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Danakil Expedition

  • Tour code
     
    Tour categories
    • Adventure Adventure
    • Air Air
    • Camping Camping
    • Hiking Hiking
    • Historic Historic
    • Nature Nature
    • Surface Surface
    • UNESCO UNESCO
     
    Duration
    11 days / 10 nights
     
    Highlights
      • City tour of Addis Ababa
      • The fascinating Afar people
      • Dallol, the hottest and lowest place on earth
      • Climb the magnificent volcano Erta Ale
      • Bird and animal spotting at Awash NP
      • Harar – the 4th holy city of Islam
     
    Tour brochure
     
    • Day 1
      Locations Arrival Addis Ababa, Half-day city tour
      Overnight Nexus (4*) or similar hotel

      Arrive Addis Ababa; meet our representative at the airport terminal and transfer to Nexus Hotel or similar.

      After lunch you will have a half day city tour of Addis Ababa, including Mount Entoto. In 1881 Emperor Menelik II made his permanent camp there, after remains of an old town (believed to have been the capital of 16th century monarch LebnaDengel) were discovered, which Menelik took as a divine and auspicious sign.

      Addis Ababa at between 2300 - 2500 meters is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is a few hundred meters higher - as we drive up the hill there is an appreciable drop in temperature and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road.

      From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. Entoto is an important watershed; to the north, water flows to the Blue Nile and on to the Mediterranean, to the south to the Awash River and east to Djibouti. Your guide will point out the important landmarks of the city.

      Entoto was soon abandoned as a site for the capital - it was cold, difficult to provision and there was a shortage of wood. Empress Taytu was said to have led the move down to the plain of Finfine, and to have named the new capital Addis Ababa, or New Flower. However, two important structures remain within the old imperial compound on Entoto, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. It was in the church of Mariam that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889, and in the small museum in the compound there are various clothes, court and household implements and weapons dating from the period. The church of Raguel is unusual in that it is octagonal, rather than round. There is a first story balustrade around which Menelik liked to stroll.

      Leaving the churches we descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum. Here visitors can see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy, through the Axumite (200 BC – 700 AD) and Gondarian (1700 to 1850) periods to the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik II. Following we will visit “Merkato” which is mostly known as the largest market in eastern Africa.

    • Day 2
      Locations Addis Ababa - Kombolcha (380 km, 6 hours)
      Overnight Sunny Side Hotel or similar

      After breakfast drive to Addis Ababa on the way visit Senbete market if this day is Sunday.

    • Day 3
      Locations Kombolcha - Mekele (440 km, 7 – 8 hours)
      Overnight Axum Hotel or similar

      After breakfast, we will leave Kombolcha for Mekele enjoying the spectacular views of the Tigray and Wollo mountains. The major town before Mekele is Weldia, which is attractive during its market days of Tuesday and Saturday. Continue driving passing the town of Hayk, where the 12th c monastery of HaykIstifanos and a beautiful crater lake are found and after some minutes of drive, also pass the historic Dessie town. Believed to be established by Emperor Yohannes IV, the town serves as the capital of the Wolo under Ras Mikael in the last decades of the 19th c. The 19th c emperor of Ethiopia, Tewodros II, who had a great ambition of creating a unified Ethiopia, took his own life, not to be captured alive by the British, on the nearby hills of Mekdella.

    • Day 4
      Locations Mekelle – HamedEla
      Overnight Camping

      Start the drive to the center of the great east African rift valley, the Danakil depression. Driving down from Mekelle to the afar desert, we will pass through the main trade route where the large caravans of camels pass loading their bars of salt from the Danakil to Mekelle. See the attractive Afar woman at Berhaile who inhabit the border area of the Tigrai and Afar regions. After a drive on the sandy afar desert you will arrive at HamedEla.

    • Day 5
      Locations Hamed Ela- Excursion to Dallol
      Overnight Camping

      In the morning after breakfast it will be a drive to Dallol (25 km), the hottest place on the planet and one of the lowest lying 116 meters below sea level. Here you will enjoy the different elements, mostly sulphuric, with their cocktail of colors displaying themselves on the surface of the earth and some of them forming small ponds. The area is also full of sulphurous hot springs we will also visit the different volcanic formations of the area then drive back to HamedEla

    • Day 6
      Locations Hamed Ela - Erta Ale
      Overnight Camping

      After having your breakfast in HamedEla it will be a long drive to Erta Ale. After arrival at 11:00 AM we will have some rest and tea break. And after making everything ready for the climb up, we will leave our camp to the Erta Ale. The assent to the Erta ale usually takes 2 and half to 3 hours. Arriving at the top of the mountain, you will have a dinner and after some break times it will be a time to visit one of the active volcanoes and the only permanent lava lake for more than 120 years in the world atop of the 600 meters mountain which gives the name to the lava lake or the volcano.

    • Day 7
      Locations Erta Ale - Semera
      Overnight Hotel

      After visiting the Erta ale volcano and enjoying the beautiful sun rise, it will be back trip to our camp at 08:30 AM here you will have your breakfast and it will be a drive back to Addis via Semera. On the way visit Lake Afrera, which are South of Erta ale and its water are bright green and its salty shores have been harvested for centuries by the Afar People, a nomadic ethnic group known in the past for their legendary ferocity. While you drive to Semera, continue to experience the desert side of Ethiopia which you already started at the Danakil depression. Pass through the Yangudi rasa national park which is renowned for the large number of wild ass.

    • Day 8
      Locations Semera – Awash
      Overnight Awash falls lodge

      Contineu driving to Awash after breakfast. You will be driving on the main roads which connect the country to the red sea via Djibouti. Here, the big trucks loading the countries imports and exports use this road 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Arrive at Awash national park and after lunch we will spend the afternoon by visiting the Park.

    • Day 8
      Locations Semera – Awash
      Overnight Awash falls lodge

      Contineu driving to Awash after breakfast. You will be driving on the main roads which connect the country to the red sea via Djibouti. Here, the big trucks loading the countries imports and exports use this road 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Arrive at Awash national park and after lunch we will spend the afternoon by visiting the Park.

    • Day 9
      Locations Awash N P - Harar
      Overnight Wintana Hotel

      In the morning after breakfast we will leave Awash national park to the fourth holiest city of Muslims, Harar (345KM). The 16th c Emir of Harar, Emir Nur, built the wall which presently circled the holly city in order to protect his kingdom from external influence. The walled city can be entered using either of the six gates of which the major one used to enter the city is the Harar gate or the duke’s gate. Inside the wall, there are more than ninty mosques and shrines, traditional Harari houses and traditional markets.

      After Check into your hotel and lunch, start visit with the National and Harari museums and proceed to the 16th century wall of the harar, Jugal. and in the evening see the hayna man feeding the friendly haynas of Harar. You can try to make a friend from the haynas just by giving a pice of meet by your hand hanging it on a small stick or, if you want to be a close friend,hold the stick by your mouse and invite the hayna to you.

    • Day 10
      Locations Harar - Dire Dawa
      Overnight Samarat Hotel or Similar

      After breakfast a visit which includes the colorful Islam market, the house of RasMekonen(father of emperor Haile Selassie) and a typical traditional Harari house and the house of the renowned poet Artur Rimbaud. Then after lunch drive to Diredawa. Arrive dire dawa, and you can spend the afternoon visiting the old train station and walking around the town.

    • Day 11
      Locations Dire Dawa – Addis – Departure
      Overnight

      After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for the flight back to Addis Ababa and you will have shopping time. In the evening, you will be taken to one of the best traditional restaurants in Addis to be invited for dinner and traditional folkloric dances with coffee ceremony. In the evening after dinner, you will be taken to the airport for your departure flight back home.

  • Optional extension of our standard tours where you get to....

  • Photos featuring various places and events along this specific tour.

    Afar - Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Afar - Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Afar - Danakil Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
    Afar - Danakil Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
    Cover Photo - Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Cover Photo - Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Camel caravan - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Camel caravan - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Dalol - (by  Mielke)
    Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Dalol - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Semera Baboons - (by Mielke)
    Danakil Semera Baboons - (by Mielke)
    Danakil descending from Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
    Danakil descending from Erta Ale - (by Mielke)
     
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