One of the most intriguing places in Africa is the Omo Valley in southwest Ethiopia. Near the border with South Sudan and Uganda, this area has long fascinated archaeologists and anthropologists for its diverse mix of people. Standing on the crossroads of several trading routes, some of the earliest evidence of human civilisation has been found in the valley and its remote location means there are several tribal groups in the region who still practice traditional rituals.

It is possible to visit the Omo Valley alone, but the easiest way to travel is with a local guide, who can arrange a 4×4 vehicle to get you to the more remote tribes. A good guide will also be able to explain the historical and cultural significance of the customs unique to each tribe.

Some of the most famous tribes in the valley are the Mursi, the Hamer and the Karo. The Mursi are known for inserting clay discs into their lips, which gives them an exaggerated lower lip, as well for ritualised stick fights with the neighbouring Suri tribe. The Hamer are known for their bull jumping coming-of-age ceremony, while the Karo create beautiful and intricate body art patterns using paint made from different mineral and plants.

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Read more on Omo Valley below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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