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The rarely visited Southwest region of Gambella is an excellent alternative for cultural tourism for travelers who have already been to the tribal villages of South Omo or who prefer to see something less affected by mass tourism.
This off-the-beaten-track takes visitors through the middle of Oromia, passing first through the Gurage region southwest of Addis Ababa and then through the Gibe river valley to Jimma, an evergreen region of Ethiopia steeped in culture and history, much of which has to do with coffee.
Spend the afternoon in one of Ethiopia’s largest coffee plantation in the same mountains where coffee Arabica was discovered. Here you will see how Ethiopians grow, harvest and produce coffee for export as and the domestic market.
The tour continues through the green highlands of the Oromia region where smallholder farmers grow and harvest their own coffee. Day three takes visitors to the Sor Waterfall, one of Ethiopia’s biggest, for lunch on the banks of the Sor river. The half-day trek gives travelers a chance to stretch their legs and hike away from the main road.
By the fourth day, the group descends to an altitude of 500 meters to the city of Gambella. Here the Baró river ambles through the town and locals are attuned to a slower pace of life matched with the river.
The next two days are spent on day-tours outside of Gambella visiting Nuer and Anuwak villages. The two tribes have been sharing the Gambella area for centuries and until recently have not always lived peacefully. Recently, the tribesmen have struck a peace agreement and for the last several years, the quality of life has increased.
The Southwest of Ethiopia is a tour through a region of Ethiopia unaccustomed to tour groups and photography. The tribes of Gambella continue to exhibit a purity of interest in visitors showing the same interest in their customs and trades.