The valley of the Great Rift is very volcanic and the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest deserts in the world, includes two famous volcanoes: the Erta Ale with its very active lava lake and Dallol offering lunar landscapes, crater volcanic with pools of multicolored acids. The salt lake as far as the eye can see is the meeting point of the extractors and salt caravans.
Under a blazing sun the Afar people and the Tigrayans of the region roam the desert with their camel caravans transporting to Mekele the salt plates extracted, cut on the spot.
You are in this region about 123 meters below sea level.
The Danakil desert, due to very hot weather, is not accessible all year round. Travel can take place between October and April. Going to the Danakil is not improvised and it is mandatory that your stay is organized by a professional agency. This requires some infrastructure, comfort is almost non-existent and traffic conditions are very controlled. An Afar guide, soldiers accompany you during all the time you spend in this region. Vehicles that allow you to access this area need very good conditions and an extra vehicle is always recommended for your journey to Erta Ale. The Danakil Desert is an unforgettable adventure, but it requires not neglecting your travel conditions, being in good physical condition and if the military decides it cannot access certain areas.
This trip will start from Mekele and include all the organization during the days in Danakil. It can also start from Addis Ababa.
4 days/3 nights
Addis Abeba/ Mekele/ /Erta Ale/ Ahmed Ela/Dallol / MekeleAddis Ababa / Mekele / / Erta Ale / Ahmed Ela / Dallol / Mekele
• Salt caravans
• Asale Lake and salt extractor
• Night at the top of the Erta Ale volcano
From September to April
From 1.080 euros per person base 12 participants
At sunrise and sunset, salt caravans crossing Lake Assale offer sumptuous landscapes from another world. They are sometimes preceded by herds of donkeys that, despite the overwhelming heat, trot without appearing to be tired.
The extraction of the salt plates is carried out with very rudimentary material; the men have the face chiseled by the sun, the hands and the feet burned by the salt. These particularly difficult conditions in no way detract from their welcome and they are very proud to show you how they work.
Not far away is Dallol. This site is unique in the world and quite easy to access. After 20 minutes of walk you reach this volcano which is characterized by multicolored acid basins with a strong smell of sulfur. Walking in the footsteps of his Afar guide is essential to not risk getting burned through this very friable area in some places.
You will continue to Erta Ale and climb at the end of the day. This climb on the lava is difficult and for the more trained, it will require at least 4 hours. You will explore the craters and the caldera. The bivouac will be installed at the top in stone “houses” where you can observe the volcano at night. Early in the morning after observing the crater and the lava lake, you will go back down to reach your vehicles.
This experience is one of the most significant of what can be experienced in Ethiopia.
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