The Danakil Depression in Northern Ethiopia is one of the most unique places on the planet. Boiling and steaming hot springs in breath-taking blue, yellow, green, red and orange colors, boiling lava lakes and a salt lake of epic proportion are just a few things.
Day 1 Mekele (2080 masl) – Hamede Ela
Drive to Hamedela via Berhale (639 metersabove sea level). 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. You pass through a small town of Berhale where the camel caravans stop before they proceed to the northern highlands. En route you see many long caravans going to the salt mines and others coming out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels. (3-4 hrs drive) Camp at Hamedela.
Day 2 Hamd Ela – Dodom (150 meters)
We start early, shortly after a 06:30 breakfast, and drive to Askoma (150 meters) at the base of new 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 Askoma village or parking area.
You will trek from Askoma to the new Erta Ale which takes about 4 hrs. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to the new Erta Ale reach around 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. New 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. New Erta Ale is part of the world’s only permanent lava lake and you will spend an unforgettable night on the top of the mountain. The magma flow moved 3.5 kms south from old Erta Ale to the New eruption point.
Sunrise at the volcano and Lake Afdera (102 meters) Early morning you will rise with the sun with time to walk around pits and craters. The main pit-crater 613 metersabove sea level/, 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 Askoma for breakfast.
You will reach latest at 10:30 am at the camp and after some time to relax you will drive to Lake Afdera (optional may not be available during summer time) the mythical Lake Giulietti (or lake Afrera), a salt water lake located more than100 meters below sea level, in one of the deepest depressions of the planet. Because of the pictureqsue landscape, it is interesting to visit the salt flats where the Afar people obtain the salt by evaporating the water of the lake.on continue 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 (-130 m) and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal (-130 m) + camel caravans (No camel caravan on July, August and early September) . 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
- All Entrance fees and licenses as per the program.
- Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour.
- 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.
- 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.