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Great experience

I get a great time in Ethiopia with very open and friendly staff who shows me all around I could... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Tereza S
via mobile

Wonderful trip to the south of Ethiopia that I organized alone with my wife. There are no problems... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Milan, Italy
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All reviews an adventure off the beaten track omo valley tour guide bull jumping ceremony intense experience buska lodge taking pictures one of a kind capital city tongue group of friends tribal groups local guide felt very safe honey wine long drive
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Reviewed 2 May 2018 via mobile

Ohhh what can I possibly say about my Omo Valley Tour organised by Emanuel, other than it being simply incredible!

I was planning to backpack through Ethiopia for 3 weeks with a friend and I knew I had to see the Omo Valley region and the ancient tribes that live here.

I scoured the internet looking for good tour companies to do it with, however I didn’t want to do it with a big tour company, as I didn’t want to visit these villages with a lot of people. Therefore, I wanted to do with a small company, where they can cater to my needs and that I could have a personal experience.

I contacted and corresponded with Emanuel before I landed in Ethiopia and told him my exact requirements for the tour, as my friend and I were interested in specific photographic opportunities, but also wanted to spend long quality time with the tribes, rather than just visiting each tribe for a few minutes and then leaving.
Emanuel was accommodating with all of my requests and made me feel extremely comfortable booking the tour with him.

Once we arrived in Ethiopia, we went to Arba Minch to start the Omo Valley Tour.
Emanuel arranged a personal driver to take us around for the first 3 days and then Emanuel joined us for the last 2 days.
Our personal driver and guide was Kaluu, I couldn’t recommend him enough.
Kaluu looked after us so incredibly well during our time, accommodating us at every instance whatever our requirements were. We felt like he was a father to us.

On our first day we drove from Arba Minch to Turmi to visit the Hamar village. We initially went and saw the weekly Hamar market, where the Hamar tribe sell goods to each other.
Later on in the day, we luckily got to see the Hamar bull jumping ceremony, which was a really unique experience to see the arrangement of the bulls and then a Hamar tribesman jumps over the bulls so that he can get married in the future.

We told Kaluu that we didn’t just want to visit a tribal village, take photos for a few minutes and leave. We really wanted to get to know each tribe well and learn about their lives and the only way to do this was to spend a lot of time with them and as my friend and I are photographers we didn’t want to be rushed, as we wanted to get authentic portraits. Kaluu completely understood our requests.
Therefore, the next day Kaluu took us to see the Karo village really early in the morning and on a day that most tourists groups don’t go. Due to this we had the whole village to ourselves and we ended up spending around 4-5 hours in the Karo village, getting to know all the memebers of the Karo tribe, learning about their way of life and we finally got to take some beautiful portraits of the people there as well.
We had such a beautiful interaction with the Karo tribe that as we were about to leave, one of the Karo boys voluntarily decided to paint our faces in chalk as well.
Later on in the day, we visited the Dassanech tribe, where we had to cross the river on a wooden boat to reach. Like with the Karo tribe, we were once again all alone with the Dassanech tribe with no other tourists and got to see a beautiful sunset over the Dassanech village.

The next day, I finally got to meet Emanuel and we drove all day to get to a Mursi village on top of a mountain. There are many Mursi villages but Emanuel arranged for us to stay overnight at a remote Mursi village that hardly anyone tourists visit. We had the village to ourselves.

We reached the village late at night and camped out. This was an amazing experience, as we stayed right next to the Mursi huts, where Emanuel arranged for a chef to cook us a great three course dinner and then we watched the stars glisten over the rural village. I will truly not forget this night, it was perfect.
The next morning we woke up early morning to watch the sunrise over the Ethiopian plains and got to meet all the Mursi people, the women of the Mursi tribe are famous for having lip plates and stretched ears. We had heard that the Mursi tribe are more aggressive than other tribes, but we didn’t get that impression at all! We met some of the nicest people here and got to take some stunning portraits!

The overall experience in the Omo Valley organised by Emanuel was great.
It can be a really intense place, due to seeing ancient raw life and visiting the tribes can feel like a human safari...however, if you choose, you can have an authentic experience by choosing to stay with the tribes for longer and really get to know them by spending quality time with them. You will have a great experience and witness life like you have never seen before.
Due to these reasons, I will highly recommend Explore Omo Valley Tours, as Emanuel ensures that you leave this region experiencing a unique story in history rather than just another tour.

Please view my photos to get a glimpse of our experience.

Thank KishanthJ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emanuel C, Owner at Explore Omo Valley, responded to this reviewResponded 5 May 2018

Dear Kishanth;
Thank you very much for taking time to write clear details and honestly sharing your experience with other travelers. We really appreciate your approach that focusing on spending time and immersing your self in to the cultures respectfully.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

Emmanuel is good guide and also a great guy.
Almost like a friend, you have known for a long time.
Drivers and the cars were also adequate, considering the lack good vehicules.
Tribes were amazing.. Highlight was the stay in the tents at Banna village.

1  Thank Jaanus K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emanuel C, Owner at Explore Omo Valley, responded to this reviewResponded 7 April 2018

Dear Jaanus,
Thank you for taking time to share your experience with other travelers. I'm very happy to know that you enjoyed your stay us and I'm looking forward to having you again as a gues in the near future.
Once again thank you for choosing us.
Emanuel Cheneke, owner

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Reviewed 9 March 2018

I had a great time in the country of Ethiopia largely due to the service that Emanuel Cheneke provided to my wife & me. We explored the Omo River Valley region for 5 days. Emanuel knew that our time was limited as the typical Omo Valley trip w/ pick-up from Addis Ababa and back usually takes 7-10 days on average. He however aggressively accommodated our schedule as needed.

Sometime in the Western world, we hear negative news about the dangers & instability of various countries in Africa. In addition, there is sometime a fear of wiring money (even a small deposit) to a business owner in a foreign country for a trip whom you haven't met in person. After speaking multiple times with Emanuel on WhatsApp, receiving prompt responses from all my inquiries (despite the country's wifi inconsistencies in remote regions that Emmanuel is faced to sometime deal with in his travels), he proved himself as being a legitimate person & tour guide to trust financially with a deposit & with my future safety in Ethiopia on the ground.

Emanuel knows the Omo River Valley, its people, geographical landscape, various languages & the culture to make your experience not just a safe, but enjoyable one. He is a very personable & tranquil spirited guy. He is very patient & willing to answer all questions that you may have for him along the road journey regarding the Omo Valley and Ethiopia in general. He proved himself as being a guide that not only possessed the skill set & acute knowledge to provide information but also carried the willingness to answer questions along the trip. This combination is a sweet balance that makes him a one of a kind Omo River Valley "go to guide."

My wife & I were picked up from the airport of Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa to start our journey. It took us a while to obtain our visas in the long line & our flight's arrival had also experienced a delay. Nevertheless, when we arrived outside the airport, there was a sign that was still being held visibly in the air that allowed us to safely identify Emanuel's assistant that was set aside to pick us up for our first destination at Arba Minch (an 8 hour trip south from Addis Ababa). We were taken around the corner from the airport for a delicious breakfast as we chose to have all our meals included in our pricing. We connected with Emanuel the next day.

We visited the Dorze, Konso, Hamar & Daasanach ethnic groups of Southern Ethiopia. We were scheduled to also visit the Mursi but the road was temporarily closed. We caught the tail end of a Hamar bull jumping ceremony & were blessed enough to take pics with the young man that successfully jumped the bulls. Our favorite visit was with the Dorze people as we were able to meet the 70 plus year old chief's eldest son whom is set to eventually be the villages's next chief. He was very personable, poised, humble but confident & wise for a young man. He showed us around the Konso compound nestled in the hills & taught us about their culture in a very detailed, passionate & genuine manner. Nothing about the visit was staged as we got life the way that they lived it without the artificial pomp and circumstance.

We also got a chance to take pics of the Hamar people's chief. It was very enlightening to see the detailed scarring on his chest that indicates his successful battles over the years to defend his people. The short boat ride that was needed to be taken across the river to see the Daasanach people was also amazing as we chose to cross the water on the traditional wooden boat rather than the hard plastic option which was just as safe.

Visiting the Konso people in their village was a great experience as well. I found the children in this village to be the most interesting as we danced with them at the end of our journey. I'm an African American & it was clear that they were fascinated and amazed to see an unrecognizable outsider's in their village that looked similar to them. When I asked the Konso guide what the children were saying in their native tongues, he replied that they expressed with great joy, He's a Konso, he's one of us!!

At the end of our trip, my wife & I toured the National Museum of Ethiopia which was awesome. We also had time to shop for souvenirs & unique trinkets to take back home. All of our hotels were comfortable with hot water that didn't run out & internet access which we didn't expect particularly at all of our lodging locations in Ethiopia. If you are concerned about meal options in the Omo River Valley, your worries should melt away. We ate delicious meals during the entire trip. The Paradise Lodge option in Arba Minch was great. My wife & I received VERY inexpensive massages their & also at the Turmi Buska Lodge per the Hamar village portion of our visit.

I was not asked to write a review of my experience. Emanuel is not "that sales guy", but a genuine tour guide that has a genuine heart for the people of the Omo River Valley & his guests. My motivation for writing this review is to calm the nerves of anyone that may have hesitation in pulling the trigger in choosing him as I sincerely feel as if you won't be disappointed! Everyone that is interested in this fascinating region of the Omo Valley truly deserves a world class experience as I had traveling with Emanuel. This will be a trip of a lifetime & you will leave with a very authentic & positive impression of Ethiopia & it's people!!

Thank Travelinfo7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emanuel C, Owner at Explore Omo Valley, responded to this reviewResponded 17 March 2018

Willie and Cam, thank you very much for taking your precious time to write such a warm details and sharing with other travelers the experience you had during your stay with the different here in Omo river valley.
Emany/Emanuel owner of explore omo valley and lead guide.

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Reviewed 22 February 2018 via mobile

We wanted to visit Ethiopia, and in particular to witness some of the many tribes who live in the south of this beautiful country. We found Emany through his website, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to see life in the South Omo Valley with his help and guidance. At all times we felt comfortable and safe, and our driver “Karlu” handled the challenging roads with skill and patience.
We were particularly interested in the domestic life of the tribes, and adored the time we spent visiting the local markets, and trying their traditional foods and drinks. We came away with a better insight aswell as lots of memories,photos and images!Emany is extremely sensitive to the privacy of the tribes and advised us at every stage, so that we did not make careless or unwelcome intrusion.
We began our trip with a visit to the Cultural museum in Jinka, this was an interesting and informative introduction to the tribes we were to visit - we spent time with 6 different tribes. Emany has a good relationship with many of the local people which enabled us to really start to understand how they live and cope with their environment. He was able to answer my string of never-ending questions with care and thought - a truly patient man!
He was easy to communicate with from the UK, met us at the airport and took care of our every need.
The South Omo Valley is a very intense experience, which some may find challenging, however if you wish to witness a fascinating and remote corner of the world, Emany will ensure that you have an authentic view of everyday life.
We left the region having made new friends and with memories we will never forget.
I cannot recommend Emanuel Cheneke highly enough, and if Tripadvisor would allow we would award him 6 stars!

1  Thank jeannine20657
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emanuel C, Owner at Explore Omo Valley, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2018

Dear Jean and Richard;
Thank you for taking your precious time for being honest testimony and sharing your experience with other travelers . I'm happy that you enjoyed your stay and I'm looking forward to having you again to the tribes of omo valley Ethiopia.
Emany: owner and guide

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Reviewed 21 February 2018

When we decided to spend a week in Omo Valley to get the right guide became a main point.
We studied carefully different proposals, but from the very beginning we had the feeling that Emanuel is someone who can understand the needs of people coming from a different culture and used to having a very different kind of life that life is in this part of Ethiopia. Fortunately, our intuition was right.
As we guess, Omo Valley is still a remote place. Despite tourism and internet, to visit a place like Omo Valley give you the opportunity so see and feel something unique. Emanuel has the knowledge and the right contacts to make possible this special experience and to make it enjoyable.
Of course, not everything is perfect in Omo Valley: for starters, in general, you cannot expect similar conditions like in westerner countries; many times the state of the road is really bad; internet doesn´t worth properly; even when you stay in lodges hot water is not always available; and sometimes it is very hot and to get cold drinks is not so easy.
Well, we have to say that Emanuel could made the down sides became unimportant. From the first moment, he made all efforts to understand our needs and fill our expectations. He really paid attention to details that made us to forget any inconvenience. He choose a very good driver, who was always careful and very kind to us. We had to say that both of them: Said, the driver, and Emanuel knew very well how to find the balance to pay us attention and to let us to keep our privacy. They really master this point.
We have to say that Emanuel respected fully our deal and all the terms agreed in advance and made all kind of efforts to deliver us a service that was always according to our expectations. We can say that with his proactive attitude he could compensate any inconvenience; after all, those are irrelevant and in fact are a part of the adventure.
We fully recommend Emanuel as a guide. Of course, if we decide to go again to Omo Valley, we will contact him.
So, we have to say many thanks Emanuel for the enjoyable experience and for the unforgettable remembering that we keep always with us, this memories are valuables that are going to be part of us forever and that can’t be paid with any money.

Thanks very much,
Montse and Vincent

1  Thank Vincent d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emanuel C, Owner at Explore Omo Valley, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2018

Dear Vincent and Montse;
Thank you very much for giving us a perfect rating/recommending and for sharing your experiences with other travelers from around the world.
Once again thank you very much for your time

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