It was a great drive back to Arba Minch. Rather than backtracking we took a different route that was far more scenic and a little more adventurous. We drove narrow gravel mountainside passes, crossed a couple of rivers and drove along dry riverbeds. It was a nice change from potholes and cows and goats.
When we arrived in Arba we took a left turn and headed way up into the mountains to visit a local Dorze tribe. Dorze means “weaver” and the tribe is known for their intricate weaving skills for both cloth and the large beehive shaped huts they live in. It was a bone wracking drive and we probably ascended about 1500 metres in one hour and we thought “this better be worth it”. Well, it was a setup. We entered the “village” and in front of us was a beautiful 6 meter hut intricately woven with bamboo with the front resembling an elephant. They are the most unique traditional structures in Africa.
Inside looked comfortable with a guest bed and several chairs and sleeping quarters for the family and separate quarters for the livestock.
Outside we were treated to a display of bread making using fermented enset or false banana.
We then moved on for a taste of the locally made gin called Areki but as we were walking over to the “bar” we noticed several smaller weaved huts with numbers on them. To our surprise and disdain this place was a tourist lodge! We/I drank several shots of Areki each time making a “traditional” toast and were then met by the lodge owner who proceeded to try to sell us weaved cloth for the benefit of the community yada, yada, yada. We’d been had. We told him in no uncertain terms we didn’t appreciate his pressure selling tactics and immediately left ticked off that we were once again considered to be sucker tourists with lots of money and no brains.