The Suri people are semi-nomadic cattle herders and live on the west side of the Omo River in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. This area is still much undeveloped, only unpaved roads lead to the heart of the Suri settlements: Kibish. The Suri culture demands that the men are trained as warriors as well as cattle herders. Stick-fighting events like the 'Zegine' (or 'Saginay', also commonly known as Donga, the Amharic name for the stick fights) take place to train boys and young men and also to allow them to meet women. This area is still quite untouched, and there are plenty of opportunities to see and experience the traditional life of the Suri tribe. If you are lucky you can see scarification, blood drinking ceremonies and other traditional rituals of the Suri people. All in all a wonderful experience!
The Gambela Park was established primarily to protect two species of endangered Wetland Antelopes: the White-Eared Kob and the Nile Lechwe. Other wildlife reported as living here include populations of Elephant, African Buffalo, Lion, Roan Antelope, Tiang, Lelwel Hartebeest, Olive Baboon, and Guereza Monkey. You will also visit several villagers of “Nuer Tribe & Anuak Tribe” in Gambela.
What is included?
Southwest 306km via Sebeta, Tefki, Waliso, Welkite in to Jimma “Oromo Tribe” ethnic group found in Ethiopia, in northern Kenya, and to a lesser extent in parts of Somalia.O/n Jimma
Visit Palace of Abba Jifar & Jimma Museum, 102km southwest via Seka in to Bonga & visit Kafa Coffee Biosphere Reserve, afternoon 102km via Shishinda in to Mizan Teferi “Bench Maji Zone”. O/n Mizan Teferi
Southwest 200km via Aman, Bebeka in to Dima “Agnuak Tribe” are a river people whose villages are scattered along the banks and rivers of southeastern Sudan and western Ethiopia, in the Gambela Region, via Akabu River 67km southeast in to Tulgit Village “Surma Tribe”. O/n Tulgit, Camping
Explore Suri Tribe Villagers, Ceremonies & Cultural-events! According to Suri oral tradition, came to their present territory near Mount Naita about 200 years ago from the banks of the Nile River. The Surma have a sky god named Tuma. The Suri also believe in spirits and use medicine mento undertake sacrifices or prayers and directly send them to Tuma. Another belief of the Suri is the rain maker. O/n Tulgit, Camping
20km to Kibish River & visit remote Surma Tribe Villagers. Piercing and lip plates are a strong part of the Suri culture. At the point of puberty most women have their bottom teeth removed in order to get their lower lip pierced. Once the lip is pierced, it’s then stretched and a lip plate is then placed in the hole of the piercing. O/n Anjo Village, Camping
40km to Bashagi Goldmines & visit young Suri extracting gold & overnight with them. O/n Bashagi Goldmines, Camping Police Station
55km to Regge Village & explore Suri Culture, Ceremonies/Cultural-events & evening dance. To the Suri, the ideal time to stick fight is just after it rains. The fights are held between Suri villages, and the fights begin with 20 to 30 people on each side. Of these 20 to 30 people, all get a chance to fight one on one against someone from the other side. During these fights there are referees present to make sure all rules are being followed.O/n Regge Village, Camping
Bargoba Village/Chief Bargula & afternoon in to Tulgit “evening dance show”. O/n Tulgit, Camping
North via Dima, Bebeka, Mezan Teferi in to Tepi “Coffee Plantation”. O/n Teppi.
286km northwest via Gehca, Masha, Gore, Baro River in to Gambela. O/n Gambela
Visit Nuer Tribe & Anuak Tribe. O/n Gambela
Safari Gambela National Park. O/n Gambela
391km east via Gore, Bedele, Getema in to Nekemte “Oromo Tribe” Welega Province. O/n Nekemte
332km east via Gute, Ano, Guder in to Ambo for walking city tour & via Addis Alem, Holeta in to Addis Ababa, the end. O/n Addis Ababa
You are requested to bring your own photo equipment; we recommend a DSLR or a mirror less camera with interchangeable lenses. But it is also no problem to bring your compact camera with a zoom lens. However, the trip is a photo expedition, so we do not recommend a simple point and shoot camera or a smart phone as your main photo equipment.
This expedition is done in private 4-seater model 4WD Toyota Land Cruisers or 4WD Nissan Safari. Please keep in mind that the dirt roads of southern Ethiopia are of very poor condition and it can become an exhausting experience to travel on them, especially in Suri and Gamblea areas. During dry seasons the roads can become very dusty.
In Southwestern Ethiopia tourists are requested to pay for photos. As a guideline you pay for a portrait in a village or on a market about 5 Birr, for a child around 2 or 3 Birr. Please keep in mind that you often have to pay for a single photo. If you push the button 3 times, you have to pay for 3 photos! Especially the Suri people are famous in counting your shutter clicks and asking for a lot of photo money. To avoid these awkward situations you get assistance from your local guide and your Park Scout. It is often a good idea to agree upon a photo price in advance, like for instance 20 or 30 Birr so that you can make a row of pictures and be sure to get your unique portrait of the tribal people. Usually you pay for a ceremonial event, like for instance ceremonies of Suris like Donga, Kilonga, and Wololo. Young Men and Girl are dancing. Donga is a stick fighting, Kilonga is a ceremony to remember a very important old dead person which involves driving huge herds of cattle to the celebration place, and attracts big number of Suris with dancing and gunshots in the air until the end, and Wololo is a wedding ceremony. For a fee you can take as much pictures as you like. Tipping is not compulsory but an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your photograph expedition.