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Anisha Shah
Created byAnisha Shah
Luxury & Emerging Destinations Travel Journalist

Southern Ethiopia: Tribes and Tropics

Featured Guide

Southern Ethiopia contradicts and complements the historical North. The landscape is fiercely tribal and tropical.  The land is ripped apart by the dramatic Rift Valley. Murky sodden lakes, deep red-earth and  gushing ochre rivers vie for attention against lush tropical vegetation. The South is also home to some of the oldest tribes on the planet, such as the bull-jumping Hamer people and the starkly beautiful Mursi, whose women wear decorative lip plates and whose men are tattooed, protecting their cattle-herding livelihoods with Machetes and Kalashnikovs.  Just getting there is an adventure!

  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Visiting the little-known Jamaican town of Ethiopia is like walking through the streets of Montego Bay. Emperor Haile Selassie, in fact, inspired the Rastafari movement, later... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    A flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa, Khat is an amphetamine-like substance that is commonly chewed by men, women and even children throughout the country. Heading... more
  • Hotel
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Located in Yirgalem, very close to the borders of Kenya and Somalia. The Sidama region is famous for coffee plantations, supplying much of the world’s caffeine. The family-run... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Coffee is a serious business in the ‘birthplace of the bean.’ It’s offering signifies great respect. On visiting any Ethiopian home, the ceremony begins. Beans are first roasted... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    A walk through a village in the UNESCO Konso landscape is eye-opening. Stone-walled fortifications house villagers in a tradition dating back 400 years, Ankle-deep in mud,... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    In the Main Ethiopian Rift, this small boat trip starts as an idyllic sunset ride. Minutes in, hippos carelessly splash past. But deeper in, on the banks, gigantic Nile crocodiles... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Compete with Marabou, Cormorants, Kites, Pelicans and crowds of people for seafood straight from Lake Awassa, at this lakeside open-air market. This is lake-to-table dining as... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    One of the largest cities in the South, Awassa is a university city. Complete with bars, cafes and restaurants, it’s a culture shock from the rest of the region. On the banks of Lake... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Locate Mursi deep in tiny jungle villages living in mud huts. Girls split their bottom lip from young age to eventually insert 5 inch clay decorative plates. The same is done in... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    On the East bank of the Omo River, this park is relatively new, established 35 years ago. The 1,500 sq mile vegetation includes a wildlife reserve, the Mago river and Lake Dipa.... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    This is the largest park in Omo Valley and is remote and isolated. Diificult to reach, an arduous journey is worthwhile as it holds 2,500 square miles of jungle and wildlife such as... more
  • Attraction
    Anisha Shah's rating: 5
    Turmi and Key Afer markets are fiercely local in every sense. Hamer tribes converge to browse vegetables and household goods spread on cloths on the dusty soil. Hamer women... more
  • Hotel
    Anisha Shah's rating: 4
    Arbaminch is a bustling city. The lodge crowns a cliff-top overlooking spectacular panoramic views over Lakes Abaya and Chamo and carpeted jungle floor for miles. With a spa,... more