Dorze people are a small Omotic-speaking ethnic group belonging to the larger Afro-Asiatic language family living in the Gamo Highlands of the southern region of Ethiopia. The Dorze people are one of the must-visit sites and peoples in this part of Ethiopia. They have an estimated population of about 30.000 people living mainly in the villages near the cities of Chencha and Arba Minch, in the Semien Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region. Their residence stretches from the Omo River banks to the highlands over Lake Abaya.
The Dorzes are famed for their amazing weaving mastery. Weaving, producing local liquors, music, and false banana food (kocho) production are some of the unique traits of the Dorze people. Dorze people live on hills and they are famous for their huge huts, resembling a giant beehive. Although these huts look fragile, they can last up to 60 years. The huts can also be transported to another location, thanks to the structure made of vertical poles. Smaller huts can include guest houses, a workshop, a kitchen, and even a cattle shed. When termites attack the hut, the Dorze can just remove it from its foundation and relocate it. This allows the home to last much longer, but every move shortens the height of the hut. Interestingly opportunities for a pen for animals are made available in the Dorze towering huts. This makes it possible to protect animals from the vagaries of the weather as well as animal rustlers.
What to See?
If you make your trip to the Dorze village you will fall in love with everything that you see there. The landscape is so majestic and spectacular, their home design is a joy to watch, their traditional costume will leave you wow. And never forget to taste the local liquor they produced and the bread of the false banana called ‘kocho’.
Practical information before your trip to
The Dorze village can be easily accessed from Arabaminch with an hour’s drive. Ethiopian Airlines has a daily flight to Arabaminch which makes traveling to the dorze village easy and comfortable.
There are few community-based tour services within the dorze village. But guides and tour operators in Arbamicnh can take you there with a 4WD vehicle.
Most travelers spend the night in Arabaminch after visiting the Dorze village. But if you choose to spend a night in Dorze there is one standard lodge and few community-run guesthouses.