November 8 to 20, 2015
Visit the photo gallery
The Omo River Valley in Ethiopia is an extraordinary destination for cultural photography. It is truly like going back in time 20,000 years. Join Jim for this adventurous photo tour to take pictures of a variety of primitive tribes in their natural habitat. We arrive in Addis Ababa, overnight, and then head south to visit many villages representing tribes with extremely unique customs, dances, adornments, and histories, such as the Mursi, Karo, Hamar, Erbore, Thamay, and Danessech. The photography is second to none. You won't believe the incredible pictures you'll be taking, and your friends back home will be incredulous. This is an experience of a lifetime.
In addition to people photography, Ethiopia has over 840 species of birds, and you will see many of them. It is a birder's paradise, so bring your longest lens to capture some of the stunning species like the magnificent crimson bee eater, red checked cordon bleu, sacred ibis, goliath heron, black kite, and the malachite kingfisher. In addition, you will undoubtedly have opportunities to photograph other wildlife such as baboons, colobus monkeys, and crocodiles.
Please note: This trip is not for everyone. If you need creature comforts when you travel, do not sign up for this photo tour. Except for the first and last nights, which will be in a Hilton, the rest of the trip is camping simply because there are no hotels in the tribal areas. This is the real African bush, and you are far from civilization. That's what makes this experience so compelling. You are provided a tent that can be zippered shut, a mattress, a sleeping bag, and the meals are simple but tasty and well prepared. A bush shower is set up every evening (this consists of a 5 gallon container of warm water that flows through a shower head in a private enclosed area), and hygiene is a top priority. We will have electricity to charge camera batteries, laptop computers, etc. via the generators provided by the local tour operator. Our drivers set up and break down the camp when we move to another location. The dirt and gravel roads are not good, the dust is ever present, and in this kind of rugged environment you have to have a sense of humor as well as patience and understanding. If you are a complainer, if you have a low tolerance for things that don't go your way, if you don't like unexpected challenges when you travel, please do not sign up for this tour.
If this is the kind of tour that appeals to you, however, and you are ready to take the most incredible travel pictures ever and to experience cultures that few outsiders have the privilege of seeing and photographing, then you'll be thrilled with this photo tour. You will be required to have medical evacuation insurance (just in case) plus the required vaccinations recommended by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. If you need to stay in touch with business associates, friends, or family back home, you will need a satellite phone.
The temperatures should generally be in the middle 80's in the day and mid to low 70's at night. November is the dry season in Ethiopia.
Day 1, Sunday; Nov. 8. Depart the U.S. and cross the Atlantic to arrive in Ethiopia the next day.
Day 2, Monday; Nov. 9. Arrive in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. If you have the energy, you can visit the National Museum of Ethiopia to see and photograph, among many fascinating displays, the 3.2 million old fossil remains of Lucy. We have our welcome dinner this evening to meet and discuss the upcoming adventure. Overnight Hilton Addis Ababa.
Days 3 through 11; Nov. 10 - 18. We depart Addis Ababa and head south in the Omo River Valley. We will have several vehicles, and we visit many villages and photograph a variety of tribes. We can photograph the people in their homes, we'll do closeup portraits of adults and children, and Jim will also setup some of our models against black velvet for stunning portraits. We take advantage of the best light when possible, of course. We will also have opportunities to photograph exotic African birds, landscapes, and macro subjects. We don't have a set day-by-day itinerary because there are factors that can change our schedule such as weather, road conditions, and tribal sensibilities.
Day 12, Thursday; Nov. 19. We head back to Addis Ababa today and have part of the day at leisure. In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner and overnight at the Hilton Hotel Addis Ababa.
Day 13, Friday; Nov. 20. We are transferred to the airport this morning for the flight home, knowing how lucky you were to have witnessed and photographed among the most unique cultures on earth.
If you want to extend your trip to visit the northern part of the country, Jim can arrange an excursion for you.
Tour price: $6950. Includes all nights lodging, all meals throughout the tour, all ground transportation, all camping equipment, all tips to local tribes people, and photo instruction.
Single supplement: $400
Not included: Visa on arrival fee, international airfare, alcoholic beverages, medical evacuation insurance, items of a personal nature.