Our Danakil Depression itinerary exploresone of the lowest and hottest places on earth, to soak up the beautiful landscape from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Visit Lake Asale, the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt and discover the alien salt landscapes of Dallol. Look out for camel caravans carting blocks of salt across the desert.
We undertake a memorable trek to the top of the active volcano Erta Ale,where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava overnight on top of the mountain. We trek back to Dodom at first light and drive to Lake Afrera where you will have the opportunity to explore the hot springs.
• Sleeping on the rim of a volcano
• Visit the world’s only permanent lava lake
• Travel to the lowest place on earth
Arrival and departure transfers are included, whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you.
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary. Should we need to change hotels, but we will endeavour to keep the same standard.However, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
You will be escorted throughout by an English-speaking guide. You will also have local English-speaking guides.
As listed within the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).
All entrance fees
A bottle of mineral water every day
Guests are responsible for arranging their own visa. We would recommend that you obtain your visa in advance of your trip using the evisa service.
We don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours
It is important that you have insurance in place prior to arriving in country.
Guide and porterage tips, also local payments for photography
Day 1 - Addis Ababa L/D
On arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After lunch a city tour will take you to the National Archaeological Museum, to view the 3.6-million-year-old remains of “Lucy”, discovered in 1974, Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Drive to the top of Mount Entoto, which rises to an altitude of 10,500 feet for a panoramic view of the metropolis before making your way back to your hotel. Overnight at Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar.
The Ethiopian capital is situated on the southern slopes of central Ethiopia’s Entoto Hills and is the world’s fourth highest capital city with altitudes of 2,350m to more than 2,600m. The city was founded in the 19th century by Emperor Menelik II.
Addis Ababa ”new flower”) or Addis Abeba, also known as Finfinne (”natural spring”), is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia.
As a chartered city, Addis Ababa also serves as the capital city of Oromia. It is where the African Union is headquartered and where its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was based. It also hosts the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), as well as various other continental and international organizations. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as ”the political capital of Africa” for its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city lies a few miles west of the East African Rift which splits Ethiopia into two, through the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia.
DAY 2 - Hamed Ela (Ahmed Ela) B/L/D
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Mekelle. On arrival continue by Landcruiser to Hamed Ela (Ahmed Ela) via Berehale (Bere Ale) where you will pick up police scouts, road guides and permits for the Afar region. Witness camel caravans along the way, carrying salt to sell in Mekelle. Camping
Afar region is located in the north eastern part of the country with a total population of 1.65 million and area of 270,000 square kilometers and it is the region where Lucy was found.
DAY 3 - Dallol B/L/D
After breakfast, depart for Dallol, the lowest point on the African continent. Soak in the beautiful landscape, the many shades of red and yellow from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. Visit Lake Asale, the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. You will witness (and even try) the laborious task of removing salt from the ground. See hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekelle. At the end of the day we return to Hamed Ela (Ahmed Ela) for overnight camping.
Dallol (Danakil Depression)
Clearly visible from space to the first astronauts who walked on the moon, the rift valley forms one of Ethiopia’s most remarkable sights. The Danakil (or Dallol) depression, in the rift valley, shares the Eritrean border to the east of the Tigrian highlands, and is officially listed as the hottest place on earth with an average temperature of 34-35 Co. Much of this vast and practically unpopulated region lies below sea level, dipping up to 116m at Dallol, near lake Asale, the lowest spot on the African continent.
One of the driest and most tectonically active areas on the planet the Danakil is an area of singular geological fascination strange lunar landscape studded with active volcanoes malodorous sulphur caked hot springs, solid field black lava flows, lava lake (Ertale) and vast salt encrusted basins. The Danakil is a southerly extension of the rifting process that formed the Red Sea, set at the juncture of the African, Arabian and Somali tectonic plates and its low-lying surface was once fully submerged by saline water.
DAY 4 - Erta Ale B/L/D
Early morning drive to Dodom to embark on a trek to Erta Ale, approximate 17km. Following an early dinner trek up to Erta Aale for overnight. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava, definitely the highlight of the trip! Overnight on the top of the mountain and trekking back to Dodom with the first day light.
Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1 km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. Erta Ale is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century
DAY 5 - Lake Afrera B/L/D
Very early morning trek back to Dodom for breakfast. Drive to Lake Afrera and witness the Afar people collecting salt through evaporation from the Lake. You will have the opportunity to explore many of hot springs around the lake (swimming is possible in a salty lake and take a bath in a hot spring water). Overnight Camping
Lake Afrera is found 100m below sea level in the DanakilDepression and contains the world’s lowest lying island Afrera remains liquid despites the Danakil relentless heat due to asystem of hotsprings and streams that feed the lake.
Day 6 - Addis AbabaB/L/D
After breakfast drive to Mekelle and transfer to the Airport for your flight to Addis Ababa and onward return flight.