While the natural wonders found in Ethiopia are spectacular, the chance to visit Ethiopia tribal peoples is unique and a trip to one or more villages is recommended. The Hamer tribes, pastoralists who take great pride in their cattle herds, are known for the famous bull jumping ceremony where a young man must leap across 30 or more bulls while stark naked then turn around and repeat the process 3 to 4 times, all to gain the privilege of taking a wife. Meanwhile the women, with ochre-colored hair, copper bracelets and thick copper necklaces, taunt the men to whip them until bloody gashes appear.
The most widely known tribe due to numerous documentaries is the Mursi, who sport the famous lip plates. Women at about age 20, cut a slit below their lower lip and insert the first of many circular clay plates. Eventually the lip loop will be large enough to hold a 15cm plate increasing her value as a possible marriage partner. The men must also be initiated before marriage by participating in a donga, a stick fight in which two contestants painted with white chalk paste, violently attack each other until one submits and the winner is carried off by a bevy of young girls who will then decide amongst themselves who will marry him. Visit Ethiopia tribes on one of our complete tour packages.