World Expedition has added an itinerary to its calendar that celebrates Christmas in Ethiopian style. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar – the official Christmas Day, called ‘Genna’ is observed on 7 January.
The Hidden Tribes of Ethiopia itinerary departs Addis Ababa on 31 December and travellers should expect to see lots of church-goers dressed in white ‘shammas’ with bright colourful stripes and eat traditional ‘wat’, a thick, spicy meat-and-vegetable stew served on a plate of ‘injera’, the typical Ethiopian spongy flatbread.
This is an extraordinary opportunity to immerse in one of the unique places on earth because of the sheer diversity of tribal groups that live in this remote area.
From Addis Ababa guests will drive to the Omo Valley region and enjoy a boat trip on Lake Chamo to spot hippos and an array of water birds.
For the next few days travelling from village to village, visitors will witness traditional lifestyles. The Mursi traditions, whose women insert large clay plates in their lower lips, and the Hamer, who scar and paint their bodies in a mark of their culture, are incredibly fascinating.
Returning to Addis Ababa at the conclusion of the trip to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas at a traditional church where we can join the locals as they walk around the church three times, in a solemn procession and holding candles.
In addition to Hidden Tribes of Ethiopia, World Expeditions offers two more itineraries in Ethiopia; Ethiopia Explorer, which covers visitor must-sees such as the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the dramatic Blue Nile Falls, and Simien Mountains and Beyond, a trekking trip up in the Ethiopian Highlands.
New for 2018, both trips have added dedicated departures that take in the celebrations of Timkat, Ethiopia’s most spectacular festival, which is observed every year on 19 or 20 January.