The Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Regional State is one of 9 federal regional states in Ethiopia and is home to more than 16,000,000 inhabitants of all races,languages and religions making up 20% of the entire Ethiopian population. More than 56 Nations, Nationalities and People representing about 70% of Ethiopia’s ethnic
groups inhabit the SNNPRS with most having their own beliefs, customs, language and socio-economic organization.
The 109,000 Square Km SNNPRS zone is only 10% of the total landmass of the country but is unparalleled in its forest cover, natural beauty or ethnic diversity compared to the rest of the country. Proximity to the equator means high mean annual rainfall for the region ranging between 400-2200 mm while temperatures can range from 10 degrees Ce\ in the high altitude areas (highest point mount Guge in the Gamogofa highlands 4207 meters above sea level) to 28 degrees Celsius in the lowlands (lowest point Lake Turkana 360 meters above sea level).
With the Omo valley dissecting the region in half and the Great Rift Valley running along its eastern edge, not to mention the many mountains, forests and endless plains throughout the region, the SNNPRS is a land of wide-ranging topographical features which are largely unblemished by human interference except for basic infrastructure in towns and cities and roads connecting urban centers and tourist destinations.