The Danakil depression is an isolated region of Africa with temperatures up to 60°C, acid and sulfur ponds and a great volcanic activity. It has been defined by National Geographic as the cruelest place on earth and as you will see, they nailed it..

This extremely dry area is located in the Horn of Africa between Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia. And it’s in the latter where we can find the impressive Erta Ale volcano, a serious candidate to be the gateway to Hell 😉

The lava lake of the Erta Ale in Danakil

The lava lake of the Erta Ale in Danakil

Lava flowing at the Erta Ale volcano

Lava flowing at the Erta Ale volcano

Northwest from the Erta Ale there is another area with an amazing landscape, the crater of the Dallol volcano. Here we can find many colorful spring waters under the influence of the sulfur and iron oxide of the terrain.

The water comes up after the condensation of the hot gas beneath the soil and get’s mixed with the sulfur and weed. When the water evaporates, the remaining salt and minerals form that strange crust which induced the natives to call the area Dallol, which means dissolution.

Dallol Crater in Danakil

Dallol Crater in Danakil

Acid ponds in Dallol

Acid ponds in Dallol

The Afar tribe inhabits the region since very long time ago. They are very proud of themselves while they have their own language and traditions. They mainly live of cattle and collecting salt from the lakes around. Very hard way of living in one of the toughest environments on Earth..

Afar woman in Ethiopia

Afar woman in Ethiopia

Camel caravan transporting salt blocks

Camel caravan transporting salt blocks

Lake Assal in Djibouti

Lake Assal in Djibouti

Danakil desert

The desert of Danakil

Lake Assal, the lowest point in Africa

Lake Assal, the lowest point in Africa

Green acid pools in Dallol

Green acid pools in Dallol

Water springs in Lake Abbe

Water springs in Lake Abbe

Erta Ale volcano

The impressive Erta Ale volcano

How to get to Danakil: there are several agencies (local and international) who organize visiting the Erta Ale and Dallol areas departing from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. In this case, I think is the best option since it’s a very isolated place with no services at all.

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Where to stay in Danakil: there is no proper accommodation so turn your adventure mode on and go free camping 😉

How to move around Danakil: a 4-wheel drive car is the best option and have prepared spare wheels because the terrain is very harsh.

What to do in Danakil: walk around and get amazed by the environment..

Credit: photos by Tom Pfeiffer, Michael Melford, Eric Lafforgue and George Steinmetz

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