The Omo valley is located in south western part of Ethiopia. The area had 2 national parks (mago and Omo national parks) with Omo River as source of water for the wide plain area. Omo valley is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups, and cultures: the Dorze, Konso(UNESCO recorded World
heritage site), Derashae, Ari and many more other small tribes. The tribes are mix of small nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples. The Hammer (known for their sense of elegance), surma and mursi (women who wear lip plates by piercing their lower lip) are well known. There are also other tribes live in the area: the bume and karo (known for their body decoration), the geleb (dasench), the bodi, the Elbore, the ari, the benna and the tsemaye. It is the only place in Africa free of any influence of colonization, even isolated from other regions in Ethiopia.
The Mursi and Surma, who mix basic subsistence cultivation with small-scale cattle-herding, lead lives of harsh simplicity, uncluttered by the pressures and anxieties of the modern world outside. They are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. The larger the disc the more desirable the wearer!
The Mursi warriors still follow the custom of carving deep crescent-shaped incision in their arms to show the number of enemies they have killed in battle.
The Surma and Karo utilize various clays and vegetable dyes to trace amazing patterns on one another’s faces, chests, arms and legs. Hamer women wear their hair in dense ringlets smeared with mud and ghee. If they are lucky to find some strips of shiny metal, they add one or two to their hairstyle. Most trendy are the aluminum plate hanging from their foreheads. Jewellery tends to be simple but string- colourful necklaces, chunky metal wrists and armlets, shiny nails appended to skirts, multiple earrings and so on. Karo and Geleb sculpt their hair with mud into extravagant shapes, topped off with a red ocher mud “cap” to hold an ostrich feather or two. Goatskins are plentiful and most women wear leather skirts, often embroidered with colourful beadwork or cut into long strips.