Omo Valley is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth because of the wide variety of people and animals that inhabit it. It is located in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The region is known for its culture and diversity.
The tribes that live in the lower Omo Valley are believed to be among the most fascinating on the continent of Africa and around the world. Tours are offered to several villages. It is often you come into contact with the following tribes: Arbore, Ari, Banna, Bodi, Bumi, Daasanech, Dorze, Hamer , Karo, Konso, Kwegu , Mursi, Tsemay, and Turkana when you tour the valley.
It is estimated that the Omo Valley is home to over 200,000 tribal people. Among the ancient African tribes that live in the southern part of Ethiopia, there is a wide variety of wildlife as well. Some of the animals that you will find there are the Bitis Arietans (venomous snake), crocodiles and hippopotamuses. The two main national parks in Omo Valley are the Omo National Park and the Mago National Park which are home to the majority of the wildlife in the valley.
The tribal people of the Omo Valley keep cattle, sheep and goats but their unique pastoral way of life is sadly.
The Omo River runs through the valley and empties into Lake Turkana. The river is an important resource and without it the tribes and animals in Southern Ethiopia would not survive.
After the earliest known discovery of Homo Sapien (Human) fossil fragments were found. The lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana which is primarly located in Kenya, have both been declared World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization or (UNESCO).
In the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia live many tribes of people who use amazing body art to adorn themselves for enjoyment and as an artistic expression. They use flowers, leaves, twigs and face and body paint made from natural pigments such as red ochre.
The names of some of the tribes are the Hamar, Mursi, Karo, Arbore, Ari, Banna, Tsemay, Dasenech and e.t.c
The women of the Mursi and Surma tribes practice a custom of extending their lower lips by making a cut into the lip and stretching it by means of an inserted wooden peg and later on by a clay lip plate. As the space between the upper and lower lip is created bigger and bigger lip plates can be worn producing a unique appearance.
Only the girls and women of the tribe wear lip plates and the practice is started six to 12 months before a teenage girl is due to get married. The lower front teeth are removed too.
Where the mouth would be you, end up seeing a circular plate adornment. These plates can be as much as 16 inches in diameter in some women.
The women make their own lip plates and take great pride in their craft. A lip plate is seen as an example of artwork.
The people of the Ethiopian tribes also wear many strings of beads and practice other forms of body modification such as piercing and extending their ear lobes and deliberate scarification of their skin.
Wikipedia informs us that: “The Suri pride themselves on their scars and how many they carry. Women perform scarification by slicing their skin with a razor blade after lifting it with a thorn.”
The tribal people may braid their hair or shave it off or have combinations of shaved areas and parts covered by hair.
The custom of face and body painting in many cases and decorating themselves with plant material and flowers appears to be very much about self-expression and enjoyment rather than any ceremonial purpose.