Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Scale Erta Ale and camp under the stars at the summit of the volcano.
- Experience the alien landscape of Dallol.
- Visit the salt mines and camel trains.
Landmarks visited on 3 Days in the Danakil
Day 1 - The adventure begins
Early morning flight from Addis Ababa to Mekelle, depart at 7AM to arrive in Mekele at 8:15AM. From the airport we leave directly for Erta Ale Volcano via Abala-Erepti, a new asphalt road to Afdera. Some 30 km before Afdera town, we turn left and head towards the village of Kisrawad at the foot of Erta Ale. This is about 50 km on a very sandy and rough road, which takes about 2 hours. At Kisrawad village we collect the camels which will carry our supplies: food, water, camping and cooking equipment, and the local guides and militia who will accompany us to the top of Erta Ale. .
We set off up the volcano at about 5PM, the ascent should take around 3-5 hours hiking, depending on how fit the clients are. At the top on the caldera, the Afar people have constructed simple stone shelters, there are no roofs, but the walls offer some protection against the wind, which can make it quite chilly in the early hours of the morning.
The best time to see the lava pits of Erta Ale is at night – you can sit back some distance and see the lava bubbling like soup, with the occasional eruption which throws gobbets of lava up into the air, before subsiding once again.
We start our descent of the Volcano mountain about 5:30 AM to avoid the heat. The descent is much faster than the ascent, and will take around 2.5 hours to reach the base at the bottom, where you will stop for breakfast. Drive to Hamedela via Berahile, an attractive little town set among mountains. The road is much improved with the advent of potash mining investors in Dallol.
Before leaving for Mekelle, we will make an early morning visit (when temperatures are still low) to Dallol. This morning we visit the salt mines, Lake Asale and the strange, multi-coloured mineral formations around Dallol. Salt is extracted directly from the ground in great slabs, carved into blocks called amole, which was once a currency in Ethiopia, and then loaded on camels which carry the salt up to the high lands. Camel trains can be made up of hundreds, even thousands of camels. Arriving in Mekelle late afternoon for your return flight to Addis Ababa, or continued journey. Enquire about this module if you’d like to include it as part of a longer holiday.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices are per person.
- All internal travel except domestic flights.
- Full board accommodation in the Danakil depression with camping facilities and bed and breakfast in Addis Ababa.
- 4WD car for Cook and cooking gears, tents and camping equipment the in Danakil Depression.
- Tents and mattresses.
- Local guide, scout and Militia (security) fees.
- All entrance fees.
- VAT and local taxes.
- International flights and visa fees.
- Domestic flights.
- Activities not mentioned or stated as optional in the itinerary.
- Fees for photos and video.
- Other personal expenses, souvenirs, tips and gratuities, etc.