karoThe Karo, which number only about 3,000 people, mainly live on the practice of flood retreat
cultivation on the banks of the Omo River in southwestern

Ethiopia.The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies, they decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hair buns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular. Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed to produce a raised welt.

Being the smallest tribe I the area, this group obviously struggles which direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers, and likely coalitions with one another.

The Hamar People

hamerTruly the stars of the Omo Valley, the gracious people of the Hamer tribe offer amazing cultural experiences for the visitor. The Hamer women are easily spotted with their characteristic hairstyle – long dread-like ringlets formed by mud and butter. They take pride in their dress and accessories, and win the prize as the most decorated of the Omo people.

Almost nightly, the young Hamer men and women join for their local dance, known as Evangadi. A sort of “Hamer night club”, the event serves as a meeting place for young Hamer bachelors and bachelorettes to mingle and dance with each other.

The most unique ceremony is the pre-wedding event, known as Jumping of the Bulls. This traditional ritual is a sort of coming-of-age for Hamer boys wishing to marry. Several bulls are placed in a line while the young man, wearing the clothes he was born with, jumps on the backs and over the entire line of these large, patient beasts. This is a truly impressive festival that one can only be lucky enough to witness.