Who has not been to one of the many “Ends of the World”? Many places claim that title, but in the Danakil Depression in North East Ethiopia, it feels absolutely real. With a year-round average 34.4°C (94°F), and peaks at no less than 70°C (160°F), the Danakil Depression is the hottest spot on this planet. It is also an expensive expedition, for you need two jeeps, a scout, an armed Afar police man, all necessary paperwork, food and every drop of water every single person in the group needs…
So why go there?
Nothing will ever take away these memories: each day brought a new highlight, something unseen, unique and spectacular:
- Discovering Dallol, a landscape of multi-colored hot springs and bizarre sulphur formations
- Looking down into Erta Ale, one of the very few volcano with a permanent lava lake
- Watching endless salt caravans passing without a sound, at dusk and dawn
- Discovering the salt mines near Lake Asal, where young Afars slave away in temperatures beyond our imagination.
- Looking over Lake Asal’s vast salt plain with its surrounding rock formation
- Socializing with Afar families in Hamed Ale
Sulphur rock formations of various colors and shapes in Dallol.
In the midst of a bubbling sulphur lake floats a small conical island.
Its shore is lined with what looks like bright yellow rippled rafts. It reminds of a Coral Reef, just outside of the water…
Potassium Lake or Black Water, Dallol. The dark color of the pond creates a strong contrast to the bright red soil surrounding it, the backdrop of all this is a rock formation of light gray to white color.
Camel caravan carrying salt from the mines in Dallol At dawn, the Afar workers and endless camel caravans start heading for the salt mines. In the afternoon, hundreds of camels, each carrying up to 240 kg of salt plates, come trotting back, before heading to Mekele
Afar workers in the salt mines of Dallol.
The tools cannot be simpler: long sticks to catapult large chunks off the ground and axes to break them into smaller pieces and finally into blocks of 30 by 40 cm.
Hut in the Afar village of Hamed Ale. In those basic, branches hut, leave the workers of the salt mines with their families
Afar women with scars as a sign of beauty, village of Hamed Ale.
Salt Lake, Lake Asale. The surrounding rock formations of this salt lake create a fortress-like setting and are even more intriguing when you approach from a certain angel – the rocks seem to be hanging from the sky.
Crater of Erta Ale, the most active volcano in Africa with a permanent lava lake.
At the edge of the crater, standing on an overhang, we looked into the red, orange and even whitish lava boiling away about 20 meters down.
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