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Danakil Depression (5 Days)

About this tour:

An expedition into the Danakil Depression, one of the most bizarre landscapes in the world, is an adventure of a special kind! The highlights are the landscapes of Dallol, which give you the feeling of being on another planet, and the ascent of the Erta Ale volcano with a night on the crater rim overlooking one of the few permanent lava lakes in the world.


  • Exploring the highlights of the capital Addis Ababa
  • 3-day expedition to the Danakil Depression

Included in the travel price

  • 1 night with breakfast in hotel of your choice in Addis Ababa
  • 1 night with breakfast in hotel in Semera
  • 2 nights full board camping in the Danakil Depression
  • Transfer by road in Toyota 4x4 Landcruiser
  • Professional tour guide (English, German, French, Italian or Spanish-speaking available)
  • All local guides, rangers and scouts
  • Cook for the camping nights
  • 2 domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (discounted tariff if your international flight is with Ethiopian Airlines)
  • Traditional dinner on the last evening before departure
  • All entrance fees

Short Info

  • Tour code: WET-DD-5:
  • Hotel standard: middle class hotel in Semera and camping in the Danakil
  • Number of domestic flights: 2
  • Required fitness level: reasonably fit and heat tolerability

Day 1: Arrival and Addis Ababa City Tour

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met by a Welcome Ethiopia Tours representative and be taken to your reserved hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we have various sightseeing options:

  • Mount Entoto with the best views over the capital.
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where you can see a variety of artifacts from all the different regions reflecting the history and culture of the country
  • National Museum which among other exhibits the 3.5-million-year-old bones of Lucy.
  • Trinity Cathedral: this is the burial place of members of the imperial family and noted patriots; the cathedral is the most magnificent of its kind in the country, ornamented with carvings, mosaics and other artistic works.
  • The Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa,

Hotel, Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Semera (flight) – Afdera Lake – Erta Ale Volcano

After breakfast you will fly to Semera, the capital of the Afar region, where you will be picked up at the airport by your expedition crew. From here it’s straight on to the Danakil Depression where you’ll reach the hot and dusty city of Afdera for lunch on a well paved road. Shortly after Afdera the road turns into a bumpy gravel road until we reach the base of the Erta Ale volcano. After a rest we start the short ascent to the rim of the crater (approx. 30 min. on foot). Erta Ale is 613 meters high and is considered one of Ethiopia’s most fascinating natural attractions. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and a 1 km² caldera at the top, which contains one of the few permanent lava lakes in the world. Sleeping at the rim of the crater and looking into the glowing lava at night is a truly unforgettable experience!

Accommodation: Camping, Erta Ale Volcano

Day 3: Erta Ale Volcano – Hamed Ela – Lake Assal

After breakfast in the camp, it takes about 4 hours on a bumpy road through the lava desert to Hamed Ela. Hamed Ela is just a collection of a few simple huts located at the end of the world. And it gets pretty hot here! In the late afternoon we drive out from Hamed Ela to Lake Assal. Here we can not only admire the traditional way of local salt mining, but hopefully also meet one of the camel caravans that transport the salt blocks to the Ethiopian highlands. The sunset over the Salt Lake is another unforgettable experience!

Accommodation: Afar Hut, Hamed Ela

Hamer woman, Ethiopia

Day 4: Hamed Ela – Dallol – Semera

We start early in the morning to explore the incredible landscapes around Dallol. Dallol is 116 meters below sea level, making it one of the lowest and hottest places on earth. The Dallol Volcano is covered by a thick layer of salt, but still shows up on the surface with bizarre salt formations, hundreds of fumaroles (gas vents) and acidic lakes in all colours. We then explore other highlights in the area and eventually drive from Dallol back to Afdera and on to Semera. (approx. 5 hours)

Accommodation: Hotel, Semera

Dassanech, Omorate

Day 5: Semera – Addis Ababa (Flight) – Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa. You will be picked up at the domestic terminal in Addis Ababa and have the opportunity for various sightseeing and shopping options depending on your interests. In the evening, you are treated to a farewell dinner at one of Addis Ababa’s traditional restaurants, featuring cultural songs, dances, and traditional food and drinks, before being transferred back to the airport for your international flight or, if you are still staying overnight in Addis Ababa, back to your hotel.

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