- Written by Keb
The Danakil Depression, also called Dallol Depression, is a desert with some areas that are more than 100 meters below sea level. This is special because it is one of the lowest points on earth not covered by water. There are hot yellow sulfur fields among the sparkling white salt beds. Heat isn't the only thing people feel in the Dallol Depression. Alarming earth tremors are frequently felt. There are also several active volcanoes. So just how hot is it at the Dallol Depression.
The people who are living in the region are Afar tribes, they are pastoralists and some of them engaged in salt mining as the depression is covered with salt. The most attraction in the region is Erta Ale, Active volcano, which is so magnificent attraction due to its different colorful lava flowing from the crust of the earth.
Tour Code: FET-DDT 01 Tour Program to Dankile Depression
Attractions: History, Religion, Scenery & Wildlife
Duration: 14 Days & 13Nights
Transportation: Surface drive
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. Overnight stay in Bole Ambassador hotel, Addis Ababa.
Day 2: Addis Ababa City Tour
You will have an early breakfast and your first visit in Addis Ababa will be the National Museum (pre historic, cultural, archaeological attractions), Ethnographic Museum of Addis Ababa University (culture, dressing style, traditional practices of over 80 ethnic groups, and collection of traditional musical instruments). Lunch at Lucy Restaurant.
Your visit also comprises tourist attraction sites like Emperor Minelik’s Palace, St. Raguel’s Church (after a drive to Entoto Mountain - 3000 meter above sea level), Merkato, (the largest open market in Africa).In the evening, we will host you at one of the best traditional restaurants of Addis where you can see the folk dances of the Ethiopian people and taste Ethiopian variety of meals. Overnight stay in Bole Ambassador hotel, Addis Ababa.
Day 3: Drive to Awash National Park
After breakfast, you will drive to Awash National Park (225 Km from Addis). On the way, you will visit Lake Basaka and its aquatic birds. Up on arrival at the park, you will check into a lodge. In the late afternoon, you will do sightseeing at the Awash waterfalls and see the wild life. In the evening, you will have dinner, rest & spend the night there. Overnight stay in Awash Falls Lodge.
Day 4: Drive to Semera
You will have an early breakfast and drive to Semera (357km from Awash NP). There you will check into a hotel. Finish all the formalities in Semera where you will get your Afar permits and we will pick up the mandatory scouts and road leaders. In the evening, you will have dinner and stay the night at the hotel. Overnight stay in Local hotel.
Day 5: Drive to Afdera
Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to Afdera (244 Km from Semra) via Serdo on a track through the desolate landscape with only some coned shaped volcano’s here and there to Afdera salt lake ( Lake Afdera is a wonderfully bright green lake situated with black basalt mountains behind. Here you can see salt extraction from the Lake, where the Afar nomads continue the same activities for a century. The salt extraction here is the main supply of salt to the country). Late in the afternoon you will visit the salt extractors at the lakeside. In the evening you will stretch your tent. You will have dinner and stay the night in the tent. Overnight stay camping at Afdera.
Day 6: Drive Erta ale via Kusurawde
You will have breakfast & drive to Erta ale via Kusurawde (60km from Afdera) and continue drive to Dodom (20 Km from Kusurawde), a nearby settlement to Erta ale (the Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption). Today is an early-to-rise start at 2am to start your hike (approximately 10km from Dodom) to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. At the top, you will peer down at the permanent lava lake (the only one in the world!) while the sun rises over the horizon. After the hike, back to camp and a bit of breakfast, you’ll continue driving to Hamed Ella for overnight.
Day 7: Drive to Hamed Ela
Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to Hamed Ela (approximately 30 Km from Erta ale). Late in the afternoon you will walk for a few minute following the camel caravan carrying salt bars from the depression to the highland. In the evening you will stretch your tent. You will have dinner and stay the night in the tent. Overnight stay camping at Hamed Ela.
Day 8: Drive to Dallol
An early morning drive will take a day trip to Dallol, (which at 116m below sea level is the lowest point on the African continent & 120km from Hamed Ella). Here the landscape is beautiful, the ground many shades of red and yellow from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground). You will also visit Lake Asale, which is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. Late afternoon drive back to Hamed Ella for overnight camping. You will have dinner and stay the night in the tent. Overnight stay camping at Hamed Ella.
Day 9: Drive to Mekelle
Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to Mekelle (170 Km from Hamed Ela) via Berhaile. You will see the camel caravans along the way, carrying salt from the salt lake to Mekele for sale. Then you will arrive in Mekelle (late afternoon). You will check into a hotel. You will have dinner, rest & spend the night there. Overnight stay in Axum Hotel.
Day 10: Drive to Lalibela
After breakfast, you will be driven to Lalibela (470 Km from Mekele) through the Ambalage Chain of Mountains. Your arrival in Lalibela will be late in the afternoon. You will check into a hotel, have dinner and spend the night there.
Day 11: 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 Tukul Village hotel.
Day 12: 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 (on the back of a mule or on foot), Yimerhane Kirsotos, Nakute LeAb or Genete Maryam. Overnight stay in Tukul Village hotel.
Day 13: Drive to Kombolcha
An early morning drive after breakfast will take you to Kombolcha (335 Km). En route visit Hayk Estifanos Monastery (45 Km before Kombolcha, famous for its variety of bird life near the town of Hayk). Later, you will drive to Kombolcha & upon arrival, you will check into a hotel & stay the night there. Overnight stay in Sunny Side hotel.
Day 14: Drive to Addis Ababa and departure
After breakfast, you will be driven back to Addis Ababa (375 Km). You will arrive in Addis Ababa late afternoon where you will do some shopping for souvenirs. Finally you will be taken to a farewell dinner depending on your scheduled flight; you will be transferred out to Bole International Airport for return flight back home.