Ethiopia is a country unlike any other in Africa. It has a rich history, dating back from Biblical times, a unique culture, unique food, a unique calendar and a very diverse landscape, considered by some the most beautiful in the world.
The south of Ethiopia is a tribal country where some of the tribes live in remote areas, hardly touched by modern ‘civilisation’. Both the north and the south feature fine landscapes with good trekking facilities but my favorite are the eco-treks in Bale Mountains in the south. Visiting the south you'll need private transport, for some parts a 4WD is necessary. And you'll have to pay to take people pictures.
The Hamer tribe lives in the Omo River Valley. They are primarily pastorals, tending cattle. Their believes are animistic. The Hamer women are characterized by their hairstyle: dreadlocks treated with butter mixed with red soil.
The Erbore tribe that lives in the southwest of the Omo Valley is also pastoral. Their women wear a cloth to cover their head and use colorful necklaces and earrings. They sometimes wear a calabash hat to protect them from the sun.
The Karo are a small tribe. They like to paint their body and have a sharp object (mostly a common nail) through their lip as decoration.
The Mursi tribe lives very isolated in Mago park. The woman wear lip plates and both men and women paint their body. The Mursi I visited were quite aggressive to get their picture taken and I also suspect them (as more tribes and especially the children do) of dressing up for the tourists.
This tribe has a different lifestyle. They irrigate terraces for their agriculture.
Yabello - Borana
The Borana live in a dry part of the country. So they dug wells up to 30 meter deep. Men and women form chain from the bottom of the well to the top passing the water in buckets while singing. Thus the wells are known as singing wells. From the crater lake of El Sod black salt is harvested.
The website of the Forest management project, a project set up by the German development organization "GTZ" states ‘The lush mountain forests, pristine streams, accommodating guides, welcoming hosts and authentic customs of the Bale Mountains create a unique and not to be missed part of Ethiopia’.
And it's true, the landscape, the authenticity and the hospitality make trekking there a unique experience. For diner we supplemented the stuff we brought with thyme we plucked off the mountain slopes and a bought spring onions from a farmer freshly harvested for us. And luckily our cabin was well stocked with wine and beer.
Shot on slidefilm