To Jinka: Day 3 of 10 day Omo Valley trip

Trip Start Jun 24, 2005
Trip End Nov 01, 2005

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Arba Minch to Jinka (via Konso and Weyto)

Drove about 3 hours around the south coast of Lake Chamoh to Konso where we took a tea break at a hotel.

It was about the muddiest town I've ever seen (maybe a time of year thing?). We didn't really visit the town other than the rest stop.

Konso women wear a long skirt with matching fringe tied around the waist. Saw women with the most enormous loads of wood on their backs.

As we drove out of town we passed what looked like an aid distribution station with a huge pile of sacks of grain from USA. We pass Konso "village" on a distant picturesque hillside.

In general the whole country uses wood to cook their evening meal and this has lead to denuding of the forests and lots of terrible erosion problems.

The road descended into the Omo Valley, an enormously wide, flat, valley. Very hot and dry in contrast to cool, wet Arba Minch and Konso.

Stopped for lunch in a dusty little crossroad village of Weyto. A really sad, inhospitable looking place. The dirt floor café had rickety chairs, and cooking only over a wood fire. But they made us edible pasta that, most importantly, had no ill effects. Drove on to our first village visit (not far...still Weyto?). Paid 30 Birr "entrance" fee (per vehicle). Mobbed by about 20 villagers, mainly young and children but also one old lady in tribal dress with wild hair. Visit the mud/stick house of a young couple. He was 20 yrs old, she was 25. One baby girl. He spoke some English and said he was in grade 8 and she was in grade 3. Not clear if they still go to school but seems unlikely. Village had a school and a teacher. Teacher's house looks to be the best in town.

Drove on to our overnight destination of Jinka. Scenery again becomes lush and green as we climb out of the Omo Valley. Jinka is like a wild west town where the tourists and tribes come together. A grass airplane landing strip is down the middle of the main street. Planes come twice a week so they move the cows and goats for the landings and takeoffs.

All tourist hotels appeared full and so we look at the hotel the drivers stay at. Very cheap and rooms OK but the shared toilets/shower look awful and there are some tough, scary looking types staying there. The German guy takes a room but Gary and I decide to look for a campsite. We stop again at a previous hotel and 2 rooms magically appear. (with ensuites 150 Birr each). Very accommodating guy at reception helps me burn my photos onto a CD (who says technology isn't everywhere?). Gary's toilet doesn't flush. Neither of our hot water heaters work. Minor stuff.
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