Kibish

Top choice village in Southwest Omo Valley

The main settlement in this area is the colourful village of Kibish. Set in a bowl in the forested hills, it is a fascinating place populated by the striking Surmi people. Photographing the Surmi attracts a fee of Birr5 per photo of an adult and Birr4 per photo of a child. Photographers likely to take a lot of photos will be better off negotiating a fee for unlimited photos over a set period of time (Birr40 for 10 minutes per person is fair).

Days spent in Kibish will be filled with visits to small surrounding villages (extra village entry fees apply), and evenings bathing in the river. It might not sound like much, but trust us. It is.

But a word of warning: While we were last in Ethiopia, a group of tourists were attacked along the track from Tum to Kibish. In what appears to have been a robbery gone wrong, a local driver for the group was shot and killed and others in the party were injured. Although reports were still sketchy, it appears that the group was travelling without an armed escort. As a result of this tragedy, the government closed all access to Kibish for an indefinite period. When it reopens, you should always check the security situation in the area before travelling, and always travel with an armed escort.

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