How to visit the Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression is not a typical feature along the historic north circuit of Ethiopia. Instead, travellers keen to experience this crazy environment add it on at the start or end of their journey across the country. 

The Danakil is relatively easy to access if you are already exploring the north of the country. The Tigrayan capital city of Mekele is the gateway town into the Danakil Depression, so you will take a domestic flight into Mekele before starting the Danakil expedition.

Most travellers arrive in Mekele the night before their expedition begins, and then meet the rest of their group around 10AM the following morning. 

Most Danakil tours are run in groups in order to keep the cost down (although private tours are possible). Once in Mekele, you will pile into the Toyota Landcruisers and head out into the Danakil in convoy. The drive from Mekele to the Danakil is about 3 hours. 

2-day and 3-day Danakil tours are possible. Over these few days, you will visit the kaleidoscopic landscape of Dallol, the bellowing Erta Ale volcano, the two sale lakes Afrera and Asale, and the vast salt pans where camels and workers toil under the searing heat to export salt back to Mekele. 

Accommodation in the Danakil is extremely basic. You will sleep on thin mattresses on makeshift wooden bed frames, or atop a volcano by the crater rim. It's rough and ready, and that's all part of the fun. 

Danakil Depression Tours

How it works

We can put together an itinerary to fit any time frame or budget. Whether you've got some fixed plans and need help with the detail, or don't know where to start, here's how we can help:

  1. We'll talk about your dream Ethiopia moments, how much time you have and your budget.

  2. We'll discuss any places to go or things to do that you've already got in mind and send you a few suggestions of our own.

  3. When you've decided what you want to see and do, we'll put together the perfect itinerary that covers all the destinations you're most excited about, and moves at just the right pace. We'll select the accommodations that are right for you, and we'll make any adjustments until you're confident its the perfect itinerary for you.

  4. When you're happy with your trip and the cost, we'll get your adventure set up, make all the bookings and reservations, and provide all the pre-travel information you need. 

  5. Once your on the ground in Ethiopia, we'll be here to look after you every step of the way. 

Discover the Danakil Depression

Erta Ale

Erta Ale

Erta Ale (meaning ‘Smoking Mountain’ in the Afar language) is Ethiopia’s most active volcano and contains one of just six active lava lakes on Earth. Sitting in the Danakil …

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Dallol

Dallol

Characterized by bright, multi-coloured springs, fissures, and geysers, and with average annual temperatures of 35°C (95°F), Dallol is one of the most visually compelling and …

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Lake Afrera

Lake Afrera

Sunken into a deep depression, surrounded by a cascade of mountains and the active Tat Ali volcanic ridges, Lake Afrera shimmers in emerald green. One of the two hypersaline lakes …

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Lake Asale

Lake Asale

Lake Asale (also known as Lake Karum) looks more like an Arctic desert than a saline lake. The lake-bed is a jet white salt crust chequered in irregular contours that slowly …

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Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

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