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“Walks Ethiopia with Meles Yemata - an excellent tour operator!”

Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Jinka
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Open Ethiopia is running a trip to Omo national park and Omo valley tribes
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Stairs / elevator
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We only have good words about our trip to Ethiopia (Bale mountains, Arba Mich & Omo Valley, April 2013). Our guide Meles Yemata and our driver Haile were excellent company, to the point that we feel like if we were travelling around Ethiopia with two good friends. I can fully recommend a trip with them and Walks Ethiopia, no matter the type of trip you are looking for (hicking to the mountains, cultural/historical trip or adventurous tribes visit). They are very professional and caring at all moments, enriching the experience with many stories, anecdotes and of course a great knowledge of the Ethiopian history, tribes, places and even the local guides, scouts, restaurants,...

We are already looking forward to our next visit to Ethiopia with Meles and Walks Ethiopia.

Ruben & Agnieszka (from Spain and Poland)

Thank rlinayo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"tour guide"
in 19 reviews
"bull jumping ceremony"
in 21 reviews
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in 25 reviews
"local guide"
in 15 reviews
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in 11 reviews
"addis ababa"
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in 8 reviews
"two weeks"
in 6 reviews
"his team"
in 5 reviews
"southern ethiopia"
in 8 reviews
"amazing guide"
in 4 reviews
"take care"
in 3 reviews
"other travelers"
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in 3 reviews
"one night"
in 4 reviews
"my girlfriend"
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203 - 207 of 318 reviews

Reviewed March 14, 2013

Until about 20 years ago this was one of the last wildernesses, now new roads and developments along the river have opened this area up to both tourists and migrant workers, neither of whom are really helping the local people to make a transition into the modern world.

Every tribe now clamours for photo money, most children are now beggars, and we saw several teenage girls pull their tops down as my camera came out - they know that this is what the tourists want. Take your photos, pay them the few pence/cents that it costs, but know too that the effects of money entering communities that have lived without it for all time is not all good. It creates divisions, it supplies habits, it creates greed and envy.

We saw also some 'professional' photographers act disgracefully and wholly disrespectfully. Dressed like Livingstone, they roll up with a big kit, line up the 'natives' for 'selection', and stage-manage the pictures against a red backcloth. We were turfed out when I started filming them, but I got the shots anyway! You may want a photo of tribesmen with flowers painted on their parts, but does this make you a good photographer? Do you really have such a need to take bizarre photos? Would you stand there and be photographed like that??

Be aware too, that the tribespeople are playing this game with you. Do not think that they walk around like that when you are not there. They hear you coming and they can paint their faces, and put silly things on their heads, in seconds flat. They know that the more ridiculous they look, the more likely you are to pay them for a photo. Good for them!

Having said all this, if you act responsibly, accept that this is a region undergoing massive change, and treat the local people with respect and not like a human zoo, then this is an excellent destination. Just don't try to pretend that you are opening up darkest Africa for the first time.

If you have never been to Africa, there are enough decent tourist hotels to look after you and relieve you of your $$$. If you have been before, there are lots of much better African hotels that are clean and cheap.

16  Thank gorness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2013

This is a very large area that includes the Mago National park and the Omo Valley.

There is a fee for the Mago National Park and you will need a driver and/or a tour guide. The roads are dusty, mainly unpaved, and have cattle and people walking in the middle of the road. Do not plan to drive excessive amounts during the day. Driving at night with tourists is not allowed and can be dangerous with no lighting and many hazards such as people and cattle.

The roads are usually heavily traveled and if there is some problem you will not be alone. Mobile service while spotty is available.

Jinka is your jumping off and lodging point. From here you can make your way to the tribes or shoot off deep to the borders. In this area you will need anti-malaria meds. Malarone seems to be the most expensive but preferred medication for limited quantity and least of side effects.

The lodges will be bare minimums and WIFI is a luxury. Hot water and electricity are not standard. Electricity often fails in these parts.

The big game is long gone from these parts and replaced with cattle but the main draw is the geography and the many tribes that populate the valley. You will need several days to explore all the regions and there will be lots of traveling in the jeep. Slowly technology and progress will make these people suburb dwellers. See it while you can.

Study and arrange your tours with care. There are some good outfits that make tours but there are some here that will make your week long trip a complete burden. Do you homework. This is not a cruise ship holiday. You will have to work to enjoy the fruits of your holiday.

There are some stunning photo ops and amazing people and culture to be experienced.

6  Thank ExplorerXYZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

I was visiting Omo River Tribes in July, 2012 with a help of Senait Ethiopia Tours. My experience was perfect and can recommend this trip to everyone who wants to see Africa. Crocodiles, famous tribes like Mursi and Hammers, bull jumping, coffee ceremony and much more are the must see experience. Thanks to my guide the tour had no issues, the accommodation, food, transportation and safety were far above expectations.

3  Thank UrfinJuce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 10, 2013

Utilizing the services of Imagine Ethiopia Tours, my wife & I made a ten day expedition from Addis Ababa down to the Omo Valley. In the words of our guide Yohannes- who enriched our trip with philosophical, historical, religious & anthropological information, & kept us buoyant, amused & happy throughout - this area is " just incredible"! One witnesses tribes whose cultures are rich & demonstrative, & whose lives have been minimally affected by modern technical "advances". This is not a relaxing holiday; one travels long distances or makes excursions on dirt roads each day, & it is very hot & dusty. But it is well worth it. Given the remoteness of this region, the hotels we stayed in we're all adequate, were all clean & neat, & their staff attentive & eager to please. The varied landscapes are expansive & beautiful, but it is the people who steal the show. They comprise a visual extravaganza. Here one sees life much as it has existed for centuries; functioning pastoral communities; vibrant markets; ceremonies that challenge one's senses & sensibilities; amazing body decoration & disfiguration; colourful personal adornment ; " incredible"! This is all part of a disappearing world, as various regional projects are being introduced that will inevitably impact on these people's cultures and traditions. Good or bad; progress or destruction; development or upheaval? Impossible to make that judgement, but experience this while you can.

5  Thank Steve H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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