Accessible from Oct - May only.
Get ready for an incomparable adventure through the most enigmatic deserts of the world and the mysterious mountains of Ethiopia. This route is considered the wildest, most daring, and most adventurous of our catalog since we face extremely high temperatures and very rough terrain to reach one of the most bizarre and inhospitable places on this planet, the Danakil desert. The desert by itself is a depression caused by the separation of the continental plates that in turn caused the earth to sink, forcing us to descend to a level of up to 130m below sea level.
We will start the route in 4x4 vehicles starting from Semera, the Afar capital. During the drive, there are no hotels, hostels, or pensions throughout the area. And hence, we will camp at Ahmed Ela, the base camp for excursions in this area. From here, we will visit the Assa Ale petrified salt lake where we experience the magic of the infinite horizon. The Dalol Sulfur Plain - another visit site of interest - also offers a surreal extraterrestrial-like landscape comprised of a bed of multi-hued sulfurous hot springs, pierced by steaming cone-shaped vents that are shaped by undulating rock formations, all encased in a dense layer of salt sediment. To add more beauty to the first day of the excursion, we will also meet the long camel caravans of the Afar nomad people transporting the extracted salts to the markets of the highlands.
We drive to Dodum the following day, to contemplate the natural spectacle offered by the Erta Ale volcano. This active volcano still houses a 1 km square caldera with the only permanent lava lake on the planet. We overnight on matrasses, on the ground, nearby the crater with millions of stars over our heads and roaring lava under our feet, experiencing one of the most hypnotizing moments on this planet.
After enjoying the sunrise, we walk back to the base camp where a large breakfast awaits us. On the drive back to Semera after breakfast, we stop at Lake Afdera for a swim on the salt lake and a visit to the nearby hot springs. Finally, we end this breathtaking adventure in Semera town for an overnight at a hotel or flight back to the capital.
DAY 1 – SEMERA - AHMED ELA
Departure from Semera – Camel caravans - Sunset at Lake Assale – Camping at Ahmed Ela.
DAY 2 – AHMED ELA - ERTA ALE VOLCANO
Dallol sulfuric plains – Salt caves – Drive to Dodum – Night trekking to the crater – Overnight in the open at the volcano.
DAY 3 – ERTA ALE VOLCANO - SEMERA – END OF EXTENSION
Descend to base camp after contemplating the sunrise - Lake Afdera – Return to Semera and stay in a Hotel or domestic flight back to Addis Ababa.
NOTE: THIS ROUTE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. It requires a great capacity to withstand extreme heat, rough terrain, and the days of camping. We recommend you to add this extension at the end of a trip as it demands high physical exertion.
The only way to enter the Danakil desert is via 4x4 vehicles. For safety and logistic reasons, travelers must join other groups and travel in a convoy, sharing guides, scouts, etc.
The accommodation during the Danakil expedition is very basic camping without any infrastructure. Camping will be out in the open with mattresses on the ground.
We provide full board during camping days and lots of water for each traveler.
Meals and accommodation in Semera are not included.