Hamlin 15-Day Southern Ethiopia 2021

A special insider's tour of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital

Experience the International Women’s Day 5K

Raise vital funds for life-changing work

Challenge Highlights

  • Travel to Ethiopia with Team Hamlin
  • Witness traditional lifestyles of various tribal groups in the Omo Valley
  • Immerse yourself in weekly markets and meeting place of the ancient tribes of Mursi and Karo
  • Spectacular Rift Valley scenery
  • Insider's tour of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital
  • Visit the Hamlin regional hospital and Midwifery Clinic in Yirgalem
  • 2 nights at Aregash Lodge
  • Visit the twin lakes of Abiata and Shalla famous for flamingos and great white pelicans.
  • Take part in one of the best events in Africa: The International Women's Day 5K

Overview

This unique itinerary provides an insider's visit to the famous fistula hospital and the country that Dr Catherine Hamlin has called home for more than half a century.

We begin our journey in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, with three days to explore the city and visit the Fistula Hospital, College of Midwives and Desta Mender. We then fly south to Jinka, the gateway to the Omo Valley and once a crossroad for droves of people migrating through Ethiopia. Today, it is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth given the sheer diversity of tribal groups living in this remote area of the Great Rift Valley. This is an extraordinary opportunity to immerse in the fabric of some of these societies, including the Ari, Mursi, Konso and Karo tribes, each with their distinct culture.

Continue to the Ethiopian regional hospital and midwifery clinic in Yirgalem and enjoy this culturally ancient part of the country famous for its coffee. In a land of contrast, we'll visit the largest market in East Africa, experience a traditional coffee ceremony and if we're lucky, see monkeys and hyenas. The journey concludes back in Addis Ababa with the International Women's Day 5K for a challenging run (or walkl) of 5km, at altitude, with Ethiopians.

This trip of a lifetime will not only have a profound effect on your life but also the lives of so many Ethiopians.

Challenge Grade

The touring element of this trip visits remote areas where facilities are often basic. These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. To enjoy these adventures we suggest reasonable fitness and health, a moderately active lifestyle and a positive attitude. Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.

Itinerary

This evening we will board our Emirates flight to Dubai. Departure time will be advised once registered and we can book flights depending on where you live in Australia.

Meals:  Nil

Arrive in Dubai and connect with Emirates flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be met by our local Ethiopian guide and transferred to your hotel to freshen up and have lunch. Afternoon at leisure. Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast we visit the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital on the western side of the city. We will have morning tea with key personnel and enjoy a tour of the grounds followed by lunch with the nursing and theatre staff. In the evening we will enjoy dinner at one of the most fabulous cultural restaurants in Addis Ababa, where we will sample the food and drink and enjoy traditional dance. Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will visit the world famous Hamlin College of Midwives, meet key staff and tour the grounds. Lunch is at the Juniper cafe; a cafe run by past fistula patients. The afternoon is spent at Desta Mender (Joy Village), a farm and training centre for long term fistula patients. Meet staff and residents and learn about education, reintegration and microfinance programs. Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Jinka. We will visit the Ari village, who are the biggest group in the Omo region. Ari women are famous for their pottery which they sell to support their families. Ari villages have neat compounds in fertile and scenic land with coffee plantations. They have large livestock herds and produce large quantities of honey. Eco-Omo Lodge (Jinka)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we travel to Mago National Park and visit the Mursi people. The Mursi women are famous for the insertion of wooden and terra-cotta discs into the ear lobes and the split and stretching of their lower lips to make room for similar discs. Though these 'lip plates' may appear bizarre to outsiders, the Mursi regard them as signs of beauty. In the afternoon continue to Turmi to visit a Hamer village. The Hamer tribe (also called Hammer or Hamar) is one of the largest groups in the Valley. The Hamer cultivate millet, vegetables, tobacco and cotton as well as raising cattle and goats. They are known for the fine pottery they produce as well as their remarkable hair styling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men don when they have killed a fierce animal. These hair buns stay on for 3-6 months at a time. The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms and decorate their skin with cowry shells. Note: Although not guaranteed, there may be a chance to experience a bull jumping ceremony, a practice of the Hamer Tribe which represents the males transition from childhood to adulthood. Total drive 130kms - approx 3 hours on gravel road 4WD Buska Lodge (Turmi)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will drive to Koricho, a settlement for the Karo ethnic group. With its lofty views over the Omo River and traditional Karo dwellings, this is perhaps the most beautiful tribal village. The Karo people are famous for their body painting, using locally available vegetable pigments traced in fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms, and legs. Karo men, as with neighbouring tribes, are also famous for their unique hairstyle. Continue to Konso for overnight. Drive 185kms - approx 3 hours on gravel road 4WD Kanta Lodge (Konso)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we will visit the Konso tribal village, who have managed to develop a highly specialised agriculture economy and in the process, one of Africa’s most fascinating cultures. We also have the chance to visit the Chief of Konso's house and hopefully meet the Chief himself to learn about the tribe and how they live. Continue to Yirga Alem for overnight. Drive 335kms - approx 6 hours on asphalt road 4WD Aregash Lodge (Yirga Alem)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we visit Yirga Alem Hospital and the midwifery clinic to see the work being done. This afternoon we have a cultural village visit to see the traditional Sidama and in the evening, there will be a coffee ceremony. If time allows, a walk through the nearby forest is worthwhile. The wildlife you can see includes bushbuck, hyena, baboons and colobus. Aregash Lodge (Yirga Alem)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we drive to visit twin lakes Abiata & Shalla, famous for flocks of flamingos and great white pelicans. Abiata is a shallow brackish lake, home to colonies of flamingos. While Lake Shalla is a crater lake that has a depth of about 820 feet and is surrounded by sulphure springs. We plan to take some recommended walks in the areas surrounded by podocarpus and wild fig trees, and full of Columbus Monkeys and many species of birds, seven of which are endemic to Ethiopia. Continue to Langano for overnight. Drive 100kms - approx 2 hours on asphalt road 4WD Sabanna Beach Resort (Langano)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we will drive back to Addis Ababa. Drive 150kms - approx 3 hours on sealed road 4WD Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we'll spend a day exploring Addis Ababa. This morning we visit the historical sites including the National Archaeological Museum, which houses the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, discovered in Ethiopia 40 years ago. We will continue to Mount Entoto which rises to an altitude of 3200m and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Later we'll head out to a mountain community where the women create the Hamlin "Bullets to Beads" jewellery, made from melted down bullet casings found on Ethiopian farm land. Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning women will be transferred to the start line of the International Women’s Day 5km run. As this run is a women only running event, men will be transferred to the finish line and able to cheer their friends on. This event is the experience of a lifetime, competing with the staff at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia with 7000 Ethiopians and some of the best female athletes in the world! For those spectating, you’ll be able to be part of the festive and fun atmosphere and be an awesome support crew. In the evening we will enjoy a celebrations dinner at local restaurant in Addis Ababa. Jupiter Hotel Bole

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning is free before we head to the Makush Art Gallery to check out local artists and do some last minute shopping, followed by an early lunch at the Art Gallery. At midday we check out of our hotel and transfer to Addis Ababa airport for your flight home. Details to be advised once you have registered.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we arrive back home in Australia after a life-changing journey to one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

Meals:  Nil

3-Day Lalibela Add-on

Morning flight to Lalibela to explore one of the most amazing ancient cities in Ethiopia. Lalibela sits on the Ethiopian plateau, at an altitude of 2,600 metres above sea level. Maribela Hotel (Lalibela)

Meals:  B,L,D

In this ancient city of Lalibela there are 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of pink granite rock; they have been classified as one of the wonders of the world. Each church has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. The day is dedicated to visiting both groups of churches and the city itself. Maribela Hotel (Lalibela)

Meals:  B,L,D

After this, there will be a very short drive to Yemrehana Krestos, one of Ethiopia’s most fascinating churches. Built in the 1100’s, this church requires a small hike to reach its location: deep within a cave. Unlike other churches that are carved into cliffs, this church was built on top of the rock from horizontal beams of wood alternating with white stonework in stripes. Inside the church is elaborately decorated with murals that are considered to be some of the oldest artworks in Ethiopia. Afternoon transfer to the airport for return flight to Addis Ababa.

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • Travel with a member of Hamlin from Australia's HQ
  • International airfare with Emirates
  • Domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Jinka
  • Accommodation on twin / double share basis
  • All meals
  • Experienced English speaking local Ethiopian guide
  • All activities, adventures and sightseeing as per itinerary
  • All entrance fees and licenses as per the program
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Private and air conditioned vehicles
  • Celebration dinner

What's Not Included

  • Visa
  • Soft drinks, alcohol and bottled water
  • Items of a personal services, such as phone calls and laundry
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips

What You Carry

  • In your daypack you will need to carry warm clothing, water, camera and personal items such as sunscreen.

Case Study

Your fundraising of $6,000 or more will go a long way in Ethiopia. It can fund life-changing surgery for more than 10 patients, ending their misery, restoring their dignity and giving them a second chance to live to their full potential. It can fund 8 life saving cesarean operations for past fistula patients so that they might have a live baby at last. It can fund the training costs for a local Ethiopian midwifery student who will go back to her village and help the women and girls in her area to give birth safely. Your fundraising will change the lives of many in Ethiopia - it will restore dignity to woman and girls, return mothers to their families and prevent the horror of obstetric fistula in the near future.This life-changing work will have a profoundly positive impact that will be felt deeply in the community and will improve the lives of many more, beyond the patients at the hospital.

Travel Dates

Other Challenge Costs

Lalibela 3-Day Option:USD$700 
Minimum Charity Donation - Fundraising:USD$6000 
Single Supplement:USD$280 

Fast Facts

Trip Dates: DepartReturn
 2 Mar 202116 Mar 2021
Duration:15 Days
Activities:Charity Challenge
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:HF15
Registration Fee:USD$200
Travel Cost:USD$0

In Ethiopia, obstetric fistula is the common outcome of prolonged, obstructed labour that causes permanent internal damage and incontinence. Many patients become social outcasts and their suffering is life-long if untreated. Patients at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital or one of its regional hospitals are treated free of charge.