A spectacular and breathless immersion in culture, ethnography and wilderness of south-central Ethiopia. The Konso, Arbore, Karo, Hamar, Daasanach, Mursi, Dorze people, the Ethiopian wolf, the Gelada, the mountain Nyala, the Swayne’s Hartebeest and all the incredible mountain endemisms: a unique place on Earth, a trip you will never forget.
- The Semien Mountains – the rooftop of Africa, a spectacular mountain system, the largest continuous area of its elevation in the continent and a UNESCO Heritage Site
- The Bale Mountains – a cradle of stunning endemisms, such the Ethiopian wolf, the mountain Nyala, and the Bale Monkey
- The Rift valley, the lakes and the Omo Valley – the very roots of our evolution
- The Konso, Arbore, Karo, Hamar, Daasanach, Mursi, Dorze people – labyrinthine villages, steles of Waga, Evangadi dances, “bull jump” ceremony and painted bodies
- The Ethiopian Wolf – the most endangered canid on Earth, a specialist predator roaming the afroalpine highlands
- The other protagonists – The mountain Nyala, the Swayne’s Hartebeest, The Bale Monkey, the Gelada, The Semien Ibex, the Menelik Bushbuck and the stunning avifauna of eastern Africa
Extremely dependent on the area considered. While The Somali Region and the Danakil Depression in the Afar Region have a hot, sunny and dry climate producing fully desert or semi-desert conditions, the majority of Ethiopia falls above 1200m above sea level, where climate is afroalpine with temperature ranging from 4 to 26°C annually and featuring three distinct seasons: winter, the cold season (October-February), the dry season (March-June) and the rainy season (June-September).
Between the valley of the Upper Nile and Ethiopia’s border with Sudan and South Sudan is a region of elevated plateaus from which rise the various tablelands and mountains that constitute the Ethiopian Highlands, one of the most articulated mountain system of Africa. Characteristic of the country are the enormous fissures which divide it, formed over time by the erosive action of water. They are the valleys of the rivers, which rising on the uplands or mountain sides, have cut their way to the surrounding lowlands. One result of the action of the water has been the formation of numerous isolated flat-topped hills or small plateaus, known as ambas, with nearly perpendicular sides. The Rift Valley separates the Bale Mountain system from the other plateaus. The dramatic altitudinal range causes an articulated ecosystem mosaic , ranging from the tropical to the alpine in short space. Three different ecoregions can be found on the plateaus, distinguished by elevation: the Ethiopian montane forests lie between 1,100 and 1,800 meters’ elevation, above the lowland grasslands and savannas, the Ethiopian montane grasslands and woodlands is the largest of the highland ecoregions, occupying the area between 1,800 and 3,000 meters’ elevation, while remaining woodland in the drier areas contains much endemic flora and primarily consists of Podocarpus conifers and Juniperus procera, often with Hagenia abyssinica.
Biodiversity: the plateaus harbour a large array of endemisms and endangered species. Among these, worth to mention are the Semien Ibex (Capra walie), the Gelada (Theropithecus gelada), the mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni), the ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis) the Bale Monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) and the Menelik Bushbuck(Tragelaphus scriptus meneliki). Other relevant mammals of the plateaus are the spotted hyena, the leopard, the guereza, the lion and the wild dog. Of great relevance is the rodent community, exclusive prey of the ethiopian Wolf. The endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest has its stronghold in the Oromia region (Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary). The avifauna is among the richest in Africa, featuring more than 863 species (39% of the african avifauna).
Cultural Heritage: It is very hard to determine the exact number of Ethiopian ethnic groups. Some are very small, with only a few hundred people, while others have populations in the millions. Many groups are nomadic and some do not have much if any contact with the rest of the world. They live their traditional lifestyle and seem to be content to stay away from the world at large. Among the most conservative people are the animist Mursi, in the south of the country, famous for their body decorations. Another southern Ethiopia tribe is the Hamar. Hamar men do a bull jumping ceremony as a coming-of-age rite. Part of this ceremony includes whipping the backs of women and the women are proud of the scars left by the whip. Both men and women engage in body modification by using thorns to scar the skin. Other ethnic groups are the Konso, Arbore, Karo, Hamar, Daasanach, Dorze
Disclaimer 1: Please note this is an indicative and standard itinerary. Dates, activities and the succession and length of each part of the itinerary may change each year, and can be rearranged with the participants. Upon request by the participants, we will send the definitive and detailed programme to be evaluated at least some weeks prior to the confirmation deadline.
Disclaimer 2: We will generally honor the posted prices, but these are subject to change at any time due to action or decisions made by local authorities. In such situations, and in the hope that will not happen, we will send all the ministries official communications to all participants, free from ambiguity and in total transparency. We reserve the right to correct the final price to the fullest extent permitted by law.