A Look at Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Omo Valley, Ethiopia is located in south west Ethiopia, in central eastern Africa, and is formed around the Omo river. The river is 760 kilometers long, and runs through the Omo and Mago National parks. The valley itself is significant for being inhabited by many diverse ethnic groups and cultures such as the Dizi, Suri, Me’en, Nygangatom, and the Mursi.
Historically, the Omo Valley is significant for being the location of hominid fossil findings that date back to the Pleistocene era. In the present day, the area is home to many varied animal species such as the crocodile and hippopotamus. As of 2010, there is a large dam building construction project underway for the area. There is some controversy surrounding the building project, as there are fears it will displace the people and animals who live in the area. The dam aims to be a major source of electricity generation for the Ethiopian people.
Located near Omo Valley, Lake Turkana is a tributary of the Omo River. It has a very high evaporation rate, is filled with salt water, and is known as the largest desert lake in the world. There is a national park on the lake, though it is located in neighboring Kenya. The Omo River area is prone to flooding during the rainy season, and in 2006 there was a large flood that killed 456 people. The rainy season typically ends in late August or early September.
Omo Valley, Ethiopia supports many different villages as well as varied cultures. One village, Cencha, is home to the Dorze, who build houses with tall domes out of thatch and bamboo. The interesting people and beautiful landscape of Omo Valley make it a popular tourist destination. There are companies offering tours in the area, and the river is a great destination for white-water rafting starting in mid to late September.