Photos of Ethiopia

Priest in yellow, Ethiopia

Robert Eilets

These photos of Ethiopia highlight the tremendous wealth of attractions the country has to offer visitors. Travel to Ethiopia is becoming increasingly popular as people discover ancient religious and historical sights that rival those of Egypt (without the tour buses). The variety of languages and tribes, particularly in the Omo River Region, is enough to satisfy anyone's inner anthropologist. Adrenalin seekers can trek in the impressive Simien Mountains, or white-water raft down the Omo River. Birders can enjoy more than 800 species of birds and if you enjoy primates, the rare Gelada baboon is a true treat for the eyes.

While travel in Ethiopia is still somewhat rough; buses are bouncy and there aren't too many five star hotels -- the rewards are worth it. Find out more about traveling to Ethiopia, and the best time to visit.

Many thanks to Robert Eilets; Charles Roffey; Robert Eilets and Angela Fairbank for the use of their images.

Ethiopia is filled with important Christian and Muslim sites. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Ethiopia to walk the Holy Routes.

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Shop in Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Shop in Bahar Dar, Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

Bahar Dar is situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. Visitors come here to see the monasteries and water falls.

Continue to 2 of 33 below.
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Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 3 of 33 below.
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Karo Women, Omo River region, Ethiopia

Karo Woman, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
Angela Fairbank

Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed in to produce a raised welt.

The Karo

The Karo, who number only about 3,000 people, mainly live on the practice of flood retreat cultivation on the banks of the Omo River in South-western Ethiopia.

The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies. They pulverize locally found white chalk, yellow mineral rock, red iron ore and black charcoal to decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hairbuns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular.

Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed in to produce a raised welt.

According to the Murulle Foundation, the Karo tribes' existence is somewhat precarious today. The inevitability of the encroaching populace and the introduction of modern weaponry has affected their already delicate ecosystem. Being the smallest tribe in the area, this group obviously struggles with direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers, and likely coalitions with one another.

More information about the Karo

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

Many tour companies that specialize in Ethiopia offer tours to the Omo River Region. You can often add on a tour of some of Ethiopias famous religious and historical sights. Below is a sampling of itineraries which focus on the cultures of the Omo River Region.

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Traveler offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 4 of 33 below.
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Monk in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Monk in Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

Lalibela in is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 5 of 33 below.
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Young Women, Ethiopia

Young women, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets
Continue to 6 of 33 below.
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Pilgrims resting, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Pilgrims resting, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 7 of 33 below.
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Girl in a green dress, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Girl in a green dress, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 8 of 33 below.
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Hamer Woman, Omo River region, Ethiopia

Hamer Woman, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
Charles Roffey

Hamer women adorn their necks with heavy polished iron jewelry.

The Hamer

Several days before the ceremony, initiates pass out invitations in the form of dried knotted grass. The ceremony lasts three days. Late in the afternoon on the final day, ten to thirty bulls are lined up side by side. The naked initiate rushes towards the animal, vaults onto the first bull's back and then runs across the line of animals. At the end of the line he turns back to repeat the performance in the opposite direction. He must make this unstable journey without falling.

The Hamer men have a reputation of being less than adoring husbands. According to photograper JP Dutilleux "the women submit to the ritual floggings proudly and love to show the deep scars that are regarded as a proof of devotion to their husbands.

More information about the Hamer

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Traveler offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 9 of 33 below.
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Girl in Harar, Ethiopia

Girl in Harar, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 10 of 33 below.
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Boy in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Boy in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

The Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia are one of Africa's highest mountain ranges with peaks often covered in snow. The mountains are popular with trekkers.

Continue to 11 of 33 below.
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Priests in white, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Priests in white, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 12 of 33 below.
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Mursi Making Fire, Omo River Region, Ethiopia

Mursi Making Fire, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
© Angela Fairbank

The Mursi

The men practice light scarification on their shoulders after killing an enemy, and shave geometric patterns on their head. During dances and ceremonies they adorn literally every part of their body with white chalk paint. Young unmarried men practice group stick fights. The winner is carried on top of poles to girls waiting beside the arena, who decide among themselves which of them will ask his hand in marriage.

When a young Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is pierced so she can wear a lip plate. The larger the lip plate she can tolerate, the more cattle her bride price will bring for her father.

More information about the Mursi

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Travel offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.

More images of the Omo River region, Ethiopia

Continue to 13 of 33 below.
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Typical Market in Ethiopia

Typical Market in Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

Markets in Ethiopia are lively and interesting places to visit. The market in Addis Abbaba is one of the country's main attractions.

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Women in the town of Harar, Ethiopia

Women in the town of Harar, Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 15 of 33 below.
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Lady carrying a jug, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Bahar Dar, lady carrying jug, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Bahar Dar is situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. Visitors come here to see the monasteries and water falls.

Continue to 16 of 33 below.
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Karo Warriors, Omo River region, Ethiopia

Karo Warriors, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
Charles Roffey

The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies.

The Karo

The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies. They pulverize locally found white chalk, yellow mineral rock, red iron ore and black charcoal to decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hairbuns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular.

Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed in to produce a raised welt.

According to the Murulle Foundation, the Karo tribes' existence is somewhat precarious today. The inevitability of the encroaching populace and the introduction of modern weaponry has affected their already delicate ecosystem. Being the smallest tribe in the area, this group obviously struggles with direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers, and likely coalitions with one another.

More information about the Karo

  • The Murulle Foundation on the Karo

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Travel offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 17 of 33 below.
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Priest in Green Robe, Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia

Priest in Green Robe, Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Debre Zeyit is a town, close to the capital Addis Ababa, which boasts five crater lakes and is a popular place to unwind for city folk.

Continue to 18 of 33 below.
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Rock-Hewn Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Church in Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Angela Fairbank

Lalibela in is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 19 of 33 below.
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Aksum Steele, Ethiopia

Axum Steele, Ethiopia
© Angela Fairbank

Aksum is Ethiopia's holiest city and an important destination for Orthodox Christian pilgrims who believe the Ark of the Covenant resides here.

Aksum is dense with important religious and historical buildings. The Lonely Planet Guidebook likens it to Egypt's Luxor, without the tour buses. The famous Steles (one seen in this image) is one of the main attractions. There are also churches, palaces, tombs and more to explore.

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Flamingos, Ethiopia

Flamingos, Ethiopia
© Angela Fairbank

Ethiopia is a birders paradise with over 850 species.

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Gelada Baboon, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains, Baboon, Ethiopia
© Charles Roffey

Gelada baboons are very rare and one of the main attractions of the Simien Mountains.

The Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia are one of Africa's highest mountain ranges with peaks often covered in snow. The mountains are popular with trekkers and are considered by many as the most beautiful mountains on the continent.

Continue to 22 of 33 below.
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Woman from Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia

Woman from Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Debre Zeyit is a resort town just south of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Continue to 23 of 33 below.
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Woman with orange shawl, Harar, Ethiopia

Woman with orange shawl, Harar, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 24 of 33 below.
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Mursi Woman, Omo River region, Ethiopia

Image of a Mursi Woman, Omo River Region, Ethiopia.
Charles Roffey

When a young Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is pierced so she can wear a lip plate.

The Mursi

The men practice light scarification on their shoulders after killing an enemy, and shave geometric patterns on their head. During dances and ceremonies they adorn literally every part of their body with white chalk paint. Young unmarried men practice group stick fights. The winner is carried on top of poles to girls waiting beside the arena, who decide among themselves which of them will ask his hand in marriage.

When a young Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is pierced so she can wear a lip plate. The larger the lip plate she can tolerate, the more cattle her bride price will bring for her father.

More information about the Mursi

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Travel offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 25 of 33 below.
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Harar, Ethiopia

Harar, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 26 of 33 below.
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School in Harar, Ethiopia

School in Harar, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 27 of 33 below.
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Women carrying baskets, Harar, Ethiopia

Women carrying baskets, Harar, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Harar is a holy center for Muslims and is situated in Eastern Ethiopia. This walled city is a fascinating place, filled with Islamic and Christian history.

Continue to 28 of 33 below.
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Pilgrim, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Woman, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 29 of 33 below.
29 of 33

Priest, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Priest in beige robes, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 30 of 33 below.
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Karo Boy, Omo River Region, Ethiopia

Karo boy, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

The Omo River Region in Ethiopia is where you can combine a great white-water rafting trip with a visit to some of the most interesting tribes in Africa.

The Karo

The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies. They pulverize locally found white chalk, yellow mineral rock, red iron ore and black charcoal to decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hairbuns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular.

Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed in to produce a raised welt.

According to the Murulle Foundation, the Karo tribe's existence is somewhat precarious today. The inevitability of the encroaching populace and the introduction of modern weaponry has affected their already delicate ecosystem. Being the smallest tribe in the area, this group obviously struggles with direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers, and likely coalitions with one another.

More information about the Karo

  • The Murulle Foundation on the Karo

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Travel offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 31 of 33 below.
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Priest in yellow robe, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Man in yellow robe, Lalibela, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest towns for Orthodox Christians. Established in the 12th Century, Lalibela was built to be the New Jerusalem.

Lalibela, in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock. There are 13 of them and all are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lalibela remains an important site for pilgrims and the town is literally filled with priests wearing impressive, colorful robes. Lalibela is a unique place to visit, whether you're on a religious tour or simply sightseeing.

Continue to 32 of 33 below.
32 of 33

Hamer girl, Omo River Region, Ethiopia

Hamer girl, Omo River Region, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

The Hamer

Several days before the ceremony, initiates pass out invitations in the form of dried knotted grass. The ceremony lasts three days. Late in the afternoon on the final day, ten to thirty bulls are lined up side by side. The naked initiate rushes towards the animal, vaults onto the first bull's back and then runs across the line of animals. At the end of the line he turns back to repeat the performance in the opposite direction. He must make this unstable journey without falling.

The Hamer men have a reputation of being less than adoring husbands. According to photgrapher JP Dutilleux "the women submit to the ritual floggings proudly and love to show the deep scars that are regarded as a proof of devotion to their husbands.

More information about the Hamer

Cultural Tours to the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

  • Omo River Expeditions from Safari Experts. This is 14-day trip down the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia to Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
  • Intrepid Traveler offers a 10 day cultural tour of the Omo River Region in Ethiopia.
  • Photo Safaris offers a 17 day cultural tour where photographing the various tribes in the Omo River region is the focus of the tour.
  • Remote River Expeditions offer a 13 day and a 24 day tour of the Omo River region. This is a white water rafting trip combined with stays in local villages and bird watching.
  • Green Land Tours offers several different itineraries to the Omo River region and will accommodate special requests to view important ceremonies.
Continue to 33 of 33 below.
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Pilgrims on the Holy Route, Ethiopia

Pilgrims on the Holy Route, Ethiopia
© Robert Eilets

Ethiopia is filled with incredible religious historical sights that are still drawing hundreds of pilgrims every day.

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