Tribes of Omo Valley

South West Ethiopia is an ethnographic kaleidoscope. The Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region is the home of the South Omo tribes and has more than 45 of Ethiopia's ethnic groups. The region is geographically extremely rugged and diverse. Some of the tribes live in the cool, moist bamboo rich highlands. Most notable of these are the Dorse tribe who live high above the south west capital Arba Minch. The Dorse are among the best known weavers in Africa. The Konso people are specialists in dryland agriculture in the arid mountains at the gateway to south Omo. Their agricultural prowess in terracing and mixed cropping is renowned.P1100160

The Omo river flows southwards through the heart of SNNPR finally entering the inland sea of Lake Turkana at the Kenya border. On the plains  of the Lower Omo valley and surrounding hills live the Hamer-Bena, Surma, Mursi, Tsemai, Karo, Murle, Bumi, Ari and other tribes. The area also has some impressive wildlife in the Mago and Omo National Parks, although hunting and poaching have taken a significant toll on the wildlife in recent years.

Visiting the Villages and tribes of South Omo tribes still feels like stepping back in time to an older Africa. Access to this area has recently improved greatly and a tarmac road from Arba Minch via Konso to Jinka now reaches into the heart of the region. How much impact on the traditional lifestyle of the tribes the road will have remains to be seen.  

The people of south Omo still practice body scarification, adornment and display unique  hairstyles which are specific to each ethnic group. 

A visit to South Omo remains as one of Africa's most unique experiences and is highly recommended.

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