Southern Cultural Tour
Experience the Arts of Southern Ethiopia
The southern part of Ethiopia is called a Mosaic of Culture due to the fact that different ethnic groups are found at a relatively small distances. As much as they have their own livelihood peculiar to their area, they also have common cultural elements they share. In this tour, you will be able to discover some of the many ethnic groups namely Sidama, Dorze, Gamo, and Konso. Of these, the Konsos are the ones whose city, Konso, is registered as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Day 1Addis to Yirgalem. Overnight Aregash Eco Lodge
Overnight at Aregash Eco-Lodge established by the families of the lady named Aregash. They serve you all the vegetables from their backyard. You will enjoy the greenery of the compound and the surrounding where you will find different types of vegetation and fruits like Avocado, coffee plantation and more. The rooms are circular and built from bamboo, the same as the local traditional houses.
Day 2Yirgalem to Dorze. Overnight Dorze Eco Lodge
Visit the very green Sidama village with hiking and have a traditional coffee ceremony in one of the households. Then drive to Dorze for overnight at Dorze Eco-Lodge that is owned by one of the locals and is situated in a highly elevated Guge Mountain chain with a magnificent breath-taking wider view of the Great Rift Valley lakes Abaya and Chamo. The area gets rain two-third of the year. The igloo shaped traditional houses are built from bamboo and have the face of an elephant. Locals have it that the design is in such a way for the memory of the elephants that used to live in the area many years ago and fled because of hunting. Along the way we may stop for birding and also at a road side basketry market where you find shopping bags, huts, and wall and table decorations. All are hand-woven by the locals. Taking an item as souvenir from this area is one way of supporting the community and the art of traditional basketry in general.
Day 3Dorze to Konso. Overnight Kanta Lodge
Hike around the village and one of the local will host you in their compound and visit their way of living. Every household has a green backyard where the Dorze are known for two things – False banana tradition and cotton weaving. Here you will see and attempt to spin a cotton and bake the ‘KOCHO’ – a thick bread like product of the stem of a false banana. You will also enjoy the whole process of fermentation of the false banana and related activities thereby understand how their life is tied with this plant.
You will end up your visit with a traditional dancing of the Dorze which you will be invited to take part and be one of them. Upon departure, you may enjoy the different styles of colorful scarves the locals sell and have a moment to decide which one to take home for souvenirs to friends and/or relatives or yourselves.
Drive to Konso, enjoying the view of the southern and last two rift valley lakes – Abaya and Chamo. Konsos are hardworking people and are known to for their terracing farming and using small plot of land for different edible plants. For this they are awarded by FAO for keeping the ecosystem by manual farming. Here you will visit a village called Gamole which is a maze to walk inside. You will visit the unique style of their traditional houses and the elements in the compound, the community houses where the youth sleeps and reaches out to the villagers in case of an emergency, a generation pole where a you find poles tied together which also allows you to understand how old the village is by counting the number of poles and multiply them by 18 which is believed to be one generation age and a pole is erected and tied with the other existing ones every 18 years. Overnight Kanta Lodge – where you get served what’s bought from the local suppliers and their backyard production.
Day 4Drive Konso to Langano
Drive to Langano – one of the rift valley lakes and the only one free from bilharzia where you can swim in – for overnight at Sabana beach resort. Along the way you will have a stop at Abijata-Shalla National Park and visit the Thomson Gazelles, Warthogs, and different bird species, and the ostrich farm.
Day 5Tiya visit and evening departure
Drive back to Addis. En route, you will visit one of the World Heritage Sites of Ethiopia registered by UNESCO, the Tiya Stalae field - one of the several megalithic sites in Ethiopia. After a farewell dinner at one of the traditional restaurants with live music and cultural dance performances, you will be given a transfer to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for your international flight.
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