Danakil Depression

PROGRAM: Danakil Depression
DURATION: 9Days/8Nights
TRANSPORT: Surface and Flight

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa On arrival our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. An overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa, including the National Archeological Museum, where the 3.6-million-year old remains of Lucy rest, whose skeletal remains were discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Ethnological Museum, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight 4-star hotel.
Day 2: Drive to AwashAfter breakfast drive east towards Awash, Enjoy the rift valley of Ethiopia and the remaining of the day visit Awash National park, the hot spring and Awash water falls. Overnight Genet Hotel.
Day 3: Drive to Semera Drive East to Semera, the capital of the Afar region. On the way enjoy the beautiful Ethiopian Rift Valley landscape. At Semera we collect the permission to visit the region and pick up our local Afar guide and two armed rangers, who accompany us during the trip. Overnight local hotel
Day 4: Drive to AfderaWe drive further to the east to Afdera. Here an old man who is important for our trip will join us. Overnight camping
Day 5: Drive to Erta AleDrive from Afdera to Dodom. At Dodom we hire mules to transport ourluggage and camping gear. Then we start the 15 km walk to the crater of Erta Ale (613m above sea level). We arrive at Erta Ale around midnight and walk to see the spectacular, constantly erupting lava lake in the crater. We camp near the crater rim.
Day 6: AhmedelaDrive to Ahmedela along unmarked sandy tracks. Ahmedela is the base to explore the salt mines, watch the salt workers cut the salt and see camel caravans. Overnight camping at Ahmedela
Day 7: Excursion to Dallol After early breakfast drive to the Salt Lake Asale to visit the salt workers and the merchants. Here you will observe salt cutting, shaping and loading on the camel caravans. Proceed to Dallol and enjoy the spectacular view of the small hills, fumaroles and colorful hot springs. Ground water bubbles up leaving colorful minerals behind which form amazing struc-tures on the rim of the hot springs. Camping in Ahmedela
Day 8: Drive to MekeleDrive from Berahile to Mekele -the capital of the Tigray region. On the way visit the Afar village, the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley System and the Western highland region.
Day 9: Fly to Addis Ababa, Departure After breakfast fly to Addis Ababa. In the evening have a fare well dinner in an Ethiopian restaurant with dances from different ethnic groups. Afterwards transfer to the airport for departure.

PROGRAM: Danakil Depression
DURATION: 6Days/5Nights
TRANSPORT: Surface and Flight
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa

Our Ethiopia Expedition to Danakil Depression starts in Addis Ababa where you are collected from the Bole International Airport. From the airport, you are transferred to your comfortable 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa.
On the first day, we embark on a city tour of Addis Ababa, one of Africa's major diplomatic hubs. Addis Ababa features an interesting mix of modern and historical elements offering insight into the fascinating history of ancient Ethiopia, as well as more cosmopolitan contemporary culture. Highlights on the city tour include Ethiopia's most important Orthodox Church, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the National Museum which houses the famous hominid fossil remains of Lucy, amongst other archaeological and historical finds.
Day 2: Fly to Mekele & drive to Hamed Ela
After breakfast on day two, we return to the airport for our flight to Mekele in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.
Landing in Mekele we transfer to 4x4 vehicles and travel overland to the small village of Hamed Ela, near the salt flats of Lake Asale in the Dallol area. Our journey into the remote Afar Region takes us via Tigre villages and the Afar Triangle escarpment. The Afar Triangle, also known as the Afar Depression, is a geological depression in the Great East African Rift Valley. Some palaeontologists consider the Afar Triangle as the cradle of human evolution due to the early hominid fossil discoveries made here.
Dallol lies in the northern part of the Afar Depression, known as the Danakil Depression or Danakil Desert. In the Dallol area, we see impressively long camel caravans moving between the salt works at Lake Asale and Hamed Ela. The Afar salt miners still use traditional mining methods transporting salt bars by camelback. Along the way to Hamed Ela, we also stop to get permits in BrehaAlle and meet our local scouts for the trip to Danakil Depression.
Day 3: Hammed Ela & Dallol (Danakil Depression)
On day three we get up early to catch the camel caravans setting off for the salt mines as the sun rises.
After watching the traditional salt miners head off on their camels we have breakfast at camp and drive to the remote settlement of Dallol in our 4x4 vehicle. The Dallol area of the Danakil Depression experiences the highest average year-round temperature of any inhabited place in the world. Temperatures range between 25°C (77°F) to 64.4°C (148°F) in this part of the Afar Depression. This is one of the hottest and most remote places on the planet. Plant life consists of hardy, drought-resistant shrubs, grasses and small trees. Wildlife species include a few antelopes, Grevy's zebra and the last viable African wild ass population.
We spend the day taking in the extraordinary landscapes of the arid Dallol area, including the Danakil Desert and Lake Asale. The Asale lake, a largely dry expanse of salt plains for most of the year, is the lowest point in Africa at 126 metres below sea level. In this striking area the minerals, sulfurs and salts give the land and water bodies vivid and intense colours unlike anything else on earth. We may also spot ostriches, endemic Archer's lark, Arabian bustards and other interesting birds found in the Afar Depression.
After exploring the otherworldly Dallol area we drive back to the Salt Lake where you can see the Afar and Tigre men, cutting salt into bars which are carried off to the Ethiopian Highlands on camelback at night. In the late afternoon, we visit the rustic village of Afar and the camel caravans at the outpost of Hammed Ella.
Day 4: Hammed Ella to Dodom & ErtaAlle Volcanic Hills
This morning we drive to Erta Ale volcano, passing through dramatic landscapes on our journey of about 85km. We travel through this harsh and inhospitable terrain via two Afar hamlets - Kusrewad and Dodom.
Arriving at Dodom we set off for the remarkable Erta Ale shield volcano. This active volcano is one of only six volcanoes in the world to form lava lakes, featuring the oldest permanent lava lake in existence at its summit. Erta Ale translates from the local Afar language as "smoking mountain" and stands 613 meters above sea level.
This isolated 50 km-wide volcano is surrounded by strange rock formations and lava plains created by volcanic eruptions over the ages. As the daylight fades the molten lake of lava glows fiery-red in a hot cauldron of bubbling basalt and burning rivulets, making for incredible photographs. Tonight we camp out in the hills of Erta Ale witnessing one of nature's most powerful spectacles.
Day 5: Drive to Mekele via Abala and fly to Addis Ababa
Early on the morning of day five, we walk back down the volcanic hills to Dodom. After breakfast in Dodom, we drive on to Abala and then Mekele.
In the late afternoon, we catch a flight from Mekele to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, you are collected from the airport and transferred to a comfortable hotel for your final overnight stay. Tonight you are invited to join a farewell dinner at one of the best traditional restaurants in Addis Ababa. Spend the evening celebrating the adventures of your 4x4 expedition to the remote Danakil Depression, sampling delicious Ethiopian dishes and watching traditional folkloric dances.
Day 6: Addis Ababa
Wake up in the capital of Ethiopia, the economic, political and cultural heart of this ancient land. If time allows, spend some time exploring Addis. Visit the Addis Mercato to do some people-watching and shopping in Africa's largest open-air market.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight, bringing this unforgettable Ethiopia Expedition to Danakil Depression to a close.

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