A trip to visit the Danakil Depression will be one of the toughest but most rewarding tours you ever do. This is an extremely hot and harsh place that is still inhabited by the Afar people. The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on earth in terms of year-round average temperatures. It is also one of the lowest places on the planet, and there is no rain for most of the year. This 4 day tour will take you around the depression visiting; the salt flats of Lake Karum; to the colorful sulphur springs landscape of Dallol; and to spend an unforgettable night camped at in the crater of the Erta Ale volcano.
Day 1: Mekele – Hamede Ela
Drive to Hamedela via Berhale. The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, but is nonetheless spectacular, full of eye-catching colors, as in the sulphur springs. The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level. Once we reach Berhale, you will notice the landscape change. Most people associate this point as the start of the ‘depression’. Berhale is also a stopping off point for the camel caravans carrying salt from Lake Karum to the highlands of Ethiopian in the northwest. We will have lunch at Berhale before continuing on our journey to Hamede Ela. That night we will camp out in the open at Hamede Ela. Before sunset we will travel a short distance to Lake Karum to watch the sunset from the salt flats on the lake. The water level on the lake is very shallow so it’s easy to walk out and and around on the lake. After sunset, travel the short distance by car back to Hamede Ela. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day 2: Hamd Ela – Dodom
We start early, shortly after a 06:30 breakfast, and drive to Dodom at the base of Erta Ale. The 80 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oasis. You pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land, before reaching Dodom. You will trek from Dodom to Erta Ale which takes about 3 hrs. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to Ert Ale at 20:00. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food, sleeping materials, mattresses and water, to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. 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 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake and you will spend an unforgettable night on the top of the mountain.
Early morning you will rise with the sun with time to walk around pits and craters. The main pit-crater, 200 m deep and 350 m across, is sub-circular and three storied. The smaller southern pit is 65 m wide and about 100 m deep. You will leave around 7:00 to head back to Dodom for breakfast. You will reach latest at 10:30 am at the camp and after some time to relax you will drive on to Hamad Ela, a village with a total population about 500 people. Over night camping at Hamed Ela.
Morning driving tour to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the salts are mined. Observe the breaking of the salt from the ground, cutting into rectangular pieces and loading on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele.
The price Includes
- Transport latest model Toyota with Experienced English speaking driver throughout the Tour.
- All Entrance fees and licenses as per the program.
- Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour.
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages with meals as per the program and plenty bottles of water for the trip.
- Surface Transport expense with four wheel drive Land-cruiser including fuel expense and drivers allowance
- Local guide service for the afar region as per the program.
- Cooking, camping equipment,
- Scout and police service in Afar Region as per the program.
- Camel and camel tires in Afar Region as per the program.
- Experienced cook throughout of the tour as per the program.
- Minimum of 2 cars per trip with local security.
For the duration of the trip we are responsible for all meals, water, entrance fees, accommodation, security and transportation.
4 days from Mekele to Mekele.