Photo : Karo Women © G.Pfannmüller

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  • Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris
    P.O. Box 3658, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Tel. 251-111-552128/558591/551127
    Fax. 251-111-550298
    addisoffice@ervsafaris.com

    Adventure Travellers' Insights:

    "Ethiopia is a fascinating, African country full of contrasts in landscape, culture and the people's way of living. From the deepest original Africa in the South, to the North with it's religious places, the country abounds in cultural history. No flow of tourists has yet left any marks. The versatility and beauty of the wildlife can hardly be bigger. A tour of several weeks through a wonderful and charming country with its deeply religious, natural and very friendly people was an inextinguishable experience. A great contribution to that was the perfect organization by Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris in Addis Ababa. Thank you!"
    MR. WOLFGANG SIEBERT - ADVENTURE TRAVELLER, Aachen, Germany - wolfg.siebert@gmx.de

    "In October of 2000 we spent two weeks driving the roads of Ethiopia on a tour arranged by ERVS. Our entire trip was arranged via email. ERVS put together sample itineraries that took into consideration our personal interests. Alternatives were suggested so that we could make the most of our time in the country. Our guide, Dawit Yehualashet, was outstanding and all our drivers handled the surprises of the road with great skill and our many requests for photo stops with alacrity! Ethiopia is a magnificent country... full of breathtaking landscapes and welcoming people. The planning done by ERVS allowed us the flexibility we desire when travelling. We would be happy to act as references for ERVS."
    MR. & MRS. BILL PARNETA - ADVENTURE TRAVELLERS
    , Vancouver, BC. Canada - bparneta@telus.net

    "A step back in time would be an appropriate title for this incredible trip to the Omo Valley with ERVS. Worth every bump on the miserable roads down to the Omo area, a visit to see the Karo, Hamar, Mursi and Bume peoples is an opportunity of a lifetime! ERVS' Murulle Omo Explorer's Lodge provides a comfortable spot in the middle of "no where" to call home for a week or two while you meet some of the most exotic and beautiful people of Africa. The sweet memories of the times spent laughing and singing with the beautiful children of the Karo tribe will stay with us always! Each bungalow has screening on the windows, toilet en suite, marvelously clean and comfortable beds and fresh bottles of purified water on your night table every day! Meals are simple - and fresh - more than adequate, and the chef, Mr. Wolde aims to please, as do all the workers in this camp! There's nothing fancy here, but who needs it? If you want the Ritz, go to Paris. If you want to be surrounded by pure, raw, unadulterated beauty, a trip to the Omo Valley and the ERVS Lodge is a 'must'."
    MR. & MRS. IRA MARGOLIES - ADVENTURE TRAVELLERS, Rockville Center, New York, USA - bamargolies@erols.com

    Photo : Satisfied Clients © B.Wagner


    Journalists Reviews:

    "Even among those who are drawn again and again to Africa for its timeless, natural, raw, beauty, Ethiopia is all too rarely considered an obvious destination for a wildlife safari. Yet ironically, it is its off-the beaten track status, accentuated by misleading and generally negative media coverage, that has made it one of the best kept secrets for adventure tourism.

    In the southwestern corner of this vast country, one can do no better than head for the Omo River Valley, where the fast flowing steeply banked river meanders down to Lake Turkana on the Kenya border and where the endemic mammals, reptiles and birds of East Arica share a harsh but beguiling landscape with indigenous agro-pastoral ethnic groups whose way of life has remained largely untouched by western materialism. Unlike many of the private game reserves of Southern and East Africa where game rangers use modern communications to locate animals and "deliver" them to their guests' camera lenses, in the Omo Valley nothing is choreographed for the visitor and therein lies its charm.

    At Murulle, ERVS' concession which is larger than two English counties or the American states of Rhode Island or Delaware, a safari is like stepping back half a century or more to an Africa when tourism was in its infancy. Indeed, on our recent visit we encountered less than a handful of foreigners in an entire week. Murulle Omo Explorer's Lodge is the perfect safari venue for those who are tired of sharing their precious holidays with people whose interest in Africa is limited to simply ticking off species on a list in the shortest possible time. It is also a refreshing change from better known places where game rangers insist that your wildlife experience take place within the confinement of a vehicle. At Murulle, you can cut yourself from the pressures and problems of the 21st century and simply savour nature as it "happens" in front of you, always unpredictable, but invariably life-enhancing: one moment it could be the silent pursuit of a hungry lioness creeping up on some lesser kudu on a hilltop in the light of dawn, another might be the moon rising over bushland decorated with eight-metre high ant hills whose flamboyant shapes are worthy of a crowd-pulling exhibition at any modern art gallery; still another when you're rowing down a mighty river under the gaze of six-metre long crocodiles, only to be beckoned ashore by friendly Karo tribesmen and women for a chat and a drink."
    RICHARD PARIS - Associate Publisher, Business in Africa magazine, London - Businessinafrica@compuserve.com


    Guidebooks:

  • EXCERPTS FROM: THE LONELY PLANET TRAVEL GUIDEBOOK ON ETHIOPIA, ERITREA & DJIBOUTI

    "SOUTH OF ADDIS ABABA - LOWER OMO VALLEY" (Page 240)
    "A worthwhile detour is to the camp of Murulle. Here Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris has established a beautiful, shady camp on the banks of the Omo. Facilities include a restaurant (usually for clients only), safari cars and boats. There are also rather pricey but very comfortable bungalows (with private bathroom). Camping costs US$8 per person (no charge for Ethiopian drivers and guides.) Reservations in Addis Ababa are essential; you can't just roll up."

    "GETTING AROUND - ORGANISED TOURS" (Page 127)
    "Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris (tel: 55-21-28, fax: 55-02-98, Email: ervs@telecom.net.et) originally began as a hunting outfit, but now offers various upmarket tours. Its speciality, however, is still the Omo valley, where it offers photo safaris, wildlife viewing and visits to ethnic group. Nassos Roussos' experience of animal tracking is unsurpassable; his wife, Susan, runs the agency with American efficiency and attention to detail. Still the only agency with a camp in the region and its own airstrip, it's a great choice if you're interested in this area, and can afford the prices."

    The Lonely Planet - Ethiopia, Eritrea & Djibouti
    1st Edition - November 2000
    Published by: Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd
    ISBN 0 86442 292 X
    Text by: Frances Linzee Gordon
    www.lonelyplanet.com

  • EXCERPTS FROM: BRADT PUBLICATIONS GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA - REPRINT 1997

    "INTRODUCTION" (Pages IX & XI)
    "In July 1994, I found myself flying to Addis Ababa to research this guide. In the months that followed, I discovered Ethiopia to be every bit as fantastic as I had hoped: culturally, historically and scenically, it is the most extraordinary country I have ever visited. And since returning home, infatuated to the point of obsession, I have discovered that it is impossible to talk about Ethiopia without first saying what it is not. Ethiopia has become practically synonymous with famine and desert, to the extent that the sales manager of Ethiopian Airlines' Johannesburg office regularly receives tactful enquiries about what, if any, food is served on their flights."

    "Ethiopia is a true revelation. It is the most welcoming, enjoyable and uplifting country I have ever visited."

    "And in case you're wondering, there's really no need to pack sandwiches for the flight."

    "GETTING THERE AND AWAY - THE SOUTHERN RIFT VALLEY" (Pages 235-6)
    "Omo and Mago are not parks to visit if you're a first-time visitor to Africa hoping for a few quick snaps of lion and elephant. Any visit to the area should be treated as an expedition, and the parks will be most attractive to visitors who want to see a holistic picture of the African wilderness as it was before the colonial era and the more recent influx of mass tourism."

    "The acknowledged specialist in the Omo Valley is Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris, which is run by a Greek who has been working in the Omo area for more than a decade and who is said to know the area better than any Ethiopian. The company has a permanent camp on the banks of the Omo River, which can only be booked if you organize a safari through them. They prefer to do fly-down safaris as they keep a permanent vehicle at the base camp."

    Guidebook to Ethiopia
    Reprinted 1997
    Published by: Bradt Publications
    Text by: Philip Briggs
    www.bradt-travelguides.com
    info@bradt-travelguides.com

  • EXCERPTS FROM: BRADT PUBLICATIONS GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA - REPRINT 2002

    "INTRODUCTION" (Pages IX & XI)

    "TOUR OPERATORS IN ETHIOPIA" (Page 72)
    "This highly regarded company owns the only permanent lodge in South Omo and specializes in upmarket safaris to this region, inclusive of game drives, game walks and river rafting. Not for the impecunious, but otherwise highly recommended."

    "PLANNING YOUR TRIP" (Page 450-1)
    "Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris which owns Murelle Lodge and has 20 years' experience in the region to its credit, advises strongly against traveling during April and May, when the big rains usually fall."

    " The next best thing (to driving) however, is one of the exclusive South Omo charter packages offered by Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris based out of their lodge at Murelle, the only tourist-class accommodation in the region. These packages involve flying directly from Addis Ababa to the airstrip at Murelle, which cuts your exposure to South Omo's bumpy roads. For a package of this sort you're looking at around US$300 per person per day all-inclusive for a group of six to eight - the price will obviously shoot up for smaller groups. See Murelle Lodge on page 470 for contact details."

    "MURELLE AND SURROUNDS" (Page 470)
    "Situated on the eastern bank of the Omo River some 55 kms north of Omorate and a similar distance northwest of Turmi, Murelle Lodge is the one set-up in South Omo to which the term upmarket could conceivably be applied. It thus forms the normal base for fly-in tours of the region, and for any other visitors who don't fancy camping or sampling the rustic delights of the South Omo's local hostelries. The lodge is conveniently situated along the road from Turmi or Omorate to Mago National Park and Jinka, for which reason the adjoining campsite is a popular overnight stop with camping trips. For visitors on an extended tour of South Omo, the main local attractions are the Karo villages of Kolcho and Dus, and the Bumi village of Kangatan, all of which lie within an hour's drive of Murelle. For visitors basing themselves out of Murelle, the towns of Turmi, Dimeka and Omorate form feasible day trips, while Mago National Park and its Mursi villages can be visited as an overnight camping trip from the lodge, or en route to or from Jinka."

    "WHERE TO STAY AND EAT" (Page 470)
    Murelle Lodge
    "Bookings through Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris (ERVS), PO Box 3658, Addis Ababa; tel: 01-552128/8591/1127; fax: 01-550298; email: ervs@telecom.net.et; web: www.ethiopianriftvalleysafaris.com. Set in a shady riverine grove fringing the Omo River, this attractive and comfortable lodge consists of ten cool, airy bungalows with shady verandas and en-suite showers and toilet. The lodge lies in the heart of the Murelle Hunting Concession, an area where wildlife, though hardly prolific is far more visible than in any other unprotected part of South Omo. The grounds are a delight: guereza monkies swing by on a daily basis, and birds are everywhere - notably the colourful and vociferous black-headed bush-shrike. A certain authenticity is added to the atmosphere by the nocturnal roaring of the Abyssinian lions (refugees from a zoo in Addis Ababa) that live in a cage next to the camp!"

    "Originally built as a hunting camp, Murelle Lodge now primarily caters to the ecotourism market, and is used by ERVS as the base for a variety of all-inclusive, exclusive and costly packages, ranging from fly-in charters that land right at the nearby airstrip, to drive-down trips out of Addis Ababa. Activities include game drives and nature walks with a tracker, seasonal boat trips on the Omo River, and of course visits to nearby and more remote traditional villages. The food is good, with a strong Italian flavour and refrigerated soft drinks and beers are available to lodge guests. Accommodation is available to visitors who are not on an ERVS package, but it must be pre-booked in Addis Ababa."

    Murelle Campsite "A leafy campsite, also owned by ERVS, lies right alongside the lodge. It is by far the nicest place to camp in South Omo, and well worth the charge of US$8 per person per night. Unlike the lodge, no advance booking is necessary, but it is important that campers are self-sufficient in terms of food and drinks. Due to the difficult logistics of obtaining food and drinks supplies in this remote corner of Ethiopia, meals and drinks are not for sale to campers."

    Guidebook to Ethiopia
    Reprinted 2002
    Published by: Bradt Publications
    Text by: Philip Briggs
    www.bradt-travelguides.com
    info@bradt-travelguides.com

  • EXCERPT FROM: FOOTPRINT EAST AFRICA HANDBOOK 2000

    "SOUTH: OMO NATIONAL PARK" (Page 709)
    "Guided trips to the Omo region are better arranged as an organized safari. Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris are expensive but well-recommended. This company has a permanent camp on the banks of the Omo River, and has many years of experience in this region."

    East Africa Handbook 2000 - 6th Edition
    (Note: 7th edition due to be launched end April 2001)
    Published by: Footprint Handbooks Ltd
    ISBN 0 8442 4630 1
    Text by: Michael Hodd
    www.footprintbooks.com
    info@footprintbooks.com


    Researchers:

    The lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia is one the few places left on our planet where time appears to have stood still. This meant that as ecologists we had the rare opportunity to study an environment that differed little from the way it was centuries before. While working and living in Omo National Park was the most amazing experience we have ever head, logistically it was a nightmare in terms of getting there to do our research. We were grateful to ERVS, the logistic experts of the lower Omo, for their generous assistance in helping us get to our research site over the years. We were also impressed with ERVS grasp of the conservation and human issues in the lower Omo and Mago areas, and their apparent involvement to improve the lives of the people while practicing many conservation measures. It was apparent that their efforts in both areas were responsible for the abundance of wildlife seen along the flood plains of the mighty Omo River and the warm reception they received whenever they visited a local village.

    Dr. Michael J. Jacobs / Dr. Catherine A. Schloeder
    Fortine, Montana
    mjjcas@libby.org


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