We left Jinka and headed to Mago National Park, where the Mursi live, to discover and learn more about their culture. The Mursi tribe are probably the most famous and identifiable of the Omo valley region. The plan was to actually camp in the village, however Andrew had woken up pretty ill with food poisoning and the flu, so we had to unfortunately scrap that plan and spend that night in Jinka resting up.W e still had over two weeks of travelling to do, so we needed to be in tip-top shape. I guess that's part of travelling though - not everything will always go to plan! But we still headed into Mago NP and were able to spend some time with the Mursi, which was again a really amazing experience.
The Mursi are a small and unique tribe, who are probably most famous for their lip plates and highly decorative dress. They are also probably the most popular when it comes to visitors due to their distinct looks. At around the age of 16, girls insert a small cut in their lower lip and gradually start stretching it out. The larger the plate, the more she is worth when it comes to marrying. There is also another theory that the women did this in order to disfigure themselves in a bid to prevent slave traders from capturing them. Whatever the reason, it is a very striking look!
Before we visited the Mursi village, we heard from other travellers that they were the most intense, demanding photos and then payment fro those photos. So we weren't really sure of what to expect. However I think we were really lucky, in again we visited a smaller and less frequented village, so we didn't experience that at all. I'll add too, that we never took photos straight away, and I would highly recommend this when visiting any village. Although tempting it may be with all of the stunning people and culture, take some time out to just sit with the people, learn about them and build a bit of rapport. This makes a huge difference! And as simple as it may sound, a lot of people start snapping straight away (and I'm not bagging out other travellers at all here, it's just observation) which can change the vibe and affect your interaction with the villagers.
Sadly too, this was our last stop in our grand Omo adventure, and we really didn't want it to end! But there were plenty more of amazing sights and experience to be had around the rest of Ethiopia!
next: making our way back to Addis Ababa via Arba Minch.