The Danakil Depression
Only a real expedition will bring you to the harsh and inhospitable area of the Danakil Depression. The hottest inhabited, one of the driest, and one of the most tectonic active places on the planet, and the lowest place on the African continent is there for you to explore. It is an area of geological fascination which feels like visiting the moon. Active volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, salt lakes, and plains in an endless desert. The brave Afar people manage to survive under these extreme conditions.
Exploring the Danakil is only possible by undertaking a fully self-supporting expedition with at least two 4×4 vehicles, camping along the way. Bringing in all your supplies including water, lots of water.
The only volcano on this planet with a permanent lava lake is Erta Ale. Rising up from below sea level to an altitude of 613 meters, an exhausting climb to the crater rim (best undertaken in the cooler hours of the very early morning) will be rewarded with the extraordinary sight of a boiling pot with lava. It is well worth to spent overnight at the rim, exploring the volcano in full, and returning again in the early morning hours to the vehicles left behind in El Dom (Dodom), the village at the base of Erta Ale
Dallol is the only volcano on earth below sea level not covered by water. Geysers erupt an acid brine, leaving a bizarre landscape of cones and pools covered with a very colorful layer. The nearby abandoned mining settlement Dallol holds the record of the hottest inhabited place on earth with an average temperature of 34 degrees Celsius.
Lake Afrera and Lake Asale
Two big salt lakes are found in the Danakil, Lake Afrera (also known as Afdera) and Lake Asale (sometimes named Karum, there is also a Lake Asal in Djibouti). The precious salt is harvested and with huge camel caravans transported to Mekele.
The lower valley of the Awash
Near de small village of Hadar in the lower valley of the Awash River a most spectacular discovery was made in 1974. This is when the remains of ‘Lucy’ were found. She was an early hominid, living in this area over 3 million years ago. Many more fossilized remains have been found in the area, having a great impact on our knowledge of the history of humankind. The lower valley of the Awash River is declared a World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, it is not easy to visit the site.