Photos: Africa's Last Indigenous People, The Suri and Hamar tribes in Omo Valley, Ethiopia By Trevor Cole
Suri tribe girls take a break from panning for gold by playing in the river in Omo Valley, Ethiopia
More than forty tribes reside in the area and the valley is home to about 200,000 people.
The traditions of the Omo Valley tribes are deeply embedded and each tribe's identity is vividly clear, even to outsiders.
Trevor said: 'The tribes have many similarities but they also have distinctive differences.
men of the Hamar tribe, for example, have to jump a number of bulls to
'come of age', while the Suri and Mursi tribes compete through stick
fighting. More pics after cut...
of the tribes take pride in their appearance. The women of the Mursi
and Suri have very distinctive lip plates and several tribes use butter
and ochre on their hair as a form of adornment.'
The Hamar, Kara, Morsi and Suri tribes all use distinctive paint made from clay to paint their bodies.
added: 'They paint themselves as a form of camouflage when hunting, or
as decoration at special ceremonies, festivals and when outsiders visit.
'They also wear very distinctive beads and jewellery made from recycled materials - batteries, watch chains, bottle tops.'
to the development of new road networks and telecommunication networks,
the area has become more accessible to the outside world and
globalisation has made its mark on the Omo Valley.
An Ethiopian Suri women is pictured holding her lip plate and
traditionally painted face with huge corncob headgear (left) while
another young Suri women from Western Omo is pictured with body
scarification in Omo Valley
The Suri tribe's very distinctive lip plates, which two women are more than happy to show off as they pose for the camera
A Suri tribe girl kindles a fire as there is no electricity in the villages and fire is used as an essential part of daily life
A group of face-painted Suri tribe women gather to get pictured. Face
painting is an integral part of tribe life with such pride taken over
An old Suri tribe woman lights her pipe
A young Suri girl applies red and white make up using a mirror. Her
tribe use distinctive paint made from clay to paint their bodies
'The Omo Valley is one of the best locations on Earth to see indigenous
people live as they have done for millennia.
these ancient cultures are now affected by globalisation, many
tribesmen and women remain resolute in being the change that they wish
to see in themselves.
area is still remote but more accessible than it was a decade ago due
to new road networks and the development of telecommunication networks.'
are concerns that the area will be reduced to tourist fodder,
consequently Trevor advocates using experienced local guides.
said: 'In Ethiopia a very experienced local guide is always necessary
and it is important to be sensitive to the impacts that tourism can
'Visits should be sustainable and not promote a human zoo.
tribes are almost all pastoralists and are, to some extent, nomadic so
tourism brings them a little extra income although in some cases the
income is used to buy alcohol or even weapons.'
A group of Hamar women and girls move in unison as they sing at a bull jumping ceremony, where young men 'come of age'
Young men wait for a donga (traditional stick fight) in the village of Kibish in Omo Valley, Ethiopia
They paint themselves as a form of camouflage when hunting, or as
decoration at special ceremonies, festivals and when outsiders visit
As well as make-up, tribeswomen use fresh ochre to stain their hair in
another layer of showmanship when it comes to the way they look
As well as make-up and hair staining, yhey also wear very distinctive
beads and jewellery made from recycled materials - batteries, watch
chains, bottle tops
An old Suri woman enjoys an evening smoke of tobacco from her calabash pipe, captured by Irish photographer Trevor Cole
A group of young men line up for the regular market in the village of
Turmi, where there are concerns the area will be reduced to tourist
fodder as it becomes more accessible
The Ireland-born photographer promotes sustainable tourism in the area and runs photo tours through the valley.
said: 'Here the precedent of paying villages and, or, individuals is
almost universal. This was something the tour companies seem to have
instigated decades ago when tourism was in its infancy.
am sensitive to the impacts that tourism can cause, hence, I will
always try to make my visit sustainable and not promote 'zoofication!''
For information about Trevor's photo tours, visit www.epicphototours.com/tribes-of-the-omo-valley--jan-5-2017-jan-17-2017.html