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Danakil Depression

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The Danakil Depression is often called the hottest place on Earth, it is remote and rugged and for the adventure traveller. The attraction is visiting an alien landscape, unlike anywhere else on the planet with the multi-coloured acid pools of Dallol creating one of the wonders of the World. Three tectonic plates meet in the Danakil Depression creating lots of volcanic activity and interesting volcanic and geological formations. 


Visitors to the region take in highlights like Dallol for its colourful pools, geysers which produce cones of salt and watch the local Afar people hack blocks of salt out of the ground here. Another highlight is Erta Ale a shield volcano which means the volcano is mainly lava flows. It has been continuously erupting since 1967, and the southern crater is one of the only permanent lava lakes currently on Earth. The hike to the volcano is done at night when cooler temperatures take about 3 – 4 hours.


Another highlight of the Danakil Depression is visiting the hypersaline Lake Afera which has a surface of 100 kilometre squares and has concentrations of salt much higher than the ocean. Visitors can experience the weightlessness of floating in the water at nearby springs. Visitors need to book a tour with a local operator who will provide catered camping as there are no accommodation options in the area. There are no toilet facilities, electricity or running water available in the region.


Access: How to get to Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression is a desert area in the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia which is known locally as the Dallol depression. Most tourists catch a domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Mekele (the nearest town) which takes just over an hour. The alternative is to spend several days on dusty bump roads. There are two entrances to the region, the main one used is Berahile, which is 120 kilometres/74 miles, about a 2-hour journey from Mekele.


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