Prior to our Ethiopia and Somaliland tour, we are
running an optional add on to the hottest place on earth: the Danakil
depression. It is one of the most inhospitable but beautiful regions in
the world. As well as seeing the otherworldly colourful landscapes we
will visit the worlds only permanent lava lake at Erta Ale, meet the
Afar tribes and witness the incredible sight of the salt caravans.
We will meet this evening in the Northern Ethiopian city of Mekele where we stay overnight. For those of you travelling from Addis, we recommend you book the 18:00 flight which our tour leader will be travelling on.
After breakfast we will begin our journey to Hamed Ela and into the Danakil Depression. We descend to points of the desert up to 328 ft below sea level. En route we pass through the small town of Berhale, where the camel caravans stop, before proceeding to the northern highlands. Along this route we will see the camel caravans travelling to the salt mines whilst others are heading out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels. Camp overnight at Hamed Ela.
After an early rise we drive to Dodom at the base of Erta Ale volcano. We drive 80km along one of the worst roads in the world. The journey takes around 6 hrs, passing through landscapes of solidified lava, rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oases. We pass through several small villages throughout the desert, before reaching Dodom. After dinner we will make a 3 hour trek to Erta Ale. Camels will transport our camping equipment, food and water to the rim of the volcano, where we spend an unforgettable night watching inside the spectacular sight of the boiling lava lake.
An early morning wakeup at sunrise to walk around pits and craters of the volcano before departing at 07:00 to trek back to Dodom. Arrival back around 10:30 where we will have breakfast and time to relax before driving on to Hamed Ela, a village of 500 people. We will camp here overnight.
In the morning we will drive to Ragad, the place where the salts are mined. Witness the salt being broken from the ground and cut into rectangular pieces before being loaded onto camels. We then drive onwards to Dallol and visit the various landscapes formed by volcanic activity. We visit Dallol which at 380 feet below sea level is one of the lowest places in the world. We also see colourful salts mines, Lake Karum and more camel caravans before going walking with the Afar people. Afterwards we drive back to Mekele via Hamed Ela . We return to Mekele at 17:00 and transfer directly to the airport ready for the 19:50 departure to Addis (flight not included). Here your tour ends unless you are taking our Ethiopia/Somaliland tour which will continue as per itinerary.
Land tour cost: £549
Addis-Mekele return flights: $170* or $360 (to be booked yourself)
*the cheaper flight options are available to those who are flying into Addis with Ethiopian Air as they offer subsidised domestic tickets to international customers. If you are taking our Somaliland tour afterwards, then you can also use your Hargeisa to Addis flight with Ethiopian airlines to secure the cheaper airfare. Please note you will need to book all these flights yourself.
The tour cost price includes:
- airport transfers
- 1 night 3 star hotel accommodation in Mekele (twin room - £25 surcharge for single)
- transport in new a/c Toyota Landcruisers
- all entry fees and permits
- experienced English speaking guide
- all meals, drinks and bottled water during tour (not in Mekele on 9th)
- cooking equipment
- sleeping mat
- Accompanied by police and scout
- local Afar guide in parts
- camel transport
- experienced cook
- back up vehicle
Tour itinerary is subject to change.