique in that they bring you into contact with some of the world’s most fascinating cultures in iconic locations, where those people actually deliver the experience or are central to your trip. You will see a destination through the eyes of the local people and you will stay with them for part of the trip in traditional and comfortable accommodation to get to know them and to learn about their ways and beliefs. Itineraries are pre-planned and they may vary slightly according to various things, but they will always give you the best experience possible. The mix of genuine contact with a culture, exciting and traditional activities, iconic locations and traditional and contemporary accommodation will leave you refreshed, inspired and informed –with some beautiful memories and maybe some new contacts too!
Responsible tourism: Luxury cultural tour of Southern Ethiopia
The trip involves visits to Lake Abiata - Shalla National Park and Mago National Park and will contribute fees to the environmental work going on in these Parks. We also try to accommodate visitors in environmentally aware places and a good example of this is Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge, Organic Restaurant and Permaculture Gardens which combines an Eco-Lodge, Restaurant, Farm and Permaculture design training centre. It also offers a series of Cultural Immersion Programs, giving an in depth view of the fascinating local Konso culture through lectures, workshops, community based activities and trekking trails, all led by Konso community members.
Buska Lodge is an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers the best accommodation and meal service in this region. It overlooks the plains of Buska Mountain and has been constructed to blend beautifully in to the natural surroundings. Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hamer community, offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley. By supporting those accommodation providers who have ecologically strong policies, we hope to encourage others to adopt these practices.
Konso people are known for their intricately terraced hillsides, which are recognized and prized by UNESCO. These visits will allow visitors to contribute to the maintenance and preservation of these valuable sites. We work with our Ethiopian partner to minimise the impact of the use of vehicles, which is unavoidable due to he long distances involved. The Ethiopian Government has strict guidelines for the use of vehicles by licenced operators, which must not be more than 2 years old and must be regularly maintained to ensure that their emissions are acceptable. Our travelers will receive a Responsible Traveler Charter or Code of Conduct within their trip pack.
Our partner in Ethiopia delivering this programme is wholly owned by Ethiopian Nationals and employs local people. It then works with individual guides or hosts in the tribal villages, who can give local knowledge and be the contact between the visitor and the local people.
This experience visits the tribes of Southern Ethiopia – the Hamer, Konso, Karo, Mursi – and gives the opportunity of buying some local produce in recognised markets which will support their livelihoods. We ensure that this is done in an ethical way to provide a useful source of income for the people, without introducing any detrimental influence of over commercialisation.
These experiences are designed to offer greater cross cultural understanding between the local culture and the visitor, by promoting genuine contact within an enjoyable vacation experience. We are working with our local partner to deliver a unique set of enjoyable and inspiring cultural insights for the visitor. We hope you will come home refreshed, inspired and with memories and a greater understanding of another culture that may even have an influence on your way of living back home.
This experience is an insight into the people of the Omo Valley and their culture which has been a source of fascination for travelers for many years. The Hammar or Hamer, who are well known for their sense of elegance, are the major ethnic group in the region. The Surma and Mursi women, who wear lip plates by piercing their lower lip have been compelling tourists to travel to their land for many years. The programme allows you to meet these people with a guide and spend time with them to understand their ways and beliefs.
We have not identified a local charity to support yet so we will donate a proportion of the income we receive to an International charity of choice, which at this time is Wateraid.