Category: Cultural Attractions

Also spelled Tsamai, they are found living in the sami-arid region of the Omo Valley, these people are agro –pastoralist and used both livestock herding and agriculture to survive. Common crops grown by the tribe are sorghum, Millet and sometimes cotton. Like the Hamar tribe, the Tsemay boys have to successfully complete a bull jumping event. This is a ceremony where the boy runs across multiple bulls. if the boy can make it across four times without falling , he becomes a man . To prove a boy has accomplished a bull jumping, he is outfitted with a band that has feathers on it .it is worn on his head and it shows that he is now looking for a wife.

The Surma peoples, who also called as Suri, live to the west bank of Omo River. The Surma have some extremely painful rituals, including lip plates scarification and dangerous stick fighting. Some anthropologists see these as a kind of controlled violence to get young Surma used to feeling pains and seeing blood .these are , after all , people who live in a volatile ,hostile world ,under constant threat from their enemies around them .

No one knows why lip plates were first used. One theory goes that it was mean to discourage slavers from taking the women. It’s undoubtedly painful. Once a girl reaches a certain age, her lower incisors are knocked out and her bottom lip is pierced and stretched until it can hold the clay plate.
Cattle are enormously important to the Suri . They bring status when two Suri meet they’ll ask each other how many cows they have. .cows are a store of wealth to be traded, and a source of Milk and blood.


The Bumi also known as Nyangatom live south of the Omo national park and occasionally migrate into the lower region of the park when water or grazing is scarce .Numbering about 30,000. – 35, 0000 in population, the Bumi are agro- pastoralists, relying on cattle herding and flood –retreat agriculture (consisting mainly of Sorghum harvesting on the Omo and kibish River.) the Bumi tend to indulge in honey and frequently smoke out beehives in the park to get the honey inside the nests. The Bumi are known to be great warriors and quite frequently, active warmongers .they are often at war with neighboring tribes including Hamer, the Karo and Surma.

Small group of Bumi living along the Omo are specialized crocodile hunters using harpoons from a dugoaut canoe. The elder of both Sexes wear a lower lip plug, the men’s made from ivory and women made from copper filigree.



The Mursi live between their dry and wet season range on the tama plains, north of Mago Park in the Omo river region of south –west Ethiopia. They care for livestock and plant some crops. The men practice light scarification on their shoulders after killing an enemy, and shave geometric Patterns on their head. During dance and ceremonies they adorn literally every part of their body with white chalk paint. Young unmarried men practice group stick fights. The winner is carried on top of poles to girls waiting beside the arenas, who decide among themselves which of them will ask his hand in marriage.


The Konso live in an isolated region of the basalt hills. The area is made up of hard rocky slopes. A Konso village maybe fortified by a stone wall used as a defensive measure, their village is located on hilltops and is split up into communities, with each community having a main hut. In order to enter a Konso village, you must pass through a gate and a series of alleys. These paths are part of it’s security system, keeping the village difficult to access.

They are mixed agriculturists using their dry and infertile lands to grow crops. Animal dung is used to fertilize the grounds and their most important crop is the sorghum. Sorghum is used as flour and to make local beer. Grains, beans, cotton, corn and coffee are also grown by the Konso people.

The erection of stones and poles is part of the Konso tradition. A generation pole is raised every 18 years, marking the start of a new generation. The age of a village can be determined by how many poles are standing. Carved wooden statues are also used to mark the grave of a famous Konso tribal member. The marker, called a Waga is placed above the grave and smaller statues are then placed around the larger one representing his wives and conquered enemies.

Although the Konso people have many customs dating back hundreds of years, it is not uncommon for them to be seen wearing western clothing. As newer generations grow, their traditional attire has gradually changed to modern societies. The Konso is a very interesting tribe to visit on your trip to the lower Omo Valley.


The karo, which number only about 3,000 people, mainly live on the practice of flood retreat cultivation on the banks of the Omo River in south –Western Ethiopia. The Karo Excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dance and ceremonies .they decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a Guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hair buns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular.
Karo women scarify their chest to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed to produce a raised welt.
Being the smallest tribe in the area, this group obviously struggles with direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, great numbers, and likely coalition with one another.

The Hamers are pastoralists and number about 80,000.00. They are known their practice of body adornment and wearing a multitude of colorful beads. Women adorn their necks with heavy polished iron jewelry. Hamer society consists of a complex system of age group. To pass from one age group to anther involves complicated rituals. The most significant ceremony for young men Is the “JUMPING of the bull “the final test before passing into adulthood.

Several days before the ceremony, initiates pass out invitations in the form of dried knotted grass. The ceremony lasts three days. Late in the afternoon on the final day, ten to thirty bulls are lined up side by side. The naked initial how is called the Chekole will rushes towards the animals ,vaults onto the first bull’s back and then runs across the line of Animals . At the end of the line, He turns back to repeat the performance in the opposite direction. He must make this unstable journey without falling.

After a successful journey over the bulls, we will stay with his family for about three days till the ceremony finish. After three days he will join Mazas.

Mazas are those who have successfully jumped over the bull but not yet mired. as the proceed of selecting the future wife will take few months , till his family find out his wife the Ukuli will remain as Maza . Mazas play big role in the ceremony of Bull Jumping since they are the only one who flogs the women.

The Hamer men have a reputation of being less than adoring husbands. The women submit to the ritual floggings proudly and love to show the deep scars that are regarded as a proof of devotion to their husband.


Dorze are a small ethnic group in Ethiopia who speak a language in the Omotic family. Numbering about 45,000, they live primarily in the southern region of the country, though some have migrated to Addis Ababa and other regions. Many Dorze live in villages near the cities of Chenach and Arba Minch, which are located in the Semien Omo Zone of the southern Nations nationalities and peoples region.
From the dramatic view back to the rift Valley lakes near Arba Minch , Chencha is of interest to travelers as the home of the Dorze people, renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive –shaped dwelling are among the most distinctive traditional structures to be seen anywhere in Africa .

Cattle are central to the lives of the Dassanech –just as they are for the other tribes of the Omo Vally .As well as meat, milk, leather for clothing, house and mattresses they provide status in the tribe, and the bride-wealth that allows a man to marry.

But unlike the lush green hills of the Surma and Hamar , the lands of the 35,000 –strong Dassanech are semiarid . they live where the Omo river delta enters lake Turkana –their name means “peoples of delta “despite the lake and the delta , this is an incredibly dry region ;there is nothing but deserts to the west and south west , daytime temperatures hover round 35 degrees centigrade ,and malaria mosquitoes add to the discomfort .
The Dassenech survive in this environment by cultivating crops when the rains arrive and the Omo river floods. They also manage their cattle herds well, slaughtering the older ones in the dry season, when grazing is limited, and the meat is most needed, but in this dry land, survival is precarious.


The Bodi are pastoralist living close to the Omo River in south western Ethiopia. The Bodi are Nilo-Saharan stock and pastoralist back ground. Although they do cultivate sorghum along the Omo River, their culture is very much cattle centered. Similar to the Mursi, livestock plays an important role in marriage. Divination and name –given rituals. The Bodi classification of cattle is complex, with over eight words to denote different colors and patterns. Bodi dress is simple .the women wear goatskins tied at the waist and shoulder, while men fasten a strip of cotton or bark-cloth around their waist.