The Market’s location on top of the conical Komaya Hill provides spectacular views of the lush landscape of the Southern Rift Valley, complete with thatched huts, colorful churches, and terraced farmland. Perched upon the hilltop are three traditional thatched huts, known as tukuls, housing a craft shop, a café, and a space for local artisans to demonstrate their skills. There is also an alatakasa, or one-legged house, used to stored valuable items such as weapons and honey.... though this one is more likely to be used to shelter visitors from the African sunshine while they enjoy a reviving coffee!
The locals are well known for their traditional crafts, particularly cotton spinning and weaving, and the Konso people still wear their traditional woven clothing. Women dress in colorful layered skirts, while men sport parteta: blue, orange, and white woolen shorts. The area is also known for its pottery, beaded jewelry, woodcarvings, and blacksmiths.
Following a short walk to the top of Komaya Hill, visitors can observe the magnificent views of the surrounding Konso countryside. One of the three thatched tukul huts displays professionally designed handcrafts, including woven items and pottery from Dokatu village and carved wooden ornaments and jewelry from other neighboring communities. Visitors can shop here and know that their money will return to the local economy, to help the craftspeople, their families, and local community projects. Informative panels tell the story of the artisans, as well as explaining how the items are traditionally used.
Live demonstrations of craft techniques by artisans from the surrounding villages are performed at the second tukul. These are accompanied by explanations from the craft shop manager and guests will have the opportunity to ask the artisans about their crafts. The third tukul offers the traditional coffee ceremony and refreshments such as tea, cold drinks, snacks, and local products such as honey, herbs, and dried moringa (a delicious leaf used in local foods and for medicinal purposes). Visitors can enjoy their refreshments under the alatakasa,a structure traditionally used to store valuables.
Komaya Heart of Konso Cultural Handcraft Market is managed by a community tourism cooperative. Thirty percent of profits will be channeled into local community development projects for the Dokatu community while 15% of profits will be used to maintain tourist attractions in the village.
- Watching craftspeople demonstrate ancient techniques in the traditional thatched tukul.
- Enjoying the incredible views across the Southern Rift Valley.
- Sipping aromatic Ethiopian coffee under the alatakasa and enjoying local treats.
What to Bring
- Sun screen, sunglasses, and hat
- Money for craft and refreshment purchases
For assistance arranging a full tour including lodging and transportation contact one of the participating tour operators.