- About VAST
- About Ethiopia
- VAST Cares
Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnicities living within its borders, all speaking different languages and practicing different customs. VAST’s Southern Cultural Route takes travelers to the heart of the most remote tribes, whose animist beliefs strike a chord with the true African experience.
We start in Addis Ababa and drive south to visit the Gurage people and visit various archaeological sites and a rock-hewn church reminding us just how far south the Christian kings extended their religion. We continue south and visit the Dorze people who live high above Arba Minch in the Guge Mountains. After returning to the Rift Valley, we take a look at the Nechisar National Park.
From Arba Minch we journey in the Omo Valley and its main town, Jinka. The road through the Omo Valley brings you closer to dozens of different tribes who for centuries lived isolation from the rest of the world, but who’s future is now more and more connected not only to global tourism but also the Ethiopian government’s interest in the fertile lands around the Omo River. Over the next decades, the Karo, Hamer, Erbore, Surma, and the famous Mursi will all face decisions on how to carry their people forward in the face of a changing world. Here today, the traveler can still catch a glimpse of the past.
Each tribe has its own distinctive characteristics and traditional ways of life. For example, the Mursi and Surma are famous for lip plates, while the Arbore and Hamer, for body painting and scarring.
VAST believes that each culture, each tribe is a treasure. We strive to treat the people as well as their lands with the utmost respect. VAST only uses local tour associations that benefit the entire tribe or village. A delicate balance of respect, development and preservation is necessary to preserve what has existed for so long.