In the early morning hours, this troop of baboons strolled onto the road in Mago National Park in the Omo Valley of southern Ethiopia. Established in 1979, Mago is the country’s newest national park. Not only can a stunning diversity of wildlife be seen in the park, it is also home to a number of indigenous tribes, including the Aari, Banna, Bongoso, Hamer, Karo, Kwegu, Ngagatom, and Male peoples. However the park is perhaps best known as being home to the Mursi tribe, where women stretch their lower lips by inserting a series of ever-larger wooden plates into slits that have been cut into their lips.
I was awestruck by the troop of baboons, and also by the other wildlife I spotted as we drove through the park: dik dik, vervet monkeys, giant lizards, wild dogs, and extravagantly colorful birds, to name a few. But even more than the wildlife, I was stunned by the geography of Mago National Park. With its lush blue-green foliage, copper-colored soil, stately flat-topped Acacia trees, and statuesque volcanoes, it was one of the most gorgeous landscapes I have ever seen. Even better, few tourists make their way to this remote, isolated park. During my time there, I saw fewer than five other tourists!