Omo Valley-South Ethiopia

Posted By on March 1, 2015

The Omo Valley

The Omo Valley is found in the southern Ethiopia, it is more popular with its tribal diversity living.

It is a remarkable region, home to a number of indigenous tribes each with their own traditions and ways of life.

The Mursi tribes are an ethnic group who live in the south of Ethiopia.

They are pastoralist ethnic group in Ethiopia. It is easy to access from the town of Jinka. They are found roughly between the rivers Omo and Mago close to the border with South Sudan. The home of the Mursi is one of the most isolated regions of the country. Due to the climate, they move twice a year between the winter and summer months. They herd cattle and grow crops along the banks of the Omo River.

Their neighbors include the Banna, the Bodi, the Karo, the Kwegu, the Nyangatom and the Suri. They speak the Mursi language as a mother tongue.

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. It is a must-visit if you want to understand Ethiopia more broadly.

The Hamar live in the South at the Omo Valley of Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border.

They inhabit the territory east of the Omo River and have villages in Turmi and Dimeka. Women adorn their necks with heavy polished iron jewelry. The Hamer tribes are pastoralist, semi-nomadic people. The livelihood of Hammer tribes is based on cattle and goats. The Hamar have common traditions and rituals with the surrounding peoples like the Tsamai, Aari, and Banna.

One of the known traditions by the Hamer is the Bull Jumping Ceremony  over the bull; it is the most famous cultural ritual in the Omo. If a young man wants to marry the girl of his choice he will have to jump over bulls.. He is required to jump over them four times: two times in each direction. This culture is becoming known to the outside world.

The Karo people are a small group of people, occupying the left bank of the Omo River. The Karo are a Nilotic ethnic group, they are one of the smallest number of tribes in the region.

The two most important Kara villages are Dous and Korcho, in the villages, people reside in conical huts.

 The most exciting thing about Karo people is the symbolic and ornamental expressions in the painted body and face decorations.

The tribe differentiates from the other tribes by excelling in body and face painting. They paint themselves daily with colored mineral rock, white chalk, and more. The designs change daily and vary in content.

The Karo tribe residing along the borders of the Lower Omo River incorporates cultural symbolism into their rituals by using ornate body art, and body scarification to express beauty and significance within their community.

The Karo tribes practice agriculture. They grow sorghum, beans, and maize. They keep small cattle.

The Dasanech are the most southerly tribe living in Ethiopia’s Omo valley. The lands of the Dasanech are semi-arid and they live where the Omo delta enters Lake Turkana. They practice flood retreat cultivation, pastoralism and fishing. Cattle are central to the lives of the Dasanech. From their cattle, they, get meat, milk, leather for clothing, houses and mattresses.  The number of cattle provides status in the tribe.

Dasanech Women wear a pleated cow skin skirt, necklaces and bracelets; they are usually married at about 17 while men are at 20. Men wear only a checkered cloth around their waist.

Both men and women of the tribe adorn themselves with beads and bracelets. Men can often be seen carrying a small stool or pillow, which is pretty and common in this southern region.

The Banna people are Omotic ethnic group in Ethiopia inhabiting the Lower Omo Valley, primarily between the Weyto and Omo rivers.

They speak Hamer-Banna, which they share substantially with the Hamer. As other local tribes within the lower Omo Valley, the Bena practice routine dancing plus singing.

The Banna people engage primarily in agriculture and supplement this by pastoralist, hunting, and gathering.

About The Author

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