Mayo Ethiopia Tours
12 Day Tour to Danakil Depression and Erta Ale

12 Day Tour to Danakil Depression and Erta Ale

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Day 1: Drive to Awash National Park
Overnight stay in Awash Falls Lodge

Day 2: Drive to Semera
Depart early from Addis, east through Awash and north through the Yangudi-Rassa National Park (home to the endangered African wild ass). In Semera you will get your Afar permits and we will pick up the mandatory scouts and road leaders. Overnight in Semera.

Day 3: Drive to Afdra
Today we drive from Semera to Afdera via Logia. Lake Afdera is a wonderfully bright green lake situated with black basalt mountains behind. It’s a stunning location. Here you can see salt extraction from the lake, where the Afar nomads continue the same activities the have for centuries. The salt extraction here is the main supply of salt to Addis Ababa. Overnight in Afdera.

Day 4: Drive to Erta ale via Kusurawde
We drive from Lake Afdera to Erta Ale via Kusurawde. The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. You will camp in the village of El Dom, where it will be an early-to-bed night.

Day 5: Visit Eart ale Volcano
Today is an early-to-rise start at 2am to start your hike to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. At the top, you will peer down at the permanent lava lake (the only one in the world!) while the sun rises over the horizon. Definitely the highlight of the trip! After the hike back to camp and a bit of breakfast, you’ll continue driving to Hamed Ila for overnight.

Day 6: Drive to Dallol
After breakfast, take a day trip to Dallol, which at 116m below sea level is the lowest point on the African continent. Here the landscape is beautiful, the ground many shades of red and yellow from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. You will also visit Lake Asale, which is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. You will witness (and even try) their laborious task of removing salt from the ground as hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekele. At the end of the day we return to Hamed Ila for overnight camping.

Day 7: Drive to Mekele via Berehale
Today we drive from Hamed Ila to Mekele via Berehale. You will see the camel caravans along the way, carrying salt from the salt lake to Mekele for sale. Overnight in Mekele at Abreha Castles Hotel, which is a 19th-century mansion overlooking the city.

Day 8: Drive to Lalibela
Early in the morning, embark on a full day of driving to Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).

Day 9: City tour in Lalibela
Visit the 11 rock-hewn churches of the remarkable King Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).

Day 10: Day trips from Lalibela
Early in the morning after breakfast, take a mule trek up to the Ahseton Maryam monastery, set on the mountain overlooking the town of Lalibela. Afterwards, continue driving to Kombolcha via Woldia, stopping for a visit in the town of Hayk, where you can visit the lake and the local monastery. Overnight in Kombolcha (hotel).

Day 11: Drive to Kombolcha
Return driving to Addis via Kombolcha. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. Also, if this day is a Monday, there will be a short detour in the morning to stop in Bati for one of the largest markets in the country, including the interesting camel market.

Day 12: Drive back to Addis Ababa and departure

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