Omo Valley Tribes
Rare | Ethiopia

Return to Ethiopia

As many will know, the unrest in the north of Ethiopia since March 2020 has had a devastating impact on the country.

Fortunately, the conditions that have made travel relatively difficult these past few years have more or less disappeared. We are thankfully entering a post-Covid age when it comes to travel. Meanwhile, the unrest in the north has begun to settle, with the signing of the Ethiopia-Tigray Peace Treaty in South Africa in November last year. This was followed up by an agreement signed in Nairobi to permanently cease hostilities.


Still, it remains a highly complex situation, particularly in terms of ensuring the safety of civilians in Tigray and providing the area with the medical and humanitarian aid it needs. In this context, to speak of the return of travel to Ethiopia’s highlands may not sit comfortably with the reader.

However, I’ve just returned from a three-day visit to Addis, in the main to see the team at ground handler Wild Expeditions, which we part-own with Ethiopian nationals. They’ve managed to hold the company together, saved many jobs, emerged stronger for the experience, and possess a wonderfully clear vision of what the future looks like. I know from the team and from conversations with other colleagues and friends on the ground  just how important the return to a buoyant tourist industry is – to confidence and so to the economy.

Lalibela Ethiopia

That need recently received its biggest boost with Ethiopian Airways once again operating flights between Addis and Mekele. Much of the Ethiopian highlands has opened up, allowing for movement, trade, and visitors. As said in a recent Instagram post, with this so the rise in confidence is beginning to be felt abroad. We’re dealing with a lot more enquiries – new as well as repeat – and we have a group travelling to Lalibela and to the Simiens Mountains next month.

Indeed, we’re already thinking ahead to 2024, which is the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) promises to be a most auspicious year. The discovery of Lucy (named so after Lucy and the Sky of Diamonds), its legacy, and the fact that she is evidence of Ethiopia being the cradle of mankind, is a source of more than mere pride: she is known in Amharic as ‘Dinkinesh’, which means ‘you are marvellous’, and people’s love for her is such that there was enormous pushback against her six-year tour of the United States between 2007 and 2013 – her eventual return precipitated a national day of celebration.

Hamar Fly Camp Ethiopia Tent

Together with pro guide Squack Evans, we plan to guide two private parties on a trip from the northern Christian highlands right down to the Omo Valley, with plenty to do on the way, including setting up camp in Hadar to the site of Lucy. As well as the Lucy site visit, highlights will include the salt pans of the Danakil, the wolves of the Bale Mountain, and fly camping along the Omo River to meet and trade with remote Mursi and Kara communities. Back to Ethiopia: I can’t wait.

If interested in joining Squack Evans and Will Jones on a 2024 trip to Ethiopia at dates convenient to you, please get in touch.  

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