3 Days Danakil Depression Tour Itinerary

The salty and sulfur rich Danakil depression
Danakil depression of Ethiopia

Danakil Depression of Ethiopia is one of the most extreme and otherworldly places on Earth. Located in the Afar region of Ethiopia, it is the lowest point on the continent and is home to a variety of geological wonders, including active volcanoes, salt lakes, and lava fields.

Danakil depression Tours

Most tours to the depression last for 3-5 days and take in the most popular sights in the region, such as the Erta Ale volcano, the Dallol crater, and the salt lakes of Afrera and Asale.

Besides, tours to the Danakil desert are not for the faint of heart. The conditions in the depression are extreme, with temperatures regularly reaching over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and the air being thick with dust and smoke. Visitors must be prepared for long journeys in 4×4 vehicles, camping in basic accommodations, and dealing with the harsh desert environment.

However, for those who are willing to brave the elements, a tour to the Danakil Depression can be an unforgettable experience. The scenery is unlike anything else on Earth, and the opportunity to see active volcanoes and otherworldly landscapes is truly unique.

  • Itinerary Details
  • What is Included/Excluded
  • Travel Tips

Day 1: Mekelle – Danakil depression (Erta Ale)

Early morning of day one we set off on 4WD to the abandon Danakil Depression departing from Mekelle – Erta Ale volcano. The 247 km drive takes 5 hours on drive passing through different landscapes of solidified lava rocks and sand dune. Passing several small hamlets scattered here and there in this deserted land, you will arrive at Erta Ale camping site. Then, at dusk we will start hiking to the top of the volcano. We spend few hours watching the flowing-lava gifs or actions of the boiling lava.

Danakil Depression and Erta – Ale

Erta Ale contains one of the world’s active lava lake with 613 meters above sea level. Besides, it is notable for being the longest existing lava lake present since the early years of the Twentieth century. Finally, descend back to basic camp to have a dinner and spend the night under stars or in shack. Overnight camping.

Day 2:   Erta Ale – Hamad Ela

Early morning of the day, we hike back to the top of the crater to visit the volcanic activities for the second time during sun rise. After that, descend once again from the top of the crater starting 7:00 am down to camp site for breakfast. Subsequently, after breakfast start driving to Hamad Ela for about 5 hours and have your picnic lunch on the way under shed of palm tree. Then after, start visiting Hamad Ela village to see the life style of the local Afar people. Finally, proceed to Salt Lake Asale a huge salty lake where you will swim in a natural pool Salt Lake. Meanwhile, have a wine/beer while enjoying sunset reflections of the salty ground. Overnight camping in Hamed Ale.

Day 3: Hamad Ela – Dallol – Mekelle         

Waking up early morning, set off to dallol which is known for its various acidic colors with fumaroles, small spitting acid springs, and lakes. At the same time, dallol is also considered the hottest place on earth. Due to its incredible colors, you feel like you are in Mars. Visiting different terrestrial places formed by volcanic activity like salt mountain and the bubbling oily lake creates a different experience of your trip. Finally, drive back to Hamad Ela for lunch and proceed to Mekelle. End of the tour!

Dallol, Danakil depression
Visiting the colorful Dallol, Ethiopia

Are you interested on an unforgettable trekking adventure in North Ethiopia or a special photography tour to Ethiopia? Don’t hesitate to contact us for your tour inquires.

Price includes

4WD land cruisers with ac and 4 clients in one car 

All fuel expenses and drivers allowances

All needed Entrance fees and licenses

Price Excludes

Tips for guides

souvenirs from the Afar people

personal insurance

What do you need?

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

Sleeping bag, pillow or blanket (can also be provided by the agency)

Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour

Local guide service for the Afar region -Cooking, camping equipment

Experienced cook throughout the whole tour

Local guide service for the Afar region -Cooking, camping equipment

Experienced cook throughout the whole tour

Some tips for planning a Danakil Depression tour

  • Book your tour in advance, especially during the peak season (December-February).
  • Choose a tour operator that has a good reputation and that provides experienced guides and drivers.
  • Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent, and water.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that is made of breathable fabrics.
  • Bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • If you are prone to altitude sickness, take medication before your trip.
  • Be aware of the risks of traveling to a remote and underdeveloped region.

With careful planning and preparation, a tour to the Danakil Depression can be a safe and rewarding experience. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your adventure today!