Travels

MESKEL festival at DORZE (GAMO people)

The Meskel Festival is one of the most colorful festivals celebrated in Ethiopia for more than 1600 years. Meskel always have been celebrated in a beautiful weather at the end of the rain season, with a lot of dancing, feasting and lighting a massive bonfire to commemorate the discovery of the true cross on which Jesus Christ has been crucified.
This festival tour provides a traveler with a practical image of the 3000 years historical mysteries and living historical facts and monuments of Ethiopia including the steles of Axum, the temple of Yeha, Palace of Queen of Sheba, the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and more.
Join us on this journey of discovery as we witness an ancient African culture and civilization.

14 days and 13 nights

Sat 20 Sep Day 01 ADDIS
In the morning arrive in Addis Ababa transfer to hotel. In the afternoon at 14:00 visit city tour of the capital including Entoto Mountains with very nice view over the capital and church of St Mary with adjacent museum of imperial objects. Then back to the city, for the National Archaeological museum; Ethnological Museum (Haile Selassie’s Jubilee Palace) at Addis Ababa University, St. George’s Cathedral where Haile Selassie was crowned with Statue in Addis Ababa of Abun Petros, an Ethiopia bishop martyred by the Italian fascists in 1936 and Meneilk the Statue and historical monuments, visit the Mercato, biggest open air market in Africa.
Sun 21 Sep Day 02 ADDIS - LANGANO
Drive to Langano via Butajira on the way visit Tiya a stele which was registered by UNSCO in 1978G.C as one of the 8th heritage site of Ethiopia. The Rift valley lakes (Southern Lakes) there are seven Lakes, visit Lake Ziway surrounded by blue volcanic hill different aquatic birds; the hot spring and visit to Lakes Abiata and Shalla different varieties birds and mammals. Then proceed to the Rift Valley lake of Langano, Possibility of trekking, bird-watching, horse-riding, boat excursion, cycling, and more; overnight in Langano Borati Lodge.
Mon 22 Sep Day 03 LANGANO - ARBA MINCH
Early in the morning at 07:00drive to Arbaminch 275kms. Arbaminch in Amharic meaning 40 springs. Admire very interesting views and the Wolayta people, their villages, culture, the cultivation of the false banana tree (from which roots they extract their traditional bread, the Kotcho) and more and drive direct to Chencha, to visit the Dorze people and village with their Bee-Hive like tubules and traditional weaving culture, their particular weaving works for which they are famous, strange houses, cultivation of sorghum and the false banana and more with spectacular, you will have attractive views over the Chamo and Abaya lakes with bright afternoon sunlight; overnight in Arbaminch Swaynes Hotel. www.swayneshotel.com.
Tue 23 Sep Day 04 ARBA MINCH
Boat trip on Lake Chamo: admiring crocodiles, hippos and birds. Reach the other side of the lake and walk to the Netch Sar Park. Visit animals, as Swaynes Hartbeest, lesser kudu, zebras, birds & more. Reach the mountain top (“Yesghier dildi”, which means mountain of paradise) with spectacular view over Chamo & Abaya lakes and the Netch Sar Park. Have lunch; overnight in Swaynes hotel.
Wed 24 Sep Day 05 Up to the old tradition even these days, most people will go out meeting each other in the markets with the best traditional clothes and most of them specially the ladies treating their hair with butter. Butter in these tribes besides smoothening the skin and hair it tells about the social status and also it is as a signe of positive future in the new year. Drive back to Arbaminch overnight in Swaynes hotel.

Thu Sep 25 Day 06 This day, the men will be busy slaughtering oxen. Depending on the size of the family, neighbor hoods can share an ox or they can slaughter one for a family. Since this festival is considered as the starting of new year according to their traditional calander, getting ready with the necessary supplies goes all year long. So men are incharge of the meat supply and women they worry about the butter and the food cooking. This day the feast starts with the best food and drinks and at last it will be a beauty contest between ladies who treated their hair with butter a day before and who are now well fed with their favorite meals; overnight in Dorze Mekonnen Hotel.
Fri Sep 26 Day 07 Since the Gamo tribe is a Christian tribe; the religious part of the festival will be held today. Around churches on a wider field their will be a big bon-fire, this tradition comes from an old Roman Empire Queen who uses torches and follow the direction of the smoke while in search for the True cross of Jesus Christe. Ethiopia still shelter in one of its monastery the left piece of the Cross; Drive back to Arbaminch overnight in Swaynes hotel.
Sat 27 Sep Day 08 ARBA MINCH - TURMI
Early in the morning drive to Turmi; then cross the Weyto river valley and if the day you arrive is MON or SAT admire the very colorful markets of the Hamer, Karo and Dassanech tribes respectively at Turmi or Dimeka villages. These tribes are famous for their hairstyles, ornaments, scarification, culture and more. By chance we’ll try also to participate to their marriage ceremonies, with the bull jumping & more; overnight in Turmi Evangadi Lodge.
Sun 28 Sep Day 09 TURMI - MURULLE - NYANGATOM - TURMI
Drive to Murulle for visit Karo tribes and their village for their very interesting decoration and scarification all over their body and very nice views over Omo River from Kortcho village and drive Kangate visit the Nyangatom people crossing the Omo River with small boats at Kangate. Then back to Turmi for visit the Hammer people culture and their attractive villages. Depends on the time and season we’ll try to participate to their marriage ceremonies, with the bull jumping & more and also evening you will see the traditional dance of the Hammer people; overnight in Evangadi Lodge.
Mon 29 Sep Day 10 TURMI
Drive to Omorate excursion Omorate and visit Dassanech (Gelab) tribe are famous for their hairstyles, ornaments, scarification, culture and more; then back to Turmi for visit the Hammer people culture and market their attractive villages and evening by chance you will see the traditional dance of the Hammer people. If the day you arrive is MON or SAT admire the very colorful markets of the Hamer, Karo and Dassanech tribes respectively at Turmi or Dimeka villages. These tribes are famous for their hairstyles, ornaments, scarification, culture and more. By chance we’ll try also to participate to their marriage ceremonies, with the bull jumping & more; overnight Evangadi Lodge.
Tue 30 Sep Day 11 TURMI - JINKA
Drive to Jinka; on the way visit Erbore people and visit their villages & culture and if the day you arrive on Saturday at Dimeka villages admire the very colorful markets. These tribes are famous for their hairstyles, ornaments, scarification, culture and more; overnight Orit Hotel.
Wed 01 Oct Day 12 JINKA
Enter into the Mago National park, admiring different mammals and birds on the way; and proceed to visit the Mursi people and villages. Here for beauty women use to put round plates into their lips; overnight in Jinka Orit Hotel.
Thu 02 Oct Day 13 JINKA - KONSO
Drive to Konso; if the day you arrive on Thursday visit the very colorful Key Afer village market of the Tsemay & Erbore respectively the Tsemay, Ari and Benna people and possibly market. Visit Konso people village, which are famous for the terracing agriculture, and have particular way of life and traditions; overnight in Konso Kanta Lodge.
Fri 03 Oct Day 14 KONSO - YABELO
Drive to Yabelo. Visit "El Sod" for Borana (Oromo people) salt extracting and at Dublock for singing wells some villages; overnight Yabello Motel.
Sat 04 Oct Day 15 YABELO - AWASSA
Drive to Awassa; Lake Awassa boat excursion, Awassa Lake is the small Lake in Rift valley lakes. Lake of Awassa with its sun set since beauty on the lake visit Different birds and more; overnight in Awassa Haile Resort.
Sun 05 Oct Day 16 AWASSA - ADDIS
In the morning attend the fish market at Awassa. Drive to Addis. You have day use room. Green Land Tours dinner invite you in a traditional restaurant with folkloristic dances. After dinner transfer to Airport for your departure.