Tribes of the Omo Valley

Photograph by Trevor Cole

Located in the far southwest of Ethiopia is the Omo Delta, one of the last great tribal regions left in the world. Living in this remote but accessible area are a vast number of tribal groups all within driving distance of one another. Living in voluntary isolation, their culture, dress and language has remained intact. Some 45 different languages are spoken, and tribes range from the many thousand strong Borena to the smaller Karo Tribe. With the recently constructed road stretching from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch this area is now open for exploration and tourism. To anthropologists, the Omo Valley is a living museum; to photographers the Omo Valley is a visually breathtaking experience.


Photograph: Sharon Wellings, 2014

Seven distinct groups of people live in this area.  The remote Dassanach people adorn themselves with strands of beads and wear goatskins.The Mursi are known for the clay lip plates that the women insert in their lower lips. The Hamar women wear thick copper necklaces, have braided hairstyles colored with red clay,and have high cheekbones. The Kara are highly decorated with chalk. The Konso are pastoralists and weavers. Visually stunning landscapes will be travelled through, ranging from mountains to savannah.


Photograph: Sandy Boles, 2014

Visitation to the local tribes is a unique travel experience. Photographic opportunities range from documenting the daily life of the tribes, portraiture, scenic shots as well as the opportunity to enhance one's compositional skills. Until the 1970s, these tribes had no contact with the outside world and now you have the opportunity to know them. Traveling three photographers per Land Cruiser, eating the local food and staying at local accommodations makes for a special experience.


Photograph: Michele Zousmer, 2012

This article was provided by Epic Photo Tours.

Epic Photo Tours aim to connect discerning photographers to a more authentic and deeper photographic/travel experience. One of our clients just returned from another trip hosted by them and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you are interested in joining them, Epic Photo Tours will be hosting their 10th annual 'Tribal Life Photography Tour' to the Omo Valley from January 5th to 17th, 2017. Find out more at