Tankwa Ethiopia Tours

Danakil Depression- Afar- Erta Ale

Tour Overview

Destinations:  Danakil depression

Tour Code: TT-1034

Duration: 3 Days and 2 Nights

Tour Title: Danakil depression

Transportation: All surfaces

The faulting and cracking of the eastern part of Africa caused the Great Rift Valley, which extends from the Middle East to Mozambique, passing in a north-south direction right through Ethiopia. This shearing of the earth’s surface occurred at the same time that the Arabian Peninsula, geologically a part of Africa, was separated from the rest of the continent. This volcanic activity, which has created the faulting & cracking of the earth, has continued until today & Danakil Depression is the witness among the many hot springs all over the country.

Now a day, at the very interesting place of adventure called “Ert-Ale” (meaning the smoking mountain in one of the local languages of Ethiopia ‘Afarigna’) earth tremors are often felt and exposed cones of old volcanic plugs are seen throughout the plateau. We, therefore, say, the following itineraries designed to the respective areas of Afdera, Dallol & Ertale, guarantee a great pleasure.

Tour Itinerary

Day one:  After breakfast in Mekele drive to Eartale (the crust of the earth) via Dodom (the base of Erta Ale).  Dodom is situated about 17km from Erta Ale and it takes approximately 3 hrs trekking.  It’s 613masl which is a lava lake and one of only five in the world, at the summit. Ertale is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. 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 and it contains the world’s lave lake.

What to see and Experience 

You will experience the worst roads in the world distanced 70-80 km and takes around 6 hrs drive passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm lined oasis. After you pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert, you will watch the smock of the curst of the earth.  Have early dinner and proceed to “the gat way to hell!” From Dodom to Earta Ale takes approximately 3 hrs trekking. Don’t worry Camels transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water to the rim of the volcano, where you spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava just a km away.   Overnight nearby active volcano.

Day two:  morning Ertale walk to Dodom – Leave backto Dodom after an early breakfast. You will reach latest at 10:30 o’clock at the camp, where you will be relaxing. As soon as possible, drive to reach the mythical Lake Giulietti (or Lake Afdera), a salt water 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 overnight in Abaala/ Hamed ela.

Day three: Abala/Hamedela to Mekele, Morning drive to Ragad (Asebo) and then you drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity. 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 (No camel caravan on July, August and early September) and walk with the Afar people. Late afternoon drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekelle.

What to see and Experience 

On your way enjoy caravan camels bring or towards to bring salts from Asebo, You will enjoy the area over passing through a small town called “Berhale” where the caravan camels stop before they proceed to the northern highlands. Enjoying the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting in to rectangular pieces and loading up on camels, visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, visit oily lake, colorful salts mining, follow up camel caravans and walk over sulfur-caked surface with the hospitable and welcomed people of Afar. Overnight Mekele or fly back to Addis.

Tour Map


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