Danakil

The Danakil Desert is a desert in northeast Ethiopia, southern Eritrea, and northwestern Djibouti. Situated in the Afar Triangle, it stretches across 136,956 square kilometres of arid terrain. The area is known for its volcanoes and extreme heat, with daytime temperatures which may be surpassing 50° C. Less than an inch of rainfall occurs each year. The Danakil Desert is one of the lowest and hottest places on Earth. It is inhabited by a few Afar, who engage in salt mining.

4 days

Hotel

Camping

Trekking

Program

Day 1

Fly from Addis Ababa to Mekele

We start our day by driving to Erta Ale (which means smoky mountain in Afar language). 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. It 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.

We start early 9:00 AM, drive to Dodom (at the base of Erta Ale). This is maybe one of the roughest roads in the world. The 80 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing the landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm-lined oasis. After passing several small hamlets scattered here and there in this deserted land, you will arrive at Dodom camping site, located about 17km from Erta Ale.

Dinner will be served around 17:00. After a short break, trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hours. Camels will be transporting 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. You will spend the night on top of the mountain, at the rim of the Volcano.

Day 2

Exploring volcanos and salt flats

Early sunrise at the northern one corresponds to the main pit crater and walk 5 minutes for the southern and central pits could either corresponds to an ancient pit or a simple collapse structure. 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. Descend from Erta Ale around 9 am Dodom – Leave back to Dodom after an early breakfast, if possible at 07:00.

You will reach the latest at 10:30 at the camp, where you will be relaxing. As soon as possible, drive to reach the mythical Lake Giulietti (or Lake Afrera. Note: this may not be available during summertime), a saltwater lake located more than100 meters below sea level, in one of the deepest depressions of the planet. Because of the picturesque landscape, it is interesting to visit the salt flats where the Afar people obtain the salt by evaporating the water of the lake., continue to Erbiti and proceed Abaala/ Hamed Ela.

Day 3

Danakil to Mekele

Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look the activity of workers breaking salts from the ground, cutting in to 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 meters below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colourful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans (No camel caravan on July, August, and early September) and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele.

Day 4

Fly back to Addis Ababa and city tour of Addis Ababa

Images by our customers

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Yes, absolutely. Adimasu Travel is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. We ask that you carefully consider whether you are physically and mentally able to complete the itinerary you have chosen, recognising that on many trips you will be required to carry your bags and use public transport.

Where we can we will make reasonable adjustments to the operation of our trips to facilitate the requirements of disabled travellers – such as booking ground floor accommodation, or having our leaders communicate important directions in writing as well as verbally.

Many travellers with disabilities have been able to enjoy our trips by travelling with a friend or companion who can assist with specific needs. If joining a group trip is not practical we may be able to provide you with a private departure. Please contact our team for further information on any of our itineraries.

We will try our very hardest to accommodate all dietary requirements but in some out-of-the-way places it can be very difficult to guarantee. We will let you know if there are places on your itinerary where this is the case.

Please let us know at the time of booking of any food requirements or allergies and we’ll pass the information onto your leader. It is also a great idea to bring a card with your dietary requirements written in the local language for those times you are eating away from the group.

Our camping sites have all the creature comforts to bush camping. We provide the tent and sleeping mats, but you will need to bring your sleeping bag.

What you need to bring will vary according to your style… Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you can carry and lift your luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You’ll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

Closed in shoes. As this trip includes camping and some bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.

Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is not recommended.

Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening game activities when it can be cool.

Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.

This tour outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
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