Surma or Suri is a tribal population that lives in a remote area between Sudan and Omo Valley in the Southwest of the country. Three ethnic groups inhabit this untouched region; Mursi, Me’en, and Suri live in Bench Meji. They share language and very ancient traditions and lifestyles. Women are known for labial plates that can be circular or trapezoid and for their painful glorifications, that for the tribe signify exquisite aesthetic taste, but for us are incomprehensible. Men use their body to transmit virility and insensitivity to pain.  One example of this is the Donga fight.  In it, men beat each other with sticks in an attempt to triumph over others and gain prestige.

They are quite talented in body painting with clay that they fashion. Each body drawing has significance. They are used as a form of communication and decoration.

Any trip to this area is actually an expedition. Visitors need to be flexible and open to anything. This tour sometimes requires trekking to the villages so visitors must be in good physical condition.



  • Dry season: January, February, May, June, September
  • Small rains: March, April, July, August, October, December
  • Heavy rains: November