Erta Ale Volcano and the Danakil Depression
12 days Ethiopian Tour
geological time, the northern part of the Great Rift
Valley has formed a triangular basin between the
Danakil Desert and the Afar Plain that today holds some
of the most astounding terrain in the Horn of Africa.
the Danakil Depression the topography sinks as low
as 125m (410ft) below sea level. And within this inverted
world of rock and heat, rise volcanic peaks to as high
as2500m (6200ft). While temperatures can reach 50o C,
the Danakil Depression is not exactly a breezy tour,
rather an inhospitable environment for all living creatures,
including human beings. Nonetheless the Afar region
is home to the Afar people, who have survived centuries
by adopting a nomadic existence and local economy based
on salt trading in the highlands to endure this extreme
and hostile environment.
the most famous site in the great depression is the
active volcano Erta Ale, rising to 613m (2011ft)
with one or sometimes two active lava lakes boiling
in its caldera. Erta Ale is credited as being the longest-existing
lava lake with a known existence since 1906. Visiting
the crater in the middle of the night is the best way
to avoid the mid-day heat.
other major attraction in the Danakil Depression is
Dallol, where a volcanic explosion has created a crater
some100km northwest of Erta Ale. The crater was formed
during a paratactic eruption in 1926. All around the
crater are pools of volcanic minerals translating to
vivid oranges, yellows and reds, which makes for an
Day 1 Arrive in Addis Ababa. Overnight hotel.
Day 2 Drive to Awash National Park to see large game and
various birds. Overnight in National Park lodge.
Day 3 Drive to Semera and explore the Afar village and
its culture. Overnight camping.
Day 4 Drive to Lake Afera. Overnight camping.
Day 5 Drive to Dodom and start trek to Erta Ale. Overnight
Day 6 Drive to Waydodo. Overnight camping.
Day 7 Drive to Ahmed Ela. Overnight camping.
Day 8 Drive to Lake Asele and to Dallol and back to Ahmed
Ela. Overnight camping.
Day 9 Drive to Mekele through the town of Berhile. Overnight
Day 10 Drive to Kombolcha, en route you visit Hayeke Stiphanose
monastery. Overnight hotel.
Day 11 Drive to Addis Ababa (time permitting visit Senbete
market). Overnight hotel.
Day 12 Full day city tour of Addis Ababa, in evening,
farewell dinner party and departure.