Danakil Depression is one of the remotest, lowest and hottest places of the world in the Great Rift Valley system. This adventure takes you to explore Erta Ale and Dallol volcanoes and visit of the endless Camel Caravans.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1118
DURATION: 8 DAYS/ 7 NIGHTS
SITE: AXUM, GHERALTA, DALLOL, ERTA ALE , MEKLE
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Visit the historical and archaeological sites in Axum
- Explore the Tigray Rock churches and Gherata Mountains
- Explore the dramatic nature of the Danakil Depression
- Explore Dallol
- Visit The active Volcano of Erta Alle
- Escorted throughout by a highly experienced Tour Guide
Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 2 participants minimum
The part of the world, which is called the Danakil Depression, is one of the remotest, lowest and unique land formations of the world in the Great Rift Valley system. Still it is part of the earth which is unstable and pulling each other to the opposite side. In this adventure you will explore Erta Alle, absolutely unique Lava Lake erupting 24 hours and Dalol, the lowest part of Danakil Depression (116 below sea level) extremely hottest and inhospitable place but enjoyable and extraordinary colorful landscape. It is famous for its fascinating fumaroles amazing rock formations, crystal and mineral deposits. The final part of your adventure takes you to Lake Asale, famous salt mining lake and visits to salt workers when cutting, shaping and loading. Besides, salt merchants along with their endless Camel Caravans will be visited.
DAY 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at Bole
International Airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where the 3,6 million year old skeletal remains of “Lucy” rest, which were discovered in 1974. Proceed to UNITY PARK at the National Palace, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Mount Entoto, which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight in 4-star hotel.
Day2: Fly Axum and tour in Axum
After breakfast be transferred to the airport for flight to Axum. On arrival in Axum you will be transferred to Remehay hotel. After refreshment, visit of historical and archaeological sites in Axum. The ancient city of Aksum is found close to Ethiopia's northern border. It marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: The archaeological museum, The magnificent monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of ancient palace of Queen Sheba. The 16th Century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion was probably built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia. In its sanctuary is said to rest the original Ark of the Covenant. The churches and monasteries of Axum house are richly endowed with icons, and some of the historical crowns of ancient emperors. Overnight Sabian International Hotel
Day 3: Drive From Axum to Gheralta , 185 Killometer, about 4 Hours drive
After breakfast drive to Gheralta Mountains . The landscape is extraordinary: some of the nearby churches in the area are magnificent. There are a lot of Table Mountains (Ambas) and other fantastic rocky formations. Those of you who are fit can try climbing Mariam Korkur Church. Others can visit Papasit Mariam Church and finally head to sunset and overnight stay at Gheralta Lodge.
Day 4: Drive from Gheralta to Hamedella, 240 Kms, about 5 hours drive
After breakfast drive to Hamed Elle and have lunch at the campsite. Afternoon drive to Dallol and enjoy the spectacular view of the small hills, fumaroles and colorful hot springs. Ground water bubbles up leaving colorful minerals behind which form amazing structures on the rim of the hot springs. You will also observe salt cutting, shaping and loading on the camel caravans. Then drive back to Hamedella for an Overnight Camping
Day 5 In Hamedella visit Dallol then drive to Abala
In the very early morning, drive to see the salt workers at Lake Karoum : tens of people start working here at 5 or 6 in the morning, digging salt and making slabs to be transported by donkeys and camels to Makele. The caravans arrive here in the morning, the animals are loaded and go back in the afternoon. A few kms further, a bubbling lake and the site of the old Dallol volcano are superb : pools of green, yellow and orange acid, little geysers and white crystals are a delight for the eyes. Next, high salt towers build a ghost like city where strolling is fabulous. Sunsets here are splendid. Later back to Hamed Ela for lunch. After lunch & brief break you will drive to Abala (150 Km asphalt road 3 hrs). Abala is a small settlement and with moderate temperature and basic accommodation with shower. Upon arrival check in local hotel. Rest, relax, and dinner. Overnight local simple hotel at Abala.
Day 6: Drive Hamed Ela – Dodom – Erta Ale
In the early morning, leave Ahmed Ela and drive south on a stony track to the Erta Ale volcano. In Dodom, the last preparation will be done before the ascent starting at eve to avoid the heat. Camels with luggage, kitchen and camping stuff for 2 nights, and 2 camels ridden by the tourists, start the ascent in line. In the middle of the night, walk down into the crater on stony lava for 20 minutes to the bubbling lava lake : 2‐3 hrs of fascinating moments. O/N on top of the volcano in stone huts
Day 7: Descent to Dodum and Drive to Mekele
Early morning we start the descent to Dodom, walking. After breakfast, we drive south on
a sometimes sandy, sometimes rocky track and finally join the asphalt road . We stop at Afdera to visit the modern salt mining. Then after drive to Mekele- the capital of Tigray region. Overnight Mekele Axum Hotel
Day 8: Fly to Addis Ababa
After breakfast you will check in to Mekele Airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Evening we will have a fare well dinner in one of the Ethiopian restaurants for cultural dinner and dances from the different ethnic groups. Then after transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.
‐ Special qualified guide as well as mandatory local guide and scout fees in parks and villages
‐ All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
‐ All camping gear, staff and packing animals
‐ Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
‐ All entrance fees at sites, parks and villages
‐ All transfers and visits in Addis Ababa using mini‐bus according to the itinerary
‐ All ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
‐ A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
‐ Government taxes
Price doesn’t include
‐ International flights
‐ Any kind of drinks, alcoholic or non‐alcoholic
‐ Video filming and photographing fees
‐ Incidental meals, snacks and drinks
‐ Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc .
‐ All what is not included in the list above