Important Please Note

For departures after 26 January 2014 this trip has variations.
Please speak to the sales team for further details.

Lost Tribes of Ethiopia

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Imaginative Traveller.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


What's Included

An experienced English-speaking local leader, accommodation, meals, transportation, and sightseeing excursions as per itinerary, transfer to hotel on arrival, entrance fees

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals


  • 4WD vehicle
  • Boat
  • Minibus
  • On foot


  • 4 nights Camping
  • 9 nights Hotel


  • 13 breakfasts
  • 9 lunches
  • 11 dinners




  • Visa costs
  • Border Taxes
  • Drinks, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature.
  • International flights
  • Departure transfers
  • Meals other than those listed

Basic equipment such as sleeping mats will be provided whilst camping, but you will need to bring your own sleep-sheet and sleeping bag. Sleeping bags can be hired locally for around US$5, however the quality of the sleeping bags vary and good quality sleeping bags cannot be guaranteed. As we are camping in some of Ethiopia’s most remote regions, please be prepared for very basic washing/toilet facilities. Our tour leader will carry a comprehensive medical kit throughout the duration of the trek.


Visas and Permits


Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders currently require a visa for Ethiopia. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. Tourist Visas may be granted for visits of up to one month, three months, or six months. The period of the visa begins on the date of issue, so please ensure the visa is valid from the date of issue until the final date of departure from Ethiopia. If you have visited Ethiopia in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.

Government travel advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

U.S. Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.


Every Imaginative traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.


Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.


Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory for travel to Ethiopia.

Yellow Fever: These days the only compulsory vaccine is for yellow fever.  It should be done at least 10 days before travel and must be recorded in an official certificate book. You may need to show this certificate book when entering the destination, and also to immigration/customs on returning to your home country. 

Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in many less-developed tropical areas in Africa and Latin America. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. Where malaria is considered prevalent in mountainous regions we prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.


We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller's cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.


None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. If you are in any doubt contact your doctor for advice.


General Packing List

A soft sided bag is required on this tour. No suitcases allowed.

Please refer to the specific country section for climate details. When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Laundry facilities are available at your joining & end hotel.

Below is a general list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

  • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
  • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
  • Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
  • Money belt and small padlocks
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions
  • Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
  • 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phrase book
  • Warm clothes/fleece - when travelling in cooler climates
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
  • Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
  • Binoculars




The Ethiopian birr is divided into 100 cents

Exchange rates

Refer to for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money


Bringing cash is the best option and the best currency to carry is US dollars. Most hotels will accept payment in US dollar cash, but religious sites and museums will only accept Ethiopian birr. Of course you must take the usual precautions that come with carrying cash. Traveller's cheques are not recommended as they are very hard and sometimes impossible to cash. Credit cards are useful for large purchase within Addis Ababa, but outside of the big cities they are not widely accepted. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. ATMs are also available in most main cities.

Personal Expenses


You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals/drinks not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are drinking water approx. US$1-2 per 1.5 litre bottle, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement will be made later by your insurance company. This is a situation where having a credit card can be useful.

Airport Taxes


US$20 dollars is charged for international flights departing from Ethiopia. This is now generally included in the cost of the international airline ticket.


Although tipping is not compulsory, it is nonetheless a normal part of African life and is considered appropriate if you are happy with the service that you have received. Service industry wages in Africa are minimal and staff rely on tips to supplement their wages. Tipping of all service staff is customary and the only time tips are not given are when the service has been exceptionally poor. At restaurants, approximately 10% of the bill is standard (unless such amount is already included as a service charge). For taxi drivers and porters at airports, a tip of about US$1 is sufficient.

Tips are best given in local currencies and the US dollar amounts quoted are just given as a guide. While on tour or on safari, we suggest the following amounts as a guideline for tipping from each passenger: US$2-US$3 a day for the cook on tour (if applicable), US$1 a day for any additional guides, US$1 a day for general hotel or camp/lodge staff (normally there is a box centrally located for this in the foyer or reception) and US$1 for hotel/lodge porters per couple of bags.

Your tour leader works hard to ensure you have a great trip, so please don’t hold back if you feel they have earned a tip for their efforts. If you would like to reward your crew for their services, you can choose to do so individually or make a group presentation at the end of the tour. An appropriate tip from each participant is the local equivalent of about US$4-US$5 per person per day for each staff member. This amount is intended as a guideline only and tipping is always at the discretion of the individual.


On arrival

Arrival transfers are included in most destinations for all travellers arriving on Day 1, and for some travellers on the above style of tours arriving before Day 1, provided the extra nights accommodation are booked with us.

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room will be available from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning, you may have to wait until a room becomes available. Alternatively, you can book one night’s ‘pre-tour accommodation’ which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Please refer to the ‘Additional Services’ panel on the pricing page of our brochure. Generally the check-out times for hotels is 10am. Most hotels have secure left-luggage facilities available to store your luggage until you need to depart.

Photo etiquette

If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks, and police stations).

Flexibility and patience

Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.


Please note there are no laundry services available whilst camping.



Lost Tribes of Ethiopia

Trip Length

Trip Code

14 days



Maximum Passengers

15 people


Countries Visited



Start City

End City

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Travel time: From Addis Ababa Airport to Hotel - Approximately 30 minutes

Accommodation: Global Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa


  • On arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. You will be taken on an afternoon city tour which includes the Ethnographic Museum and St George Church.
  • Addis Ababa is a bustling city, dotted with Italian architecture, interesting churches and friendly inhabitants. It is also a city of immense contrasts – the Addis Sheraton, with its ‘singing fountain’ is one of the most luxurious in all of Africa, yet you only need to travel a few streets away to find yourself among busy markets, dirt roads and the odd goat or two wandering the streets.
  • The city is relatively new– established by the Emperor Menelik II in 1887, and at 2,400m has the distinction of being the third highest capital in the world. Although Ethiopia was the only African nation never to be colonised, parts of it, including Addis, were briefly occupied by the Italians in the twentieth century, and in many parts of the city their legacy lives on in the form of old art deco buildings and coffee shops, particularly in the area known as the Piazza.
  • Addis can seem daunting at times, but even the briefest foray into the busy streets can reveal interesting new insights.

Day 2-3: Bale Mountain National Park

Travel time: Approximately 8 hours driving on Day 2; game drive times may vary

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Accommodation: Wabi Shebele Hotel or similar, Awasa


  • This morning you will depart Addis Ababa for your next stop - the Bale Mountains. On the way you'll stop off at Dinsho, headquarters of the National Park for some game viewing before reaching the lodge in the afternoon.
  • Enjoy a full day game drive to the plateau of the Bale Mountains on Day 3, as well as the opportunity to get out and stretch your legs on a nature walk in the Harenna Forest.
  • More than any other park in Ethiopia, the Bale Mountains National Park is known for its wildlife. There are over 60 mammal species and 260 bird species within the park, including dozens of endemic species.


Day 4: Arba Minch

Travel time: Approximately 9 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Paradise Hotel or similar, Arbaminch


  • Today you will start by travelling to the south of Ethiopia, a region noted for its enormous variety of peoples and cultures. Many of these populations are nomadic or semi-nomadic and, far from the influence of the modern world, their ancient traditions have remained intact. Set in dramatic surroundings, Arba Minch is a small southern Ethiopian town lying at an altitude of 1,300m above sea level, on a cliff overlooking Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya. To the west, mountains form a backdrop rising to 4,000m. Although there's not much to do in town, it is the gateway to Nechisar National Park.
  • Stop along the way to visit the local villages, before arriving at your hotel in the early evening.


Day 5: Nechisar National Park

Travel time: Approximately 2-3 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Paradise Hotel or similar, Arbaminch


  • With some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa, Nechisar National Park lies at the heart of the Rift Valley, covering Lakes Chamo and Abaya and the mountainous causeway between them known as the 'Bridge of God'.
  • The Nechisar Plain offers the best game viewing, with Burchellis zebra, gazelle and kudu. Lions are also found in the park but are rarely seen. Waterbuck are found near the lake shore, and there are many smaller species of buck found in the forest areas.
  • Today you will visit Nechisar, to view the wide variety of wildlife and take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, inhabited by hippo and crocodile.


Day 6-7: Jinka

Travel time: Approxiamately 7-8 hours driving

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Accommodation: Jinka Resort Hotel or similar, Jinka


  • You will pass through the territories of several different tribes on your way to Jinka including the Dorze, who are famous for their beehive huts. Jinka is a small mountain town set apart from the country. It’s both remote and rustic, accentuated by the grass airstrip in the middle of town.
  • People come from across South Omo to visit the local markets, particularly Ari, Bana, Besheda and Besketo people. Probably the best known tribe in Ethiopia, the Mursi people are most famous for their practices of extending their lower lips with clay discs, and stick fighting. You will visit a Mursi village to learn more about this fascinating group.
  • When a Mursi woman reaches 20 years old, a slit is made beneath the lower lip and a clay plate inserted. Each year a larger plate is added, stretching the lower lip until it juts out so far that a 15cm plate can be worn and the woman can pull her lip right over her head. This is considered the height of attractiveness.
  • Mursi men do not escape entirely unscathed, as they take part in stick fights which in the past sometimes ended in the death of one of the participants. Decorated with white clay, they whack each other with 2 metre long poles. There are consolations; the winner is carried off by a group of eligible girls who then decide which one of them will marry him.


Day 8: Turmi

Travel time: Approximately 3 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Buska Lodge or similar, Turmi


  • Today you will visit a colourful local market and mingle with different tribes like the Karo, Hamer and Benna. There are many interesting handicrafts to be found too - don’t forget to bargain. Hopefully you will also be invited into a couple of homes. Dimeka and Turmi are the principal towns in Hamer country, with an impressive market on Saturday and Monday respectively, Hamer villagers make their way to it from miles around. You are likely to encounter several different tribes mingling together in the marketplace. A visit to one of the villages in the area is also rewarding; made entirely of mud, the small thatched huts are tidily arranged with very few outside influences to be seen, offering a glimpse into another way of life.
  • The highlight of the year in the Hamer calendar is the Bull Jumping Ceremony. This is the culmination of a three day initiation ceremony, where 15 bulls are lined up and the initiate has to jump onto each one, all the way down the line, before turning round and coming back the same way. The ceremony is usually held around December/January and August, right after the harvest season.


Day 9: Murulle

Travel time: Approximately 5 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Buska Lodge or similar, Turmi


  • We visit the Karo tribe, masters of body decoration, who use chalk to paint themselves. We will also visit the Hamer people, known for the remarkable hairstyles. Murulle (also spelled Murille and Murlie) lies on the banks of the Omo River, and is a popular base for exploring what is essentially a rugged area. There is a fair amount of wildlife in the area, and a good chance of seeing some form of antelope and possibly raptors overhead.
  • The two main tribes who live in the area ate the Karo and the Hamer, both of whom practise scarification and have elaborate hairstyles.
  • The highlight of the year in the Hamer calendar is the Bull Jumping Ceremony, the culmination of a 3 day initiation ceremony. 15 bulls are lined up, and the initiate must jump onto each one, all the way down the line, before turning around and coming back the same way.
  • The ceremony is usually in December/January and in August, right after the harvest season.


Day 10: Konso

Travel time: Approximately 7 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Kanta Lodge or similar, Konso


  • Today’s drive will offer spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding scenery including the terraced hills of Konso. Along the way, you may be lucky enough to see beisa oryx, dik-dik, and lesser kudu.
  • You'll visit Gersale Village Nursery and Konso village where the people are known for their colourful, traditional dress and the unusual engraved wooden statues or totems they use as grave markers. Today you will be able to pay a donation of $20USD to plant a tree at Gersale - this covers the planting of one tree including water and care for two years, and a commemorative donor name tag displayed in the nursery. Drought has put pressure on natural resources leading to deforestation, soil erosion and a loss of native wildlife.
  • All roads into South Omo pass through Konso, and this unprepossessing small town of 3000 inhabitants is a good base for exploring the hillside villages in the surrounding countryside. The Konso people themselves live in walled hilltop settlements with maze-like fences. There is a central communal building called a mora, the ground floor of which is used by the men and boys as a social area; women are excluded.
  • Carved wooden grave markers are a Konso tradition, with the deceased warrior's features enhanced by using teeth made from animal bones.


Day 11: Yabello

Travel time: Approximately 7.5 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Yabello Motel or similar, Dublock


  • Today you will take a very scenic drive to El Sod village. Here you will take a short hike to visit 'the house of salt', on the edge of a deep crater lake. Enroute we stop at Dubluk to visit the 'singing wells'. The singing wells are named as such thanks to the chanting that occurs as people form human chains to pass buckets from hand to hand to when collecting water from wells in the area. This activity only ever takes place in the dry season, when herders will travel for several hours to ensure their livestock are watered.
  • Some 20km further south of Dubluk, on the main road to Kenya, before turning left for another 15kms to El Sod - the site of Chew Bet, or the 'house of salt', a saline crater lake that lies at the bottom of a 200m deep crater. The lake is almost black in colour and has a vaguely sinister air as a result; villagers collect the salt formed by evaporation on a rota system to ensure levels are kept sustainable.


Day 12: Lake Awasa

Travel time: Approximately 7 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Wabi Shebele Hotel or similar, Awasa


  • Awasa is one of the largest cities in southern Ethiopia but manages to retain an easy-going feel, making it a pleasant place to spend some time. There is a bustling central market as well as a separate fish market. Tabor Hill offers good views across the lake, which is the main draw; it has an imposing mountainous backdrop with the lakeshore itself fringed with lush vegetation where monkeys are frequently seen.
  • Hippos are found out in the lake itself - they emerge onto the shore to graze after dark. The lake has excellent birdlife, with many species of waders present, as well as heron, stork, and pygmy geese. Fish eagles are also found here, their haunting cry often heard at dusk.
  • On the way to Awasa you will stop at Wenago to visit the Tutu Fella stelae field - an unusual collection of carved stones. You'll then continue to Lake Awasa, which is surrounded by mountains and populated by countless species of birds. On arrival, you will walk along the shores of the lake to see birds and possibly hippos.


Day 13: Addis Ababa

Travel time: Approximately 6 hours driving

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Global Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa


  • You will visit the fish market of Awasa before heading back to Addis Ababa today. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore or perhaps indulge in a bit of last minute shopping. You may like to enjoy an optional final dinner at a well known local Ethiopian restaurant. Here you will able to put your new-found dancing moves to the test by joining in with the traditional dancers.


Day 14: Addis Ababa

Meals included: 1 breakfast


  • You tour will come to an end this morning in Addis Ababa after breakfast.



The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!


Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller.Just go to for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

11 April 2014

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