Danakil Depression & Harar (9 Days)
About this tour:
This tour includes an expedition into the Danakil Depression, one of the most bizarre landscapes in the world, and an adventure of its own kind. We start by visiting the fascinating city of Harar, where, among other things, you can experience the legendary nocturnal hyena feeding. We then drive to Awash National Park and Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve with some of the finest game viewing in Ethiopia before crossing the endless savannas and semi-desert of the Afar region until finally reaching the Danakil Depression. The highlights of this true adventure tour are undoubtedly the incredible landscapes of Dallol and the climb of Erta Ale volcano where we will stay overnight at the rim of the crater overlooking one of the only permanent lava lakes in the world.
- The city of Harar with its 16th century city walls (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
- Legendary feeding of the hyenas of Harar
- Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve with their rich animal and bird life
- 3-day expedition to the Danakil Depression
Included in the travel price
- 6 nights with breakfast in simple to good hotels and lodges according to the program
- 2 nights camping in the Danakil Depression with full board
- Road transfer in Toyota 4x4 Landcruiser
- 2 domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (discounted tariff if your international flight is with Ethiopian Airlines)
- Professional tour guide (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish-speaking available)
- Cook and camp assistant from Addis Ababa for the camping nights in Danakil Depression
- All local guides, rangers and scouts as required
- All entrance fees
- 1 liter of mineral water per day
- Traditional dinner on the last evening before departure
- Tour code: WET-EEDD-9
- Hotel standard: basic and medium hotels and lodges, camping in the Danakil
- Number of domestic flights: 2
- Required fitness level: no requirements
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,
Accommodation: Hotel, Addis Ababa
Day 2: Addis Ababa – Dire Dawa (Flight) – Harar
After breakfast, you fly to Dire Dawa where you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to Harar. We start exploring the fascinating city of Harar and in the evening you will witness the legendary “Hyena Man” feeding the hyenas that gather outside the city at night. With a little courage, you may of course also feed the hyenas yourself! An unforgettable experience!
Accommodation: Hotel, Harar
Day 3: Full day in Harar
Today we discover the 16th-century walled city of Harar, the fourth most important city in the Islamic world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems as if time has stood still here. We visit the house of Arthur Rimbaud, the famous French poet who lived in Harar, the National and Harari Museums, the house of Ras Mekonnen (Haile Selassie’s father), traditional Harari houses, the market and many other places of interest.
Accommodation: Hotel, Harar
Day 4: Harar – Doho Lodge (300 km)
After breakfast, we start our drive to Awash (about 8 hours). On the way we stop at Avadai, the largest khat market in Ethiopia. We arrive at Doho Lodge in the late afternoon. Here you can relax from the long drive and enjoy the great natural hot springs at the lodge with usually a great sunset over the savannah.
Accommodation: Doho Lodge, Awash National Park
Day 5: Doho Lodge – Semera (350 km)
Early in the morning we embark on a game drive through the plains of the Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve. The plains are home to a variety of wildlife including Grevy’s zebra and the wild donkey. Both the Grevy’s zebra and the wild donkey are threatened with extinction. Other larger mammals include gerenuk, salt’s dikdik, and warthog. Notable bird species include ostrich, Arabian bustard, Hartula bustard, Kori bustard, Mantis buzzard and Carmine bee-eater. After our safari, we continue our journey through the vast savanna and semi-desert of the Afar region to Semera, where we will spend the night.
Accommodation: Hotel, Semera
Day 6: Semera – Lake Afdera – Erta Ale Volcano (200 km)
Today we head into the Danakil Depression and reach the hot and dusty town of Afdera for lunch on a well-paved road. Soon after Afdera this turns into a bumpy gravel road until we reach the base of Erta Ale volcano. After some rest we start the short ascent to the crater rim (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. During the night you may admire the glowing lava. An incredible place to spend the night!
Accommodation: Camping at Erta Ale volcano
Day 7: 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 a collection of a few simple huts at the end of the world. And it gets pretty hot here! In the late afternoon we will drive from Hamed Ela out 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 unforgettable!
Accommodation: Afar Hut, Hamed Ela
Day 8: Hamed Ela – Dallol – Semera (250 km)
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 also one of the 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 will explore more natural wonders in the area before driving from Dallol back to Afdera and on to Semer (about 5 hours).
Accommodation: Hotel, Semera
Day 9: Semera – Addis Ababa (Flight) / Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Addis Ababa. You will be picked up at the domestic terminal in Addis Ababa and you will have various sightseeing and shopping options depending on your interests. In the evening, you are invited to a farewell dinner at one of Addis Ababa’s traditional restaurants, complete with cultural songs, dances and traditional food and drinks, before being transferred back to the airport for your international flight or, if you are staying in Addis Ababa overnight, back to your hotel.
Ende der Tour