South

South

The southern part of Ethiopia gives a visitor a unique experience different from the Northern part of the country. The road to south Ethiopia takes you through the Ethiopian Rift valley, which bisects it in to two. Along the rift there are a string of about seven lakes dotting the floor of the valley and rich in fauna and flora -Lake Zeway, Lake Langano, Lake Abijata, Lake Shalla, Lake Awassa, Lake Abaya, and Lake Chamo. There are other crater lakes and wet lands as you set out of Addis Ababa along this route and encircling the Town of DebreZeit,. Some of them are Lake Koka, Lake Bishoftu, Lake Hora ,Lake Koriftu , Lake Bishoftu Gudda, and Lake Cheleleka . Lake Abijata and Shalla are found with in the territory of Abjata-shalla National Park.
The south Eastern part of Ethiopia is Known for its Beautiful National park (Bale Mountain) and a natural network of cave(Soaf Omar) believed to be about 15 Kilometers long. In Bale Mountains National park a visitor can trek through the pretty lowlands and spot the abundant life or search the high plateau for the world’s rarest canid , the Ethiopian wolf and many more. Along the route to Bale there is established trek route at Adaba and Dodolla. It is heaven for horse riders too and for those who want a greater challenge the trekking connects to the Bale Mountains Park.
To the south west of Ethiopia, in what is known as the Lower Omo valley, there are a vast number of ethnic groups at short distances from one another. The Omo region is believed to be the last great wilderness on the African continent. The Omo River, which waters the region, empties itself in Lake Turkana; the fourth largest lake in East Africa. Some of tribes that live in the Omo and the surrounding region are the Dorze, the Konso, the Tsemai, the Benna,the Ari, the Mursi, the Hamar, the Erbore, the Geleb ( also Known as Dassanech ),the Karo, the Bume ( also known as Nyangatom ) and the Surma.
In the south west of Ethiopia the most important National parks include Netch sar National Park, Mago National park and Omo National park.

The jumping of Bulls is known by the Hamar as Ukuli Bula while it is known by the Karo as Pilla. When preparing himself for the pilla, the Karo initiate (halsh) goes either to the Hamar, the Bana,the Bashada,the Nyangatom ,or the Dassanetch to collect cow. The cow brought from the Dassanetch and Nyangatom are not taken back to their owners but rather remain as gifts for the initiate whereas those cows collected from the Hamar,Bana,and Bashada are returned to the owners after the pilla.

At the same time girls from the clan of the initiate leave for Hamar and Bana to exchange sorghum for milk and butter that are essential for the initiation ritual. The initiate is made to eat porridge mixed with fresh milk and changes his hairstyle.

The bull jumping ceremony is some how similar to that of the Hamar with few differences. When the initiate leaps over the cow, if he falls down from the back of the cow, his failure is attributed to his having had too many sexual relations with girls which is believed to have taken his strength. Women and girls from the clan of the initiate who prepare themselves to be whiped by the Maz tie small bells (tongotonge) on to their waists and hold small calabashes (Gungulo), which is normally used to pour out water and coffee from a pot. But on the day of the initiation the calabash is used to smash the Maz in their foreheads thereby triggering them for the whipping.The Karo pilla is finalized after leaping four times ,however,the number of leaps in the Hamar and Bana is undefined.

The Karo have clan owned Mulda which is quite important in the bull jumping ritual.

The Surma ,who live on the western bank of Omo River along the western edge of Omo National Park, have the Sudan in their west ,the Mursi and Bodi in their East,the Bume in their south and the Majangir in their North. They are about 42 thousand in Number.

The Ari inhabit the northern border of the Mago National Park.

Nilo-Saharan linguistic group,agro-pastoralists,origionally from the larger Surma group, the Mursi are people who moved east from the surmic nucleus and occupied the land between the Omo and Mago rivers.

The Bume are Nilotee (Nilo-Saharan) people who occupy the land which is found immediately south of the Omo National Park. Their present day territory is boarderd by the kwegu and the Mursi in the North, the Karo & the Hamar in the east, the Dassanetch in the South, and the Topossa of the Sudan in the west.

The Karo, with a population of about 1000,are a small group of people who live on the east banks of the Omo River.

The Dassanetch or Geleb are some 22,000 people who inhabit the region around the southern & hence the lower most course of the Omo river reaching to the place where the delta of the Omo river is found close to Lake Turkana.

Hamar who positioned themselves between the Hamitic races (like the Borena and the Konso) and the Nilotic People- because they live in the environs of the great Nile River are subsistence agro-pastoralists with a total population of about over 35,000.

 

Also known as Tsemako, the Tsemay belong to the broad Afro-Asiatic linguistic group and in particular to the lowland east Cushitic family in which the Dassanatch and the Arbore are also part.

Situated on the banks of the seasonal Segen River, the town of Karat-Konso, has roughly 3,000-4,000 inhabitants. It is perched at an elevation of 1,650m and is 90km far from Arbaminch.

Dorze village, which is about 35 Kms from Arbaminch, is situated high up in the misty Guge Mountains.

 

The shores of Omo river have been found to be rich with hominid fossils from the early Pleistocene era and up to the Pliocene era.

The largest closed-basin lake in the East African Rift is Kenya's Lake Turkana.

The Omo river, which flows for about 1000 kilometers long, rises in the Showan highlands more specifically from Mt. Amara and is a perennial river with many tributaries feeding it on its way.

The lower Omo River valley in southwest Ethiopia is one of the last unspoiled wilderness regions in Africa.

The Bale Mountains, which has incalculable international, National and regional value, is the best-Kept secret of Ethiopia.

Sof Omar is one of the most spectacular and extensive underground cave system in the world. Formed by the Weib River, as it changed its course in the distant past and carved out a new channel (a network of about 16 Kms ) through limestone foothills, the Sof Omar system is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.


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