The Dorze Tribe: A Photo Essay

Omo Valley

Dorze Village Life

Living high in the Rift Valley Mountains of Southern Ethiopia, the Dorze people are known for developing a one-of-a-kind technique of splitting and weaving bamboo. Essentially, they use complicated methods to skillfully thatch bamboo in order to craft it into daily items, bee hives, and even entire homes. Craftmanship wise, the complexity of their bamboo work is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

The shape of Dorze bamboo homes resemble the face of an elephant and are typically 9-12 meters tall. And while these homes might seem fragile, they typically last for 50+ years. 

Outside of skilled bamboo practices, the Dorze are also known for a unique superfood called false banana bread. Made from Enset fibers, false banana bread is a result of divine intervention and it’s only available in Southern Ethiopia.

According to the BBC, false banana bread has the ability to combat food insecurity in Africa since Enset is perennial. 

The breakfast of Dorze champions…

Flase banana bread made from Enset fibers, chili sauce, fresh raw honey, and two shots of home-brewed sorghum liquor. Are you wondering if it’s good? Well, we only need one word to describe this feast: SCRUMPTIOUS!  

Outside of making the world’s best breakfast, the Dorze also make a decent cup of coffee. 

Traditional Dorze textiles are woven by hand and considered to be the best in Ethiopia. Both men and women undertake the profession, which is the primary source of income for most villages.

The majority of Dorze villages have a “cramped” feel, intentionally. By combining high ground with narrow pathways, the village will have a strategic advantage during a violent tribal conflict. 

Last but not least, Dorze villages (near Arba Minch) have the best sunsets in Ethiopia…

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