Southern Ethiopia is a canvas ripped in two. Its landscape is being torn apart by the Great Rift Valley, leaving a trail of lakes where you can go see crocodiles, hippos and birds – or just drink in the scenery from your hotel.
Move east and the Bale Mountains offer rewarding treks across a plateau amid Afro-alpine plants and rare wildlife. It’s here you’ll encounter the world’s rarest canid, the Ethiopian wolf.
But it’s the tribes of the Lower Omo Valley, such as the lip-stretching Mursi and body-painting Karo, that often leave the deepest impression on visitors. To meet them 20 years ago was nearly unheard of. To travel here today is very easy, but still a privilege. And if you really want to get away from it all, you can cross the Omo River and explore the Omo National Park, which feels like the world's end.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Ethiopia.