Driving through Omo Valley, southern Ethiopia | Discover Ethiopia

Melat Mulugeta

The Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region has a population of around 600,000 including the World Heritage Site the Lower Valley of the Omo. The Omo Valley has been named as a living museum with around 18 ethnic groups representing four of Africa’s major linguistic groups. The Omotic-speakers are endemic to the south Omo and include the Ari, Maale, Daasanach, and the Hamar-Banna. The market towns offer the best opportunities for meeting local tribes as they go about their trade and business. The villages are the best places to witness traditional ceremonies and gain a better appreciation for the diverse cultures and ways of life. The best way to explore this region is by road between July and March when the time is spent visiting the local markets or exploring the remoter villages.