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.
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.
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.