Danakil Depression Tour Korkor Lodge

Danakil Depression & the Afar Triangle Tours

Hot springs in the Danakil Depression

arrow pointing down

An other-worldly landscape of salt caravans and sulphur hot springs

Be adventurous with a tailor made Danakil Depression tour to one of the hottest places on earth

There are few, if any more visually stunning yet inhospitable and inaccessible places on Earth than Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression. Geographically speaking it covers a vast swathe of the Afar Triangle, which is in the North-East of the country, running up towards the borders with Eritrea and Djibouti. Historically the Danakil was an important area for salt mining, with the local Afar tribespeople extracting the salt from the incredibly harsh landscapes and taking it through to Mekelle and Semera for trading with their ‘salt caravans’ of endless streams of camels. More recently the area has become a focus for potash mining companies, although the security situation, most notably the now ended dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, has put a brake on development.

Danakil Depression expeditions start and end in Mekelle, which tour companies use as a supply base, since everything you need for a trip to the Danakil must be carried with you. There are three main attractions within the Danakil Depression for visitors to see, namely the sulphur encrusted hot springs at Dallol, the iconic Erta Ale volcano and Lake Afrera, a highly saline lake which sits 100 metres below sea level. Trips here tend to follow a similar pattern and we suggest 3 nights and 4 days to visit the area. Starting from Mekelle you will be driven to Dallol to visit the sulphur springs, a simply incredible area, characterised by the numerous sulphurous geysers, which have turned the whole area to a carpet of colours ranging from pale yellows to deep, rusty reds and everything in between. After a night in Dallol you will head down towards the Erta Ale Volcano, camping overnight and ascending the volcano in the dark, offering the most spectacular sighting of the lava lake and taking advantage of the cooler conditions. From there it is on to Lake Afrera for another overnight before making the long journey back to Mekelle by road. Any trip to the Danakil is ‘sandwiched’ by nights in Mekelle either side, so allow five or even six nights for a side-trip here.

Doubtless trips to the Danakil Depression are very challenging, from a logistics, accommodation and temperature point of view. Generally, we recommend travelling between November and March each year, which is the ‘cooler’ time to visit the area, with daytime temperatures in the 40s and night time temperatures in the mid-20s. April to August needs to be avoided as temperatures soar towards the 50s, whilst September and October are for only the hardiest travellers. The road leaving Mekelle is now tarred for over 300kms, but from there it is a case of taking the path of least resistance to get around, making for long days in the vehicle. Accommodation is limited to camping close to the main attractions, with all food, water, firewood and camping equipment carried with you. This means a second vehicle is taken along, with a team to look after you as well as mandatory armed scouts for your security. Whilst this can sometimes raise alarm, it is precautionary and helps to ensure safety in what has historically been a volatile area.

One element of travelling to the Danakil that needs to be considered is cost. Set departures leave Mekelle every 2 or 3 days and are by far the most cost-effective way to visit the area and cover all of the main highlights. Those looking to travel privately incur the full costs of a private trip, including covering all of the ‘fees’ levied on travelling to the area by the local Afar Tribesmen. These are often applied on a whim for various services they have supposedly rendered to you, but are part and parcel of travelling to this extraordinary area.

Far & Wild Customer Reviews

Find out what our customers think of their adventures!

Read all reviews

A real trip of making memories

Heidi & Family travelled to Malawi in July 2018 on a trip organised by .

A Family Selfie In  Majete

Even in the middle of the Serengeti our Travel Co-ordinator was on hand to sort any hiccups.

June & Steven travelled to Tanzania in February 2019 on a trip organised by Alistair.

Excellent service from start to finish

Sam & Nick travelled to Kenya in February 2019 on a trip organised by Ben.

Sam And Nick On Honeymoon In Kenya

Our brief was 'Unknown Adventure' and they delivered!

Michael & Teresa travelled to São Tomé and Príncipe in December 2018 on a trip organised by .

Michael Foster Bom Bom Bridge

It was the best ever experience, magical, awesome and more!

Francesca & Jeremy travelled to Botswana and Victoria Falls in April 2019 on a trip organised by .

First class travel company

Kathy & Family travelled to Kenya and Mauritius in July 2018 on a trip organised by .

On Holiday At  Il  Moran

Plan with an Expert Plan with an Expert

Have a look at our original holiday experiences and then contact us with your brief, or call 01768 603 715

A detailed itinerary in 24hrs A detailed itinerary in 24hrs

Our experts will send you a detailed holiday itinerary within 24 hours. It's our service promise to you.

Value Guarantee Value Guarantee

Tailor-made doesn't mean expensive! Ask about our price promise and book with financial security.

A detailed itinerary in 24 hours

Speak to a Ethiopia expert to start planning your adventure

  • Ben

    Ben

    Ethiopia Specialist

  • Peter

    Peter

    Ethiopia Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715