Monday, 2 January 2017

Danakil Depression and Ert'ale Active Volcano

Danakil Depression
Ert'ale active Volcano

Description:  Danakil Depression and Ert’ale,
The Danakil Desert is located between the Ethiopian plateau and the Red Sea. The salt plain near Dallol is the lowest part at 116 metres below sea level. In prehistoric times, the territory was in the form of a gulf. According to geologists, this is a sea bed that emerged for a brief moment in the history of the planet; the Afar depression will in fact form a future ocean with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

This geological anomaly means that the entire area is very unstable. There are numerous active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, together with secondary manifestations such as the stupendous colors of the salt surfaces, caused by the geysers with their various different chlorides. This inhospitable territory is home to nomadic sheep-herding Afar people.

Day 1, Flight to Mekele and drive to Hamed Ella

Morning flight to Mekele and on arrival drive to Homedale via Berehale, which is about totally160km from Mekele. Initially we will drive 100km from Mekele to Berhale, then here in Berhale we will have a lunch stop ( using lunch box) and the place where we will pick up police scouts, road guides and permits for the Afar region. Then we will drive around 60km from Berehale to Hamedella. Along the way we will see the camel caravans, whom carrying salt from the salt lake to Mekele for sale.  Overnight camping in Hamedella.

Day 2,  Dallol /Danakil Depression

Drive to Dallol, which at 116m below sea level is the lowest point on the African continent.  Admire the stunning landscape, the ground many shades of red, yellow and orange from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. where lakes of acid form colorful sulfur formation in the hottest and deepest part of Danakil depression and you will also witness the cutting of salt bricks and salt being loading on to camels for the long caravans (approximately 1500-2000 camels weekly). Further drive to Abala overnight camping.

Day 3, Ert’ale active Volcano

In the next morning continue driving to the so called ‘Dodum’ which is the base camp for Ear’tale. So far, the road has two parts, the first and the largest part of the road is covered by sand and very flat land but the rest of the road is covered by rock which is very rough road. Then there will be a lunch stop in Kusrawit, the place where supplementary scouts and camels for the luggage are arranged here by the chef of the village. Afterward continue driving to ‘Dodum’, The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. As the sun goes down you will start the 3-hour hike up to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano.  The hike may be done by camel or on foot.  At the top you will descend into the caldera and proceed to the crater’s edge.  Here you will see the permanent lava lake inside the volcano (the only permanent lava lake in the world).  You will camp overnight on the rim of the volcano caldera. Camping.

Day 4, Drive to Mekele

Early in the morning visit Ear’tale the second time look at the volcano’s lake of lava before descending from the volcano. Then walk down to get our vehicles at Dodom and then drive back to Mekel for the flight back to Addis and end of the trip.

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