The part of the world, which is called the Danakil Depression, is one of the remotest, lowest and unique land formations of the world. It is located in the Great Rift Valley. In this adventure you will explore Erta Alle, an absolutely unique Lava Lake which is constantly erupting, and Dallol, the lowest part of the Danakil Depression (116 m below sea level). Dallol is an extremely hot and inhospitable place but offers extraordinary and beautifully colorful landscape. It is famous for its fascinating rock formations, crystal and mineral deposits. The final part of your adventure takes you to Lake Asale, famous salt mining lake and visits to salt workers when cutting, shaping and loading the salt. Furthermore, salt merchants along with their endless camel caravans will be visited.
Getting to the Dallol is not the problem, but returning with a sense of humour could be, unless you use a reliable Travel Agency like Dan Sunshine Tours.
As Danakil Depression is the hottest place on earth, you definitely need a four-wheel drive for safety and comfort, with a second vehicle for back up. It is therefore good to find friends to share the costs. You will also need space for the two Afar policemen and the tourist office guide whom the regional authority insists on accompanying you. This is despite having your own excellent guide and driver from Dan Sunshine Tours as well as the appropriate pass papers we will organize for you. This isn't a hardship since a larger group creates a better atmosphere and a greater cultural experience.
Our advice, if you have the time, is to do a circular trip and not to take the more direct way along the salt route from Mekele. Travel via Awash, Asaita and the salt lake at Afrera, visiting one or two live volcanoes! Camping overnight near the rim, allows you to witness the spectacular sight of a live volcano by night. It is worth it to see the bubbling lava.
Once in the Depression, you may trek with the camels for some time, on their way up to Brhaile or pass by the camel train in the car arriving there within a day. You may choose to visit one or two of the famous Gare Alta churches of Tigray on your way back.
If you have a head for heights you may climb up to the highest churches to appreciate the view from the top of the mountains. The choice is yours.
The Dallol will exceed all your expectations: fantastic scenery, sulphur springs, colourful mineral deposits and the salt lake area itself. However, nothing will match the wake up call of hundreds of camels passing your tent in the early morning on the way to the salt cutting.
End of September to February is the coolest time when you are likely to see many caravans.
Check out our Danakil Depression Tour