The Northern Historical Route & the Tribes of the Omo Valley Toggle

From January 4th to January 18th 2017

Visit and photograph the Northern Historical Route & the Tribes of the Omo Valley in this breathtaking photo tour.



Early in the morning, depart on an early flight for Bahir Dar. After arrival, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Penninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. In the afternoon, drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area. Finish the day with the sunset over the lake. Overnight in Bahir Dar. (hotel)


After breakfast, continue north to Gondar. The four hour drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After briefly settling in your hotel, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilida’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today. Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar. (hotel)


Early morning flight to Axum. Upon arrival to Axum, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round,) Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight in Axum (hotel)


Depart on an early morning flight to Lalibela, the most famous of all the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael, and Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women.) Overnight in Lalibela (hotel)


In the morning, take a trip to vist the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern, After the visit, return to Lalibela for lunch and in the afternoon, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saign of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel)


In the morning, proceed to the airport for the return flight back to Addis Ababa. After arrival, depart south from Addis Ababa to Awassa. On the way, you will stop at Lake Ziway to visit the vibrant birdlife. Overnight in Awassa. (hotel)


In the morning after breakfast, visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa and then proceed driving to Dorze, set in the highlands above Arba Minch. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited. Overnight in Dorze in traditional Dorze hut (shared toilet facilities) or continue to Arba Minch for overnight (camping, hotel or lodge)


In the morning, visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday.) Afterwards, continue driving to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to see crocodiles and the local hippos. Overnight in Arba Minch (camping, hotel or lodge)


After breakfast, depart from Arba Minch to Turmi. On the way you will go through the village of Weyto (market day Saturday) which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Continue through the Weyto Valley to Arbore, where you will have a brief visit to a local Arbore village (market day is Saturday.)

Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe, known as Evangadi. Overnight in Turmi (camping, hotel or lodge)

DAY 10

In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate to visit the Dassanach tribe. Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassanach village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hamer tribe. If there is a Jumping of the Bulls, a traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony, that will be visited. Overnight in Turmi (camping, basic hotel or lodge)

DAY 11

Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo. Afterwards, continue to Jinka. Overnight in Jinka (camping, hotel or lodge)

DAY 12

In the morning, drive through Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can vist the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village. Overnight in Jinka (camping, hotel or lodge.

DAY 13

After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Konso, via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Konso. The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting, you can also visit the “natural New York Village,” named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. Overnight in Konso (camping, hotel or lodge)

DAY 14

After breakfast, depart from Konso to Lake Langano. On the way you will visit the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest. Continue to Lake Langano for overnight (camping or lodge)

DAY 15

After a morning swim in the lake, depart north to Addis Ababa. On the way, you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236km. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.

End of Tour

This itinerary is flexible, and will likely change in order to coordinate visits with market days in the south, which is a great opportunity to mingle with the people, many of whom travel long distances on foot to attend.

Please Note: Some changes may occur to this itinerary, based on weather conditions or new opportunities that may arise. We are always looking to visit the locations that are off the most traveled routes of tourists. As photographers, we understand the kind of authentic experience that you are looking for.


The Tour Fee for this tour is $9495.00 in shared accommodations. If you prefer a single room, the single room supplement is $700.00


It is recommended that participants bring a digital SLR camera and laptop computer. A complete list of optional equipment will be sent at registration.


Photography Instructor Fee

Accommodation x 15 nights based on Double Occupany rooms.

Single Room Supplement is $700.00

Airport Transfers and ground transportation by Private AC minivan.

Expert English speaking local guide

All meals on itinerary days

Cold bottled mineral water

All admission fees to sites on the itinerary


International flights to and from Ethiopia

Insurance: we strongly recommend you purchase Travel, Medical and Cancellation Insurance.

Alcoholic beverages

Personal expenses and tipping

Visa and Passport fees


A nonrefundable deposit of $1200 per person is required at time of booking. We recommend you reserve your spot as soon as possible. You can pay your deposit by Bank Wire Transfer. Bank details will be provided upon registration.

The tour will be confirmed 8 weeks prior, on November 9, 2016. Please do not make any travel arrangements to Ethiopia before we have confirmed the tour. Full payment is due when the tour is confirmed.

TO REGISTER: Please send us an email at with your first and last name, your phone, which tour you are registering for, along with any additional information that you would like us to know.


This tour is geared to the people who enjoy exploring unique cultures and adventure photography. Group cohesion, adaptability, a sense of humor and a curious mind are all important traits to possess. Past participants have found this expedition to be one of the most intense and fascinating experiences of their lives.