I recently spent a few days in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, visiting a few of the local tribes. It was a fascinating trip, and I was grateful to have had close access to these people. A gallery of some of the portrait photos I took can be found at https://www.silentnomad.com/images/omo/
The Omo Valley tribes are a fascinating people, and a quick intro to them can be found at this external resource https://www.purelifeexperiences.com/blog/tribes-omo-river/
Wandering around the small village of the Kara tribe in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, this old man appeared with striking paint markings, piercing eyes, and beard. It was an interesting look to say the least!
In the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Towards sunset, the goat herders of the Kara tribe were bringing their goats back to the village. With the red of the sunlight filtering through the dust, I jumped straight in with my camera, sometimes through thorns on my hands and knees, but was fortunate to have captured some beautiful scenes.
The Mursi are one of the many tribes in the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. They have an aggressive reputation and keep large herds of cattle, but these days increasingly rely on tourists to obtain money by going that extra mile to decorate themselves. The lip-plates are real, but I am sceptical that the other decorations reflect genuine Mursi culture. Certainly not your every-day-wear but probably used often for special occasions.
The annual Lake Turkana festivities see around a dozen tribes, mainly from northern Kenya, take part in cultural exchanges and traditional dances. It’s quite a fascinating couple of days and provides opportunities to see local tribes who are not normally on a safarist’s bucket list. For example, I found one local El Molo village to be just a few rudimentary huts loosely strewn together, surviving largely through fishing. A dwindling tribe, the El Molo may soon disappear through assimilation and intermarriage with other local tribes.
With the day’s festivities finished and with the onset of twilight, a few miles from the nearest village, the tribes of the Turkana and Samburu dance well into dusk on the windswept shores of Lake Turkana. Seeing the tribes enjoying each other’s company, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that cattle-stealing is causing much strife between the different tribes. But initiatives such as the Lake Turkana festival will help promote trust and understanding.