Ethiopia – Wildlife and Indigenous Culture

Ethiopia is a place so full of unique, beautiful and fascinating areas that it is impossible to see it all in one trip. The Unique Wildlife and Indigenous Culture safari is designed to take its travelers on journey to what could be described as Ethiopia’s highlights. Its most well-known and extraordinary places.

A perfect combination of exquisite landscapes, ancient architecture and the pilgrims within, endemic wildlife and bizarre tribesman mean that guests on this epic adventure get to not only experience so much of what Ethiopia is all about but also to test there’s photographic schools in different genres of photography providing an unbeatable learning platform and resulting in a very diverse portfolio.

The three main objectives of this safari are to firstly to capture the ancient churches of the holy city of Lalibela. Pilgrims and priest traverse the old, underground tunnels and pathways with light from the outside keeping through gaps to provide a challenging but enriching photographic experience. We then look toward the Simien Mountains where a wildlife approach is taken whilst we experience the endemic Gelada Baboon and incredibly rare Walia Ibex. Lastly, we get a personal introduction into the lives of the tribes of the Omo Valley. The Hamer, Mursi and Karo tribes are but a few of these fascinating people we will be visiting and photographing. Guide be a local guide as well as a professional Wild Eye photographer you will be immersed in the magical, sometimes tense but rewarding world of portraiture.

This safris truly is the best way to introduce yourself to the features of Ethiopia that has it known for one of the most beautiful and extraordinary places on earth. You will experience, feel and learn more than you ever have…

Lalibela

Lalibela is a town in the Lasta Amhara region of Ethiopia. This antiquity of medieval and post medieval Ethiopia is most known for its monolithic rock churches. Each of the 11 built out of a single piece of rock where the builders dug downward to the height of the church and then dug through the windows and eventually hollowed out the interior.  Until today pilgrims still travel great distance to get to these holy structure and priests pray in and keep the grounds regularly.

Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the 4th century. It is said that Lalibela was built as a representation of Jerusalem itself.

We will be led around these churches by a highly knowledgeable local guide and immerse ourselves in some of the richest history on the continent.

 

Getting there

A short flight after an early morning breakfast in Addis Ababa brings you rioght up to the lowlands of Laliebela. Afterwich it is a short drive up into the mountains and into the area where the churches are found.

Where we are Staying

   

“Maribela” literally means Lalibela in Amharic. This is the title of the beautiful hotel we will be staying in during our stay. Hotel Maribela looks over one of the most beautiful valleys in Africa and its stunning chalets are quite literally built into the mountain side providing breath taking views and the occasional siting of the very rare and beautiful Bearded Vulture.

 Simien Mountains.

The Simien Mountains are without a doubt one of the most scenically beautiful places on earth. Harboring some of the endemic and highly endangered species of Ethiopia it was declared as a protected area in 1969. Now its populations of Gelada Baboons and the rare Walia Ibex are climbing. Walking through these mountains it is hard not to stop every 20 meters to take in the site of these impressive serrated mountain peaks let alone the feeling of sitting amongst hundreds of Gelada Baboons. Being entertained by their antics throughout the day.

 

Getting there

After Lalibela we take another short flight from Lalibela to Gondar after which our 4x4 will pick us up and we embark on about a two-and-a-half-hour drive into the peaks of the Simien mountains.

 Where we are Staying

What Is said to be the highest lodge in Africa, Simien Lodge in itself is a marvel worth driving up to the Simien Mountains for. It’s beautiful thatched chalets are built onto the mountain side in the heart of Simien Mountains National Park, apart from delicious food and a beverage at the highest bar in Africa the greatest thing about Simien lodge is that as soon as you leave your room you are greeted by the beautiful sight of the mountains themselves and if your lucky families of Geladas are known to frequent the lodge and you may watch the beautiful apes from the porch of your room.

   

 Omo Valley

This extraordinary valley lies in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. The tribesman and woman are known to be of the most dramatically and sometimes bizarrely decorated people on earth and their rituals sometimes just as strange. Eight tribes make up the valley and each one, incredible so, is completely different to the next.

Getting there

After a early breakfast at Simien Lodge we dart again for Gondar where we take two flights via Addis Ababa to Jinka. We will be met by a driver and another 4x4 who will drive us to Eco Omo Lodge in Hamer country. The drive usually takes about 4 hours.

Where we are Staying

Buska Lodges

Situated in the heart of Southern Ethiopia in the Omo Valley, Buska Lodge is an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers the best accommodation and meal service in this region. Buska Lodge overlooks the plains of Buska Mountain and has been constructed to blend beautifully in to the natural surroundings. Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hammer community offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley.

   

Eco-Omo Lodge

Deep in the Omo Valley lies this eco-friendly lodge. 20 en-suite safari tents are made up of twins and doubles. This lodge is situated in Ari and Mursi territory and is abeautful base in which we will conduct our daily expeditions into their villages.

Gear Reccomendations.

 This extraordinary expedition through Ethiopia does require some careful packing. The temperature varies from cold enough for a ski-jacket in the Simien Mountains to rather hot in the Omo valley. Light and comfortable clothes as we do a lot of moving around on foot but a warm jacket to cope with the cold mornings and evenings in the Simien Mountains. Good walking/hiking boots will be needed as in Lalibela, Simien Mountains and the Omo Valley we will be walking around a lot. In terms of camera equipment, one is recommended to bring two bodies and in terms of lenses a 70-200 f2.8 will be greatly used for all three destinations. A 24-70mm f2.8 for both wider landscape images and portraiture. For the Walia Ibex a longer length telephoto lens of about 400mm would be good. Depending on space it would help but not be essential to have a portrait lens as well such as a fixed 50mm or 85mm portrait lens. Speed lights for the Omo Valley can also come in handy, especially if you have a TTL transmitter to keep the speedlight off body.

This is why travel with Wild Eye.

  • Three iconic regions of Ethiopia.
  • Lalibela, Simien Mountains and the Omo Valley
  • Expert guidance from local guide and Wild Eye host.
  • Lightroom and photoshop tutoring.
  • Create a diverse portfolio of the flagship mammals of the Simien Mountains, architecture and portraiture of Lalibela and the Omo Valley tribesman.

The Wild Eye Team

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