4 Days Danakil Depression Tour Itinerary

Lake Afdera of Danakil depression
Swimming in Lake Afdera of Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Our Danakil Depression tour offers you the opportunity to witness the renowned volcano with its active lava lake and the rare chance to encounter the nomadic people who inhabit this desert. The Afar people are known for their survival skills and warrior spirit in one of the hottest and lowest places on Earth.

Day 01: Mekelle – Danakil depression (Erta Ale)

On the first day you will depart from Mekelle and drive to Lake Afdera. Danakil Depression is one of the most spectacular and also absolutely inhospitable regions of the world. To clarify, today it’s a 4 hours’ drive on an asphalt road (220km), with a few stops to have coffee with the locals and lunch prepared by our own cook.

The landscape starts to become more drier and less inhabited where only few people to be seen on the way. We reach the local village Afdera, a 15 min walk from the Lake Afdera. Then you will have a stop there to explore it and yet another coffee or coke with the inhabitants.

After that, continue to the ending point of today trip to Lake Afdera, where is also our campsite. While the sun is setting you will go for a swimming, floating on the surface of the salty-lake and enjoy the nearby hot springs and experience an incredible view. At the end, you will have dinner and a campfire before falling asleep right underneath the stars. Overnight Camping.

Day 02: Erta Ale Volcano

Today’s aim is to drive to the base camp of Erta Ale volcano. After a breakfast at the lake, visit the salt miners local Afar people. They pump salt water over the surface and let it evaporate to create a salt crust. Then, start a 100 km drive on sandy ground and over cold lava rocks. On the way you will have lunch in Dodom village, surrounded by many local people. Here we also have to show our permission to climb Erta Ale (‘the smoking mountain’),

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 start hiking to the top of Erta Ale volcano, where we spend few hours watching the flowing-lava gifs, this is to say actions of the boiling lava. 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. Then after, you will descend back to basic camp to have a dinner and spend the night under stars or in shack. Overnight Camping.

Day 03: Erta Ale – Hamad Ela

On this day in the early morning, return back 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 know for its total population of about 500 people 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 Ela.

Day 04: 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 oily lakes creates a different experience of your trip. Finally, drive back to Hamad Ela for lunch and proceed to Mekelle. 

Tour Ends!