NATIONAL PARKS SAFARIS ETHIOPIA

HIGHLIGHTS, WHERE THEY ARE AND HOW TO VISIT

 

 3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR, ETHIOPIA

3 DAYS DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR take you to Salt camel caravans, hot sulfur springs, world's only liquid lava lake Erta Ale. Visit one of the world's wildest places!

 

3 Days' Danakil Depression Tour, Ethiopia

The  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 Mekelle 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 point about 115m below sea level. Our 3 Days Danakil Depression Tour, takes you to all the highlights:

  1. Hamed Ela base camp where the worlds few remaining camel caravans still go through, packed with salt;

  2. The hot sulfur springs at Dallol;

  3. The salt mining by the Afar people at Lake Asale;

  4. The Salt Hoodoos near Dallol;

  5. The Erte Ale Volcano with one of the few lava lakes in the world.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we go everywhere, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. They show our professionalism, our keen eye for detail and our passion for the culture and nature of Ethiopia. So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because we don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale? We let you know. Just drop us a mail and we will check it out for you.

Our tours get you to ALL the 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; Eastern 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 may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines!

 

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.

 

DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOURS; Tourist expedition to the Danakil Depression

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: On the way to the Erta Ale volcano through the Danakil Depression

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Camping at Hamed Ela, Danakil Depression

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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. 

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Alcaline sulfur salt hoodoo formation, Lake Asala, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN 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

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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.

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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.

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Palms near Amed Ela, Lake Asale, Ethiopia

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN 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.

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Traditional salt mining by Afar at Lake Karum

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Camels at Lake Assale

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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. 

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar house

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar hut.

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar men

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar mothers with children

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar elder

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Afar girl

Befriended Afar leader.

Afar women and children.

   

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Palms at Lake Afrera.

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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.

 

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Oryx gazella's are extremely rare in the Danakil Depression

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: 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.

   

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA: Cheetahs still survive in the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN 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.

3 DAYS' DANAKIL DEPRESSION TOUR IN ETHIOPIA

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 1 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 affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The 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 then 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 $40 - $70 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!!!

 

What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.

 

National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.

Phone USA:

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

Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

(++251) (0) 911 440 915

Email:

[email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide