Part 1 My Strange Adventure into Africa’s Great Rift Valley

“Stunning” is a word that I don’t often use. But in this particular case, my trip to visit Ethiopia’s Omo Valley was not only esthetically stunning, but in a strange and otherworldly. Almost ancestry.


This magical place is also know as “The Cradle of Mankind” home of the oldest hominid fossil. #AL288-1 or “Lucy”. 3.5 Million years after her, I went to photograph and visit her descendants.


This life changing journey started in a strange way. I am a long time user of Broncolor lighting in my professional photography business in Sacramento, Ca. One day, when I reading their monthly newsletter, I saw a featured photographer and read about his trip to Ethiopia. His images were immediately captivating……erie, almost.


I contacted Ken, the photographer, who told me that things are rapidly changing over there, that I should go for at least two weeks, and that I should go NOW!


He gave me his trusted guide’s name and shoot organizer, Ayele Sode, and all the pieces began to fall into place. All of shots were done prepared, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Malaria, Meningitis, Yellow Fever an. Don’t to forget to pack mosquito tents.


We planned our trip in November, just after the Ethiopian rainy season, their springtime; so native flowers would be in bloom.


With our equipment loaded atop our 4 wheel drive Land Cruiser, we headed to our first stop to see the “Surma Tribe” it took three long days of driving in the bush to get their village, the dirt roads were horrible. Not many Western people get to this tribe because they are so far off the beaten path.


There are no accommodations or running water. Our guide had organized tent camping and an enormous bottled water supply. He brought with us a chef.


Our trusted bodyguard complete with an AK-47. I forgot, we are in the bush and a long way from any modern conveniences.


We planned to stay with five days here with the Surma people, but it was cut short by tribal tensions one night.



Heading out, look for another tribe along this stunning adventure.