Meskel Festival At Guraghe People And South Omo Tribes 9 days

  • Covid-19 Safe
  • Shared tour
  • Family friendly
  • Eco Aware

The main Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, the Demera, in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa. This takes place on the eve of Meskel and is based on the belief that Empress Eleni, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, had a revelation in a dream.

Day 1 Addis Ababa

Welcome to the Horn of Africa and the capital of ancient Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfer to the Monarch Hotel. There an overview of the program and itineraries will be given.

Addis Ababa is a city of contrasts - the diplomatic capital and fourth-largest city on the continent, where modern and ancient cultures come together. Located at the foot of the Entoto Mountains and dotted with Eucalyptus trees, the city is known as the 'New Flower' and hosts interesting historical and cultural sites worth visiting.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest places inhabited by human societies, dating back some 3000 years. For most of its history, it has been a monarchy, with its roots dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. Ethiopia is also considered to be the place from where homo sapiens migrated to the Middle East and beyond.

Places of interest include the National Museum, Ethnological Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral. View the old colonial buildings of the city, visit the attractions and head up Mount Entoto to look over the city and surrounds.

We will drive approximately 80 km including pickup.

Accommodation: Soaramaba Hotel or Similar

Day 2 Addis Ababa - Guraghe

Drive to Gurage: On the way, you will have a short but interesting day driving. We travel through the rolling fertile hills along the Butajira Road and then down to the acacia savanna on the bottom of the Rift Valley. We pass the historical sites of Melka Kunture, Adadi Maryam and Tiya.

Visit Gurage village; overnight in local house and village.

We will drive approximately 190km and 8 hours

Accommodation: Local Village House or Camping

Day 3 Guraghe

The Gurage tribe is a Christian tribe. The religious part of the festival will be held today. Around churches on a wider field, there will be a big bonfire with their traditional dance, this tradition comes from an old Roman Empire Queen who used torches and followed the direction of the smoke in search for the True Cross of Jesus Christ. Ethiopia still shelters in one of its monasteries the left piece of the Cross.

The men will be busy slaughtering oxes. Depending on the size of the family, neighbourhoods can share an ox or they can slaughter one for a family. So, men are in charge of the meat supply and women are charged with the butter and cooking the food.

The feast starts with the best food and drinks. In the evening around the villages will be a big bonfire with their traditional dance.

Overnight in a local house and village.

You may not need of transportation to visit the festival.

Accommodation: Local Village House or Camping

Day 4 Gurage - Arbaminch

Drive to Arbaminch; Arbaminch in Amharic means 40 springs. Admire very interesting views and the Wolayta people, their villages, culture, the cultivation of the false banana tree (from which roots they extract their traditional bread, the Kotcho).

You will stop for lunch at Wolayta Sodo. Here you will visit the Wolayta people museum.

You will continue driving to Dorze, 20km before Arba-Minch to visit the Dorze people and their village with the beehive-like tubules, their traditional weaving culture, the particular weaving works for which they are famous, strange houses, cultivation of sorghum, the false banana and more. You will enjoy attractive views over the Chamo and Abaya lakes with bright afternoon sunlight

We will drive approximately 220km and 6 hours

Accommodation: Mora Hight lodge or similar

Day 5 Lake Chamo - Jinka

In the morning we enjoy a boat trip on Lake Chamo - one of the best in Ethiopia. There is a chance to spot many hippos and large concentrations of giant crocodiles, also water birds around. The scenery is truly unforgettable.

Lake Chamo is the world's most spectacular concentration of Giant Nile Crocodiles which measure about 6 meters. The lake is about 32km long and provides a lush wetland habitat for many species of flora and fauna. In the afternoon we drive to Jinka.

We will drive approximately 250km and 6 hours

Accommodation: Jinka Resort or similar

Day 6 Mursi village - Jinka Museum - Turmi

Today our journey begins with an excursion to a Mursi village (approximately 66km from Jinka). The Mursi are one of the original ethnic groups in Ethiopia. They live in very low huts made of straw leaves. The women like to wear terracotta jewels on their enormously stretched lower lips and ear lobes. The men are famous for their hairstyle.

Then we visit the Jinka Museum, which contains the Southern Omo Research Centre's permanent cultural collection and is continuing research of the various ethnic groups and provides an in-depth overview into the people and traditions of the Omo Valley.

In the afternoon we drive to Turmi (120km), one of the largest towns in the region.

We will drive approximately 220km and 6 hours

Accommodation: Turmi Lodge or similar

Day 7 Karo - Hamer village

In the morning we begin with a memorable excursion to the Karo Tribe (approximately 63km drive), who are very famous for their body painting.

The Karo people use clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms, and legs. Karo men, as with neighbouring tribes, are also famous for their unique hairstyle.

In the afternoon we visit a Hamer village. The Hamer tribe (also called Hammer or Hamar) is one of the largest groups in the Omo Valley. The Hamer cultivate millet, vegetables, tobacco and cotton as well as raising cattle and goats. They are known for the fine pottery they produce as well as their remarkable hairstyling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men do when they have killed a fierce animal. These hair buns last for 3-6 months. The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms and decorate their skin with cowry shells. These decorations indicate the wealth and prestige of a woman’s husband. We return to Turmi in the evening.

We will drive approximately 190km and 6 hours

Accommodation: Mora Hight lodge or similar

Day 8 Arbaminch - Konso Village

As we have already seen, Ethiopia has a huge diversity of ethnic groups and today we will witness the distinguishing behaviour of another of these.

We travel north to Arbaminch (approximately 270km), en-route visiting a Konso tribal village - a World Heritage-listed site of cultural significance. Invariably built on hilltops as protection from the lowland tribes. Traditional Konso villages are surrounded by high stonewalls and encompass separate compounds, with outlying terraced agricultural fields.

You will be fascinated by the unique architectural aspects, largely unchanged cultural heritage and social cohesion of the village, and how it has adapted to its harsh environment. Another highlight is the famous 'wagas' - a funerary tradition where magnificent carved wooden sculptures were created in honour of Konso warrior heroes who have killed an enemy or animal and often grouped to represent the man, his wives and his adversaries.

Accommodation: Mora Hight lodge or similar

We will drive approximately 270km and 6 hours

Day 9 Return to Addis Ababa

Early in the morning, we drive back to Addis Ababa. On the way, we will visit the Wolayita people farm areas. Around their huts, they have their own little garden with vegetables, spices; tobacco and Enset (False-banana or Muzi).

We will travel through the Great Rift Valley, passing through more interesting villages and attractions. On the way, we will stop for lunch at Ziway and arrive in Addis Ababa late in the afternoon.

Finally, we will have a cultural dinner with live cultural dance performances in one of the best Ethiopian traditional restaurants’. Then transfer to the airport for your departure.

You will drive approximately 480km and 8 hours

Accommodation: -

What's included

* Please check prices for full list of inclusions and exclusions


  • Accommodation
  • Cold drinks
  • Guiding in selected language
  • Pick up and drop off
  • Meals (full board: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Park/ museum entrance fees
  • Taxes
  • Transportation in Land cruiser 4WD
  • Boat trip on Lake Chamo


  • Visas
  • Anything not listed in the inclusion section


Available in

Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

Available for

Infants, Children, Students, Adults, Seniors

Departure & Return

Start city: Addis Ababa , Ethiopia

Pick up times available: 08:00

Pick up location: Bole International Airport

Ends at: Bole International Airport

Nearest airport: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD)

Covid-19 measures

  • Contactless payments for add-ons
  • Face masks provided for travellers
  • Face masks provided for travellers
  • Hand sanitiser available
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Social distancing enforced
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised

We are Eco Aware:

  • Contributing to nature conservation or indigenous project(s)
    Contributing to nature conservation or indigenous project(s)
    A percentage of product income is contributing to local nature conservation or indigenous project(s)
  • Education & exploration
    Education & exploration
    The product is educational rather than entertainment focused - it respects and gives insight into local traditions and/or environment
  • Interaction with locals or nature
    Interaction with locals or nature
    The major part of the tour is spent on interacting with local communities, their representative(s) (other than guides) or observing the nature or animals without disturbing their natural habitat and environment
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Local or indigenous tour guide(s)

Cancellation policy

0% cancellation fee - 7 days or more before the travel date
50% cancellation fee - between 3-6 days before the travel date
100% cancellation fee - between 0-2 days before the travel date

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from $1850 per person