Omerate – Dassanech

The town of Omerate is only 30 km away from Kenya and South Sudan and functions as a border post. At only 375 meters above sea level, it is the lowest place in the Omo Valley and is often very hot and dusty. In this semi-arid area, the Dassanech people manage to survive. An old and inappropriate name for the Dassanech is Galeb.

Clay cap

Dassanech elder with clay cap near Omerate

In southern Ethiopia, you find many men wearing a clay cap over their hair. This might be to show they killed an enemy or a dangerous animal but most of the time it is for beauty only. How to tell the difference? The first one is only covering the back of the head. To protect their clay cap when sleeping (it can last for several months) man carry their wooden pillow or headrest.

The Dassanech people live on both sides of the Omo River. Most visitors cross the river by boat to get to a village. It is up to you to take a traditional canoe or to take a more convenient motorboat.