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Danakil Depression Tour

Danakil Depression tour is a 5-day safari in Ethiopia to the famous Erta Ale Volcano. This African safari in Ethiopia starts and ends in Addis Ababa going to the lowest point in Africa.

About The 5 Day Danakil Depression Tour

Danakil Depression tour is a 5-day safari in Ethiopia. This African safari in Ethiopia takes you to Erta Ale Volcano. The Danakil depression tour is from Addis Ababa. You will visit great sceneries that include Erta Ale Volcano. Your accommodation on this 4-day Ethiopia safari will be in tents. You will have an opportunity to try out salt mining with the Afar people. This Ethiopia volcano safari takes you to the lowest point in Africa.

Danakil Depression Tour

Highlights of the 5 Day Danakil Depression Tour

  • Scenery
  • Culture
  • Salt Pans
  • People

Detailed 5 Day Danakil Depression Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa

Meet and greet upon arrival at the Mole International Airport by our Ethiopia safari rep. Your 5 day Danakil Depression tour starts with a transfer to your Addis Ababa Hotel. You will head to your hotel in Addis Ababa.

On the first day, 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. This offers insight into the fascinating history of ancient Ethiopia. You get to also see a more cosmopolitan contemporary culture.

Highlights on the city tour include Ethiopia’s most important Orthodox Church. This is a visit to the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The tour also goes to the National Museum. This is home to famous hominid fossil remains of Lucy. There are other archaeological and historical finds.

Overnight will be at Jupiter hotel in Addis Ababa on bed and breakfast basis


Day 2: Addis Ababa – Mekele – Afdera Village

Start the day on Danakil Depression tour with an early breakfast. You will then enjoy a transfer to the Bole International Airport. be on the morning flight to Mekele.

You will get our driver guide waiting upon you in Mekele. He will brief you on this Danakil Depression tour. With all camping gear and luggage ready, it’s time to leave. Your Danakil Depression tour will proceed into the Danakil Depression.

Danakil Depression Tour

Today’s journey will be by asphalt road. You will be heading to Afdera via Abala town. This is where the local regional police will be joining your Danakil Depression tour.

Proceed to Afdera with the escort arriving later in the day. you will set your camp in Afdera Village. Today’s night will be spent under the star filled African sky.


Day 3: Afdera village – Erta Ale volcano

You will begin this day on Danakil Depression tour with warm breakfast. This will be followed by a morning visit to Lake Afdera. This is a salty lake that is 100 kmsq. in size.

When you are here you can see the modern way of salt mining. This is the place that provides most of the salt for Ethiopia. You are allowed to swim in the lake as well as the nearby hot spring.

This Danakil Depression tour will then proceed to Erta Ale via Kursuwad. The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. You will enjoy the views as you wait for the sun to go down.

Danakil Depression Tour

This will be the starts of a 3-hour hike up to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. This hike can either be on foot or can be done by camel. At the top, you’ll descend into the Caldera and proceed to the crater’s edge.

It is time to enjoy the sight of the permanent lava lake inside the volcano. This is the only permanent lava lake in the world. Your overnight will be on the rim of the volcano caldera in a crude hut.


About the Erta Ale volcano

Erta Ale volcano is a large basaltic shield volcano in the Erta Ale volcanic range. It is in the central northern Danakil depression (NE Ethiopia).

The Erta Ale Volcano is famous for its persistent lava lake. This has been active during most of the past decades since it was first discovered in the 1960s.

Erta Ale is only 613 m high, but as typical for a shield volcano has a gentle slope and a large 40 km diameter base.

The summit is truncated by a complex, elongated 1700 x 600 m wide caldera. This contains vast lava flows and several larger and smaller pit craters. Most notably is the active north and south crater, which contains the lava lake at present.

Erta Ale is one of the main attractions of the Danakil. It has become a popular tour destination in recent years.

Danakil Depression Tour

Erta Ale is one of the few volcanoes on the world that have an almost persistent lava lake. It is an isolated basaltic shield volcano, 50 km wide. It rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression.

The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km elliptical summit crater. It has several steep-sided pit craters, one of them containing a lava lake.

There is another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression. It is elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range. It is to the SE of the summit bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side.

Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures. They have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim.

The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes. These have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the northern flank of Erta Ale.


Day 4: Erta Ale volcano – Hamed Ila village

Another early morning start on this Ethiopia Volcano safari. You will be up in time to witness the sun rise over the horizon.

Danakil Depression Tour

You will have a last look at the volcano’s lake of lava. This is before descending from the volcano. This will be followed by your breakfast down the volcano. Your Ethiopia volcano safari will then leave for Hamed Ila.

This drive will take you through the arid desert land of the Afar people. In Hamed Ila you will see the life of the local Afar people. You will also witness the camel caravans.

This is on their way in and out from the salt lakes. Tonight’s sleep will be camping under the stars in Hamed Ila village.


Day 5: Hamed Ila village – Dallol – Mekele – Addis Ababa

You will wake up to your morning breakfast on the Danakil Depression tour. This will be followed by departure to Dallol. This is the lowest point on the African continent. It lies at an altitude of 116m below sea level.

Take your time to admire the stunning landscape and the ground. There are many shades of red, yellow and orange from the hot water. There are acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. You will then proceed to Lake Asale.

This is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. Here you’ll witness and even try their laborious task of removing salt from the ground. As you do this, hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekele. With your last views of the desert, you’ll then proceed to Mekele arriving in time for your flight to Addis. You will be in time to connect to your flight home

———- End of 5 Day Danakil Depression Tour ———-


5 Day Danakil Depression Costs:

What is included in the 4 Day Ethiopia Volcano Safari cost?

  • 4WD land cruisers with a/c minimum 4 pax in one car
  • all fuel expenses and driver’s allowances
  • Accommodation in Addis Aababa on bed and breakfast basis
  • 3 meals per day
  • All needed Entrance fees and licenses
  • Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour
  • plenty bottles of water and coffee or tea with meals
  • Local guide service for the Afar region -Cooking, camping equipment
  • Experienced cook throughout the whole tour

5 Day Danakil Depression Tour Price excludes:

  • beverages
  • Camera and/or photo fees
  • Tips for driver, guides, etc (at your discretion)
  • Items of a personal nature

What to Carry on the 5 Day Danakil Depression Tour

  • Light (walking in the night)
  • Small backpack for the trek to the top of the volcano
  • Closed, comfortable shoes (trekking shoes)
  • Sun protection like sun cream, hat
  • Jacket for the night on the volcano

About Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression is found in the Danakil Desert. This is along the borders of Eritrea and Djibouti. The area comes with an average temperatures of 35°C and there are days when temperatures exceed 48°C.

The average annual rainfall of between 100 and 200m. Danakil Depression is rightly considered one of the most inhospitable places on earth. The National Geographic went so far as to call it the cruellest.

Danakil Depression Tour

Danakil Depression is situated at the head of the African Rift Valley. The Danakil depression tour takes you to the Afar Triangle on the so-called triple point.

The Danakil Depression constitutes one of the lowest places on earth. It’s 100 below sea level depression, the direct result of the retreating actions of the Arabian and (two halves of) the African plate. The area around Danakil Depression is especially volatile.

The earth’s crust here is especially thin. It is the resultant volcanic activity the explanation for the depression’s extraordinary landscape. A Danakil Depression tour allows you to see cones, shields, lava, geysers and salt pans.

Afari is home to the nomadic Afar. Its one main industry the mining, transport and sale of salt or amor. The Danakil Depression and wider desert is the preserve of a civilisation that occupies the borderlands of Eritrea and Djibouti as well as Ethiopia.

Their language is a part of the Cushtic branch of the Afro-Asiatic. You will find Muslim and traditionally divided between the noble Asaemara and the desert-dwelling Adaemara. Afar society breaks down into clans, the desert divided into territories.

Wealth is measured by livestock, prowess and with it, rights to marriage by warrior capabilities. The trade of salt, the taxes levied, are the Afar’s major source of revenue. They are, in every respect, an amazing people.

Given the desert climate, the Danakil Depression is best visited between November and March, when temperatures drop to a sweltering average of 25 °C.

Where Danakil Depression Tour Goes

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s sprawling capital in the highlands bordering the Great Rift Valley. This is the country’s commercial and cultural hub. It is your first point of call on this Danakil Depression tour.

Your Danakil Depression tour will begin with Addis Ababa city tour depending on your time of arrival. You will visit National Museum exhibits Ethiopian art, traditional crafts and prehistoric fossils. These include replicas of the famous early hominid, “Lucy.”

You will also visit the burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie, copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, is a neo-baroque architectural landmark.

Addis Ababa is a city of contrasts where new skyscrapers stand on dirt roads. There are international business conferences meet next to traditional markets where rural customs are preserved.

The city is growing rapidly and tourism in Ethiopia is on the rise. However, manypeople going on Ethiopia safari still see the capital as a mere stopover on the way to more remote areas of the country.

The hectic city can be daunting, but “Addis”, as it is known to locals, is an exciting cultural hub with plenty to see and do – and excellent food.

Afdera Village

Afdera (Afar Afxeera) is one of the woredas in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. It is named after the saline Lake Afdera.

Afdera Village is located in the southern part of the Afar Depression. A Danakil Depression tour  goes to part of the Administrative Zone 2. Afdera is bordered on the southwest by the Administrative Zone 4, on the west by Erebti and Abala.

On the north by Berhale, on the northeast by Eritrea, and on the southeast by Administrative Zone 1. The largest town of this woreda is Afdera.

You will on this Danakil Depression tour see the highest peak in Afdera is Mount Mallahle (1875 meters). Other mountains in this woreda include Erta Ale and Borawli. Mining is the principal industry in this woreda. The best known resource extracted is salt.

According to the Afar Regional Mining and Energy Office, there are 300 active land grants around Lake Afdera, which the Office reports creates 1,800 permanent and over 40,000 part-time jobs.

An all-weather road constructed in the 1990s connects this woreda to the main Awash – Asseb highway. About 90 kilometers of this gravel road, connecting Afdera to Serdo, was completed in late January 2009. 

At the Tio waterhole, near the southeastern border with Administrative Zone 4, L.M. Nesbitt located the 1884 massacre of the Italian expedition. This was led by Gustavo Bianchi and Giuseppe Maria Giulietti.

Nesbitt was prevented from erecting a cairn to mark the site by the Afars, who believed this was part of a blood feud.

Erta Ale volcano

This is the ultimate destination on your Danakil Depression tour. Erta Ale volcano is a large basaltic shield volcano in the Erta Ale volcanic range. It is in the central northern Danakil depression (NE Ethiopia).

The Erta Ale Volcano is famous for its persistent lava lake. This has been active during most of the past decades since it was first discovered in the 1960s.

Erta Ale is only 613 m high, but as typical for a shield volcano has a gentle slope and a large 40 km diameter base.

The summit is truncated by a complex, elongated 1700 x 600 m wide caldera. This contains vast lava flows and several larger and smaller pit craters. Most notably is the active north and south crater, which contains the lava lake at present.

Erta Ale is one of the main attractions of the Danakil Depression tour. It has become a popular Ethiopia tour destination in recent years.