Getting around Mekel -Danakil depression: -Because of the state of the roads, the distances involved and the quality of the alternative (flying) most short term visitors use internal flights in Ethiopia. There are reliable daily flights between Addis Ababa and Mekele as wall as Addis Ababa to Semera.
If you have more time, or delight in the joys of overland travel, we can provide you vehicles (4WD)
When to go –The best time to visit this part of Ethiopia is from September — mid of June.
Climate –This trip will see quite a variation in temperatures between, the Danakil Depression — one of the hottest places on Earth, and the Highlands of Ethiopia. We have chosen this time of year as it is the cooler time to be visiting the Danakil, but this can still mean daytime temperatures in the 40s (Centigrade). Night time temperatures in the Danakil are in the 20s and rainfall is very rare. In the Highland of Ethiopia, the weather is fairly consistent all year round, at least in terms of the heat. The only real change is in rainfall. As our trips go between the end of the long rains (Sep) and the beginning of the short ones (May) this should not be a problem. During the day the temperature hovers around the mid 20’s, falling to an overnight low of 6/8 degrees. However when higher at altitude, the evenings will be a bit colder.
Visas — upon request we arrange visas for our travellers, or if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
A trip to Danakil depression is not a normal holiday, but a real expedition into one of the most extreme deserts on the planet, located within a depression that reaches the lowest point of 120 meters below sea level. Characterized by the presence of some active volcanoes, as well as a huge crust made of different types of salts up to 3000 meters thick, the Danakil depression offers landscapes made of shapes and colors, absolutely unique in the world. Although in recent years the tours to Danakil have increased in popularity, it’s important to not forget that a trip to this region needs an impressive logistic, either because of the isolation, either because of the terrible environmental conditions, requiring a great spirit of adaptation from the visitor.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Erta Ale. The Erta Ale volcano rises about 600 meters from the bottom of the Danakil depression and until November 2010, it was offering the unique sight of a lake of lava in constant boiling. Unfortunately, a great eruption occurred in the month of November 2010, has changed the landscape in the crater, damaging the beautiful lake of lava not visible anymore.
Dallol. It ‘an ancient volcanic crater about 60 meters below sea level, characterized by the presence of acid lakes colored in green, red, yellow and blue, for the presence of various minerals which forms also bizarre colorful deposits. With its average annual temperature of 34.4 degrees centigrade, this is the hottest spot on the planet.
Afdera Lake (also called Lake Giulietti or Afrera lake). It is a salt-water lake located approximately 100 meters below sea level, where there are numerous salt pans used by Afar people to collect this precious mineral.
Salt flats. This is a vast expanse of salt located at an average altitude of 120 meters below sea level, where the Afar, local people living in terrible conditions, excavate “tiles” of salt, which are then dispatched to the markets of Ethiopia using camels, mules and donkeys.
Accommodation – On this particular trip we will be in a combination of hotels and remote camping, where the facilities will be very good . we will be sleeping in 2 men tents (you can share or have a tent to yourself) and the crew will erect and take down your tent each day (as well as carrying your gear to the next camp-site).
Transport: on this tour includes 4WD vehicles, camel and on foot when trekking.
Food: – Hotel meals are generally good and full of variety. Local dishes tend to be very good if you like hot, spicy food although milder versions can be requested.
Food-wise you will have a private cook for your trek who will provide breakfast, packed lunch, tea and dinner each day. The food is great and delicious with full of variety. Expect bread and pancakes / eggs for breakfast, filling sandwiches for lunch, herbal teas, fantastic coffee and popcorn at the end of a long days trekking and then a massive meal to end the day with soup starter and a hearty main with plenty of veg to finish.
Luggage and packing – The first rule of packing is not to bring too much. There will be plenty of occasions where you’ll need to carry your luggage yourself and so you should be able to do this without help. Most people are surprised at how little they actually need to bring, and it’s normally possible to get laundry done along the way. It doesn’t matter whether you bring a suitcase, rucksack or holdall, but please dont bring more than 20kg of luggage as this may be difficult to accommodate in the vehicles we use. You’ll also need a day pack. You’ll be walking around a number of sites and villages, as well as walking up Erta Ale, so do consider this when selecting shoes or boots.
Fitness – You don’t need to be especially fit to join the trips , but there will be stairs to climb, hills to walk and sites to explore, so you’ll enjoy it more if you have a reasonable level of fitness. The walk up Erta Ale takes around 4-5 hours and your luggage will be transported by camels.
Small Group Size: On our this tour , we believe it is imperative to keep the group sizes small. Most trips are limited to an average maximum of 13 travellers, thus giving you more access to fragile cultures, better opportunities to interact with local people, and the knowledge you are making less of an impact while there.
Private groups: The adventures featured in our itinerary are just a starting point for many of our private group travellers. Working closely with our Groups Department we can organize custom designed itineraries for groups of friends, clubs, charity’s, schools or even work colleagues. Our team will assist you with all aspects of your private group adventure from itinerary design to group flights. For group traveller pledge considerable discount.
Customized tours: On request, this tour can be customized for small groups.
Proceeding / additional days: It’s no problem to add days before or after the expedition and we’ll book these for you. If you bring more time, you could do day trips from Addis or take an extension tour
Group booking discount: If at least 5 people together book this trip, 6% discount is given.
Please remember that all Zagwe Ethiopia tour prices mean NO hidden extras, NO local payments.