Though difficult to reach due to harsh rainy seasons and, at times, nonexistent roads, the Omo Valley continually rewards its visitors with a unique and astonishing beauty. The entire region has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1980.

The Surma occupy an area near the Sudanese border. They practice scarification and beauty mutilation and are one of the last tribes in the world where the women wear large lip plates. Many of their warriors prefer to rest naked, occasionally putting on a simple plaid cloth for warmth. The traditional way of life is quickly changing since the arrival of military outposts and Presbyterian missions.