15-Days Tour Dankile Depression & Historic Routes of Northern Ethiopia

Tour Description


Tour Code: 15-Days Tour Dankile Depression & Historic Routes of Northern Ethiopia

Attractions: History, Religion, Volcano, Culture & Scenery

Duration: 15 Days &14Nights

Transportation: Surface drive, boat &flights


Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Air port

Meet and greet you FANOS Ethiopia Tours representative at exit of luggage claim and transfer you to the hotel.


You will have an early breakfast and your first visit in Addis Ababa will be the National Museum. It houses numerous antiquarian relics and archaeological artifacts (most famous exhibit is the 3.5 million year old skeleton of Lucy). Then you will continue to visit Mount Entoto (3,200 above sea level. The Church of St Mary (1885) and Emperor Menelik II Palace. The Entoto Museum, with its historical exhibits is well worth a visit.


After lunch you will visit Trinity Cathedral. It was constructed by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1947 (ornamented with carvings and mosaic and other artistic works such as paintings of saints and the apostles on the stained glass) and later late in the afternoon drive to Merkato, (the largest open market in Africa). In the evening you will get back to the hotel, rest, have dinner and relax. Overnight stay in Martin Cozy hotel, Addis Ababa.


Day 2: Fly to Mekelle and drive to Hamed Ela


After having a breakfast you will drive to Hamed Ela (180 Km from Mekelle) via Berehaile. On arrival at Berehaile, you will pick up mandatory police, scouts, road guides, and permits for the Afar region.  On your way you will notice striking changes in scenery as you drop from 2,220 elevation to below sea level, the Dankile depression begins here. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, but is nonetheless spectacular, full of eye-catching colors, as in the sulphur springs. The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level.

En route you will see many long caravans going to the salt mines and others coming out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels. Overnight stay camping at Hamed Ela.


Day 3: Excursion to Ragad (Asebo) & Dallol Depression, 25 km from Hamed Ela


Early in the morning after having a breakfast you will have a day trip to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the salts are mined. Observe the breaking of the salt from the ground, cutting into rectangular pieces and loading on camels.


Then you drive ahead to Dallol(116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol  includes  the Sulfur lake , Salt mountain, colourfull hot spring water, and Camel Caravan. Later back to Hamed Ela for lunch. 

After lunch & brief break you will drive to Abala (150Km asphalt road 3hrs). Abala is small settlement & with moderate temperature, and basic accommodation with shower. Upon arrival check in local hotel. Rest, relax, and dinner.  Overnight stay local hotel Abala.


Day 4: Drive to Erta ale (150 Km asphalt & 45km sand road, total 195km from Hamed Ela)


After having an early breakfast (possible at 06:30) you will drive to Erta ale, (195Km from Abala).

Up on arrival at Dodom take rest, relax & fill your energy for trek to Erta ale (17Km from Dodom) that takes approximately 3 hrs trekking.


Early dinner around 17:00 then as the sun sets, you leave behind the cars, use Camel to transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses, mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where you spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. Erta ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. Overnight at the rim of the Volcano.


Day 5: Drive to Mekele (240 KMS)


Early the next morning, you will descend from Mount Erta ale, returning to the base camp Dodom for a well-earned breakfast. After having a breakfast & brief break you will drive to Mekele (240 Km from Erta ale) via the small towns of Habala and Erepti.  Overnight stay in Welwalo Pension, Mekelle.

Day 6: Drive to Axum


After breakfast, you will be driven to Axum (280Km from Mekelle). On the way you can visit Wukro Cherko (jutting out from a low cliff in mock monolithic style church).


And also visit the Ethiopia’s earliest known capital city of Yeha which is considered as the birthplace of the country’s earliest civilization. Its single most remarkable antiquity is the well-preserved walls of the 12m-high stone temple of the moon that is thought to be over 2500 years old. In the evening, you will get back to the hotel and spend the night there. Overnight stay in  Africa hotel, Axum.

Day 7: City Tour in Axum


You will have breakfast and will visit all day to the Steale of Axum, the Inscription of Ezana, Queen Sheba’s Palace, the famous St. Mary of Zion Church, ruins of ancient palaces (built until 4th century A.D.), with lunch break in between then outside Axum you can visit also the tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel dating to 6th century.


In the evening, you will get back to the hotel and spend the night there. Overnight stay in  Africa hotel, Axum.


Day 8: Drive to Debark

Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to Debark (270 Km from Axum) through Tekeze vally, adjacently looking to chains of the Simien Mountains & magnificent topography & scenery and crossing the Lima Limo gorge.


You will check into a hotel and take a break. Dinner will be at the hotel. Overnight stay in Simien Park hotel.


Day 9: Full Day Excursion in Semien Mountains


After having a breakfast, you can start a walk just from the lodge with the local guide and scout along a track which brings you to the edge of the escarpment where the panorama makes you feel on top of the world. You can walk (part of) the Michibi track (depending on the fitness of the group) and continue drive to Chenek viewpoint.

Then later late in the afternoon drive to Gonder for overnight stay. Dinner will be at the lodge. Overnight stay in AG hotel.


Day 10: Visit Gonder & drive to Bahir dar


Today after having a breakfast you will visit to the Royal Castles & the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes (the bath is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year. You will continue your visit to Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Trinity at the Mount of Light). Then you will have lunch at Four Sister Restaurant.


Then you will be driven to Bahir dar (185 Km). Then you will check into a hotel. Overnight stay in pensions, Bahir Dar

Optional Excursion: Early in the evening, after dinner you will visit ‘Azmari Bet’ at Traditional Music Houses after which you will back to the hotel and stay there for the night.


Day 11:Visit Island Monasteries & visit Blue Nile Falls


You will have an early breakfast and drive to Lake Tana, take a boat ride where you will visit to the medieval period island monasteries (beautiful mural paintings, religious books & sacred) on Lake Tana such as: Kibran Gabriel (only for men), Entos and on the Zegien peninsula visit Ura Kidan Mehiret, &  Azuwa Mariam.

After lunch, you will drive (some 30 Km) and visit to the Blue Nile Falls. In the evening, you will have dinner and stay the night at the hotel. Overnight stay in Pension, Bahir Dar.


Day 12: Drive to Lalibela through Debre Taobr and Nefase Moucha 


You will have breakfast & drive to Lalibela (325 Km from Bahir dar). On the way visit the Awrama Community (85km from Bahir dar). You will stop for lunch at Debre Tabor. You will arrive in Lalibela late in the afternoon. You will check into a hotel and take a break. Dinner will be at the hotel. Overnight stay in Lalibela hotel.


Day 13: Visit the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela


Early in the morning, after breakfast, your visit will be to the eleven rock-hewn monolithic (carved from a single rock) churches of Lalibela (UNESCO World heritage site, with magnificent architecture & paintings inside the churches). In the evening you will get back to the hotel, rest, have dinner and relax. Overnight stay in Lalibela hotel, Lalibela.


Day 14: One more day to explore the Lalibela Rock-hewn Churches


Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to historical churches around Lalibela like the Hill Church of Asheton Mariam, or Yimerhane Kirsotos. Overnight stay in Lalibela hotel, Lalibela. 

Day 15: Flight back to Addis Ababa & departure


After a relaxed breakfast, a short flight will bring you back to Addis Ababa. You will arrive in Addis Ababa midday/late in the afternoon where you will do some shopping for souvenirs.


Finally you will be taken to a farewell dinner to Ethiopian (Habesha 2000 or YOD Abyssinia) traditional restaurant where you will taste Ethiopian food & drinks and a live music & dance.


Then depending on your flight time, you will be transferred out to Bole International Airport for return flight back home.



Rates: Upon request

Flight cost subject to change.

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·       Transport latest model Two 4 WD Toyota with Experienced English speaking driver throughout the tour including allowances

·       Fuel

·       All Entrance fees and licenses as per the program

·       Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour, only at Dankile Camping days.

·       Water for the whole days & plenty of bottles of water for the Dankile trip.

·       Surface Transport expense with four wheel drive Land-cruiser including fuel expense and drivers allowance

·       Local guide service for the afar region as per the program.

·       Cooking, camping equipment,

·       Scout and police service in Afar Region as per the program.

·       Camel and camel tires in Afar Region as per the program.

·       Experienced cook throughout of the tour as per the program.

·       All entrance fees (including $500 pp in Lalibela) in Dankile + historic routes of northern Ethiopia, local guide, & scout

·       Boat rent fee at Lake Tana

·       Service tax

The price excludes:


·       Tips

·       Domestic flights Addis Ababa-Mekelle-Addis Ababa-Arba Minch-Addis Ababa

·       Meals, except camping day in Dankile Depression


Danakil Deperssion (Dallol & Earta ale) security is a safe area. Mobile coverage is now available in the camping site of Hamed Ela village, Dallol area and on the road between Hamed Ela to Erta ale volcano. Tours travel in convoy and it is prerequisite to have security (Soldiers, & local Militants) when visiting the Danakil.