The tiny market town of Jinka itself is not a large spot on the map. Its charm and appeal are mostly due to the slow pace and authentic experience of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Regions. Jinka is, however, the gateway to one of Ethiopia’s prized natural attractions, Omo National Park and the Omo Valley. The park is prohibitively remote for most, but Ker & Downey specializes in accessing these far-flung jewels, and bringing our clients in contact with the world’s more rarified experiences.
Omo National Park covers over 1,500 square miles on the west bank of the Omo River. The lower reaches of the river were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 upon the discovery of homo sapiens remains dating back 195,000 years, the earliest such fossils ever discovered. This discovery and others like it are why many consider Ethiopia to be the birthplace of the human species. The cultures that followed these earliest humans have a unique blend of religions, economies, and lifestyles, each drawing on the land’s deep history.
Mago National Park, a riparian wetland and riverine forest, is also nearby. Bounded by the Tama River, Mago River, and Lake Dipa, the National Park and neighboring Tama Wildlife Preserve are home to rare bird species and some of the most iconic native peoples of the Ethiopian plains.
Birders visiting the Omo Valley will be able to count the species of the southern Ethiopia among the most exotic on their list. The dusky babbler in particular is among the most rare and exciting.
Your Ker & Downey guide can introduce you to the various indigenous cultures in among the parks of the Omo Valley. Among them are the famed Mursi people, whose tradition of inserting clay discs into their lips has made them the subject of research, photography, and fascination the world over.
Contact Ker & Downey to learn more about the journey that awaits you in the remote outposts of the birthplace of humanity.