The Omo National Park, home to wildlife and tribes

One of the biggest but very remote parks

Elephants in Omo National Park, Ethiopia

Elephant family

The Omo National Park is located on the west bank of the River Omo and running next to the border with the Sudan.

It is little-known and rarely visited, usually by trekkers.

This region is home to different ethnic tribes, still living their traditional way of life, and also to a large variety of wild animals including Eland, Oryx, Burchell’s zebra, Lelwel Hartebeest, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, waterbuck, kudu, lions, leopards and cheetah.

Surma people

Surma tribe woman, with labial plate and baby, in Omo National Park, South West Ethiopia

Surma Lady

Although not easy to access, it is possible to visit it by trekking through the territory of the Surma tribe, a people of Nilotic origin, similar to the Mursi on the eastern banks.

Like the Mursi, the Surma women wear a disk in their lower lips and dye their bodies with white-colored decorations.

Omo River

Buffalo in Omo National Park South Ethiopia


The Omo River tumbles its 350-kilometre way through a steep inaccessible valley before slowing its pace as it nears the lowlands and then meanders through flat, semi-desert bush, eventually running into Lake Turkana.

Since 1973, the river has proved a major attraction for white-water rafters. The season for rafting is between September and October, when the river is still high from the June to September rains even though the weather is drier.

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