Bubbling volcanoes light up the night sky, sulphurous mounds of yellow contort into otherworldly shapes, and mirages of camels cross lakes of salt. Lying 100m and more below sea level, the Danakil Depression is about the hottest and most inhospitable place on Earth. In fact it’s so surreal that it doesnit feel like part of earth at all. If you want genuine, raw adventure, then few corners of the globe can match this overwhelming wilderness. But come prepared because with 50 Degree Centigrade and appalling ‘roads’ visiting this region is more an expedition than a tour.
Four Day Tours visiting Irta’ale, Dallol and Lake Asale are the norm. you can also add one day and add Lake Afdera to the itinerary ovvbfr do only Dallol in two days or just Irta’ale in three. the best time to visit Irta’ale is between September to June.
The Danakil most amazing site is Irta’ale Volcano (613m), which has been in a state of continuous eruption since 1967. Its small southerly crater is one of the only permanent lava lakes on the planet. The climb is long (15km; three to four hours) but not steep; the heat and darkness (you climb after dinner) create the difficulty. Camels will transport the gear for the night and riding one is an option.
The Danakil’s other must-see is Dallol (-125 at its base), about 20km north of Hamedela, where great warts of twisted sulphur and iron oxide paint a yellow and orange landscape that looks more like a coral reef than anything you’ve ever seen above the waterline. The base of the hills is the lowest place in the world and the hottest place on earth with a year-round average temperature of 34.4 degree centigrade. The dry, cracked lakebed of Lake Asale alongside Dallol is where the Afar people hack blocks of salt out of the ground. The famous camel caravans load up here and you can stop to watch.
Arrive in Addis Ababa: Meet and greet at the airport, get assisted to collect your luggage into the car and transfer to your hotel. Hotel
Drive to Logia: Drive through the Rift Valley to the small town of Logia.Camping
Drive to Afrera, visit the salt lake and the saline. Interesting to see when locals are extracting table salt from the saline lake with traditional age old techniques. Camping
Drive to Dodom followed with walk to Erta’ale. Drive through the Afar desert to the base of Erta Ale volcano with a short stop at Dodom. Hike up to the volcano (ca. 3 hrs), accompanied by a camels carrying bottled water, food and camping equipment. Before dusk we select site that would be best for view and taking photos of the Lava Lake during the night after dinner. The weather on the top of this mountain is cool. Camping
Descend down to the field then drive by Dodom to Hamedela. After a last sunrise at the spectacular lava lake, we break down our camp and using the camels again, we return to the point of departure where the jeeps are waiting. After lunch, we continue for 1-2 hours back into the desert, where we will set camp near a typical temporary Afar village. Refreshing showers will be available from simple wells in a river bed. For those interested, we can also visit the Afar village and get an impression of the nomadic culture of the Afar. Camping
Excursion to Lake Asale and to Dallol then head to Berahile. After early breakfast drive to the Lake Asale, salty Lake and visit the salt workers and the merchant. Here you will observe salt cutting, the crust is cut into rectangular salt slabs and transported up into the highlands a near endless procession of camel caravans. The salt canyons south of Dallol Mountain are some of the most impressive geological features in the area. It looks like another planet because there are lots of colorful rocks and several colorful hot springs in each meter. Retrace your way back to Hamedela then proceed to Berahile for overnight stop. Camping
Drive to Makele visiting on the way rock hewn churches of Tigray. Leaving the Afar desert behind drive to Makele, the capital city of Tigray region, en route visit includes Mikael Imba, one of the rock hewn churches of Tigray within the Astbi claster of rock churches. Hotel
Full day birding along the shores of Lake Awassa. In composition this fresh water Lake is different from the alkaline lakes of Abiyata and Shalla. The Black forest near the lake is an additional and interesting birding site. See Day 4 of VE 001B for further information. Overnight Awassa.
Take a morning flight to Addis Ababa and evening departure. We fly back to Addis Ababa and some of the sight seeing in Addis or retire the remaining day before we meet again for FARE WELL dinner in Ethiopian traditional restaurant with tribal music and dance show. Get transfer to airport for out going flight to your home country. Hotel
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