NATIONAL PARKS SAFARIS ETHIOPIA

HIGHLIGHTS, WHERE THEY ARE AND HOW TO VISIT THEM


 

 

 

DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOURS

DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOURS: Salt camel caravans, hot sulphur springs, world's only liquid lava lake Erta Ale. Visit one of the world's wildest places

Danakil Depression Tours

The Tours to Danakil Depression - or Afar Depression as the Afar leaders have asked us to use, is located where Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti come together. It is the northernmost and lowest part of the Afar Triangle that has developed by three tectonic plates pressing against each other. Before entering the area, one must show a permission in the little town of Berahile elevation 675, at ±110km from Mekele and another ±70km from Hamed Ela, a hamlet that serves as the base camp for visiting Lake Asale. The 2,200m descent is over a steep winding road until you reach the Danakil Depression with its deepest poing about 115m below sea level.

 

Why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL cultural places Ethiopia is so famous for, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market. As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eathern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes will be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip for an incredibly low price!

 

With an average temperature of 34 degrees Celsius, day and night, the Afar Depression is the hottest and among the 10 lowest places and driest deserts in the world and has the harshest climate of Ethiopia. The Afar Triangle is drained by the Awash River that comes for the South East, but never reaches the ocean. It totally dries up before it can reach the sea or event the lowest point of the region, Lake Assale - not to be confused by Lake Assal in Djibouti - and Lake Afrera.

 

Largely consisting of a vast surface salt deposit, the Lake Asale is a former bay that was cut off from the Red Sea, after which most of the water evaporated. For thousands of years it has been a source of wealth for the Ethiopian empire, as the Afar mined the salt and transported it on their camels over distances of hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometers.

 

Lake Afrera is much less salty, but increasingly becoming a source for commercial salt production, with large numbers of man-made salt pans of solar salinas being built all along the shores of the lake.

 

The majority of the Afar people are pastoralists while some make a living at salt mining and transportation by camel caravan.

 

Increasingly famous are the sulfur hot springs at an abandoned salt mine, named Dallol, for which the region also is called the Dallol Depression.

 

Being exposed to some of the greatest geological pressures on earth, the Danakil Depression is extremely active and scattered with a large number of volcanoes, including the Erta Ale Volcano, while the landscape is covered with lava flows almost wherever you go.

 

Further South, the Afar Triangle has become famous for the archaeological dig (research site) where in 1974 the then oldest humanoid fossils were found dating back 3.1 million years and named Lucy after the Beatles song that was playing at the moment of the discovery.

 

The weather at the Danakil Depression from the village of Dallol:

 

Climate data for the Danakil Depression at Dallol

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Record high °C (°F)

46
(115)

46
(115)

46
(115)

45
(113)

45
(113)

45
(113)

46
(115)

47
(117)

46
(115)

46
(115)

45
(113)

46
(115)

47
(117)

Average high °C (°F)

40.9
(105.6)

40.5
(104.9)

40.4
(104.7)

40.8
(105.4)

40.3
(104.5)

40.7
(105.3)

40.7
(105.3)

40.1
(104.2)

40.1
(104.2)

40.2
(104.4)

40.3
(104.5)

40.9
(105.6)

40.49
(104.88)

Daily mean °C (°F)

35.6
(96.1)

35.6
(96.1)

35.8
(96.4)

35.6
(96.1)

35.0
(95)

35.9
(96.6)

35.7
(96.3)

35.9
(96.6)

35.9
(96.6)

35.9
(96.6)

35.1
(95.2)

35.0
(95)

35.58
(96.05)

Average low °C (°F)

30.1
(86.2)

30.2
(86.4)

30.4
(86.7)

30.8
(87.4)

30.6
(87.1)

30.1
(86.2)

30.7
(87.3)

30.7
(87.3)

30.7
(87.3)

30.6
(87.1)

30.9
(87.6)

30.2
(86.4)

30.5
(86.92)

Record low °C (°F)

24
(75)

24
(75)

24
(75)

24
(75)

24
(75)

23
(73)

23
(73)

23
(73)

24
(75)

24
(75)

24
(75)

24
(75)

23
(73)

 % humidity

88

89

90

89

85

80

80

81

83

83

82

85

84.6

Source: D.E. Pedgley, "Air Temperature at Dallol, Ethiopia," Meteorological Magazine v.96 (1967): 265-271

 

DANAKIL DESERT

MODULE

DANAKIL DESERT: DISCOVER THE RAW NATURE AND OTHER ETHIOPIAN NATIONAL PARKS with former professional to Ethiopian Park Service

Day 1 Mek'ele - Hamed Ale ±180km

  1. Berahile, visit the salt market and pay the entrance fee into the Danakil Desert;

  2. Hamed Ale base camp.

 

Day 2 Hamed Ale - Erta Ale ± 80km;

  1. Sulfur geysers at Dalol;

  2. Sulfur pool;

  3. Salt winning site of the Afar People;

  4. hike up the Erta Ale after 4 o clock to benefit from the lower temperature;

  5. Make camp at the top of Erta Ale;

  6. Admire the glow of the Erta Ale Ale at night.

 

Day 3 Erta Ale - Mek'ele ±260km

  1. Walk down from Erta Ale;

  2. Depart from the Danakil Desert to return to Mekele.

Costs $595

. Included: meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals. Minimum number of  passengers is 2.

Ask for a group discount.

 

Tourist expedition to the Danakil Depression On the way to the Erta Ale volcano through the Danakil Depression
Camping at Hamed Ela, Danakil Depression Amed Ela Tourist base camp for visiting Lake Afrera or Asale

Our Ethiopia safaris include this Ethiopia Desert Route module. Be aware that the Danakil Depression has no comfortable accommodations and only has one road traversing it, which does not reach some of the most interesting places like the sulphur springs, the Afar salt mining site and the Erta Ale Volcano. Tourists are accommodated in tents and primitive structures, while food and water is brought along. 

 

Lake Afrera at 100 m below sea level, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia  

 

 

The lowest point in Ethiopia and the 8th lowest land point on Earth, Lake Asale lies 115 m below sea level.

 

Salt Hoodoos

Salt hoodoos and other salt rock formations at Lake Karum

Alcaline sulfur salt hoodoo formation, Lake Asala, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia Extinct geyser hot springs Lake Karum, Afar Depression, Ethiopia

Rarely mentioned, Asale Lake has a fascinated site with saline hoodoos.

The sulfur springs of Lake Asale at the former Dallol salt mine, move about over time, leaving behind dead geyser-like heads on the former fumaroles consisting of sulfur salts.

Hot Springs

Hot sulfur spring, Lake Karum or Asale, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia Asale Lake, Danakil Depression hot springs, Ethiopia

Hot sulfur lake at Lake Asale with mushroom shaped salt formations and colored crystallizations.

 

Hot sulfur springs at the former Dallol Mining camp, Lake Asale, Danakil Depression Lake Asale hot springs, Danakil or Afar Depression, Ethiopia

The Sulfur hot springs at the former Dallol mining camp are similar in beauty to Yellow Stone's Mammoth Springs, but with different colors.

 

Palms near Amed Ela, Lake Asale, Ethiopia Dwarf palms in the Danakil Depression

Often, during the day, the sky is loaded with dust and sand, as strong winds are very characteristic of the area.

 

Dune formation resulting from fierce winds loaded with dust and sand, which get stabilized by dwarf palms.

Traditional salt mining by Afar at Lake Karum Camels at Lake Assale
Camels at the Dallol Depression, Ethiopia

Traditional Salt Mining

With salt being a scarce commodity for thousands of years, the salt caravans of Ethiopia took this coveted product to many remote inland places up to several thousands of kilometers into Asia. 

Camels and donkeys waiting to get loaded for the salt transport to Berahile.

 

Afar People

The Afar people are hardy pastoral people who live in some of the most extreme climates on earth, with very little rainfall, the world's hottest year around temperatures and almost permanent winds, whipping the desert's sand and dust into a permanent suspension in the air. Their huts are built from dense mats to keep the dust and sand out. 

Afar house Afar hut
Afar men Afar mothers with children
Afar elder Afar girl

Befriended Afar leader.

Afar women and children.

   
Cooling off at Lake Afrera, a brackish alkaline lake below sea level in the Danakil Depression

Palms at fresh water well at brackish Lake Afrera

Having fun at brackish Lake Afrera after arrival from a long cross country drive through the desert.

 

Wildlife of the Danakil Depression

 

Wildlife in the Danakil Depression is extremely rare and threatened, but some species still hang on to their survival. You will not see a great variety of species, even among the birds, sightings are rare. However, some very exiting species still are around and if you see them, it will be a very rewarding encounter.

Oryx gazella's are extremely rare in the Danakil Depression Somali ostrich are very rare in the Danakil desert.

The Oryx is an incredibly draught hardy species that can go many days without water if needed.

The Somali Ostrich has a limited distribution, restricted to the Horn of Africa.

   
Cheetahs still survive in the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia Some of the last Somali Asses still survive in the Danakil Desert

Cheetahs are very draught tolerant species and a few individuals still roam the Danakil Depression.

Probably no more than 100 individuals of the wild form of the donkey, the Somali Wild Ass are surviving, and one or two dozen or so migrate through the region, but it is unlikely you get to see one on our Danakil Depression Tours.

 

After visiting Lake Assale and the Erta Ale Volcano, it is possible to continue to Lake Afrera and from there to the Lucy site at Hadar, but most people return to Tigray capital Mekele to continue from there to Lalibela.

 

Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 2 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for very comfortable, affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The second best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and than continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $25 - $35 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!

 

Ecotravel Worldwide is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA, a social responsibility and conservation company. About CO2 emission offset for your travels.

Phone USA:

(++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740

Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (++251) (0) 911 440 915
Email: niks

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