A plain desert called Danakil Depression, located in the North East of Ethiopia in the Afar region, lies at a junction of three tectonic plates. The alien landscape of volcanoes, salt lakes and colourful geysers are a result of a complex geological history. The depression is is one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth and is known for its numerous sulfur springs, volcanoes, geysers, acidic pools, vast salt pans, and colorful mineral-laden lakes dot the area, which formed above the divergence of three tectonic plates.

Salt miners in the depression
Salt miners in the danakil depression.

Three days visit to the danakil depression

The depression is one of the lowest points on the earth not covered by water. It is one of the most forbidding and inhospitable landscapes in the world. However, it is starkly dramatic with a beauty and appeal of its own. Erta Ale, an active volcanic activity with eruptions dated back 120 years is one of the most common tourist spots in the depression.

This arid area, where rocky wilderness is interspersed with small oases and occasional saltpans is some of the cruelest land in Ethiopia. Water is scarce and midday temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius, while falling to near freezing at night. Hardy afar camel herders and trader’s crisscross the land just as their fathers did before them, and locals have been trekking in with camel caravans to for salt mining, while visitors with a local guide and a reliable 4×4 vehicle have been visiting the alien-looking landscape and the salt flats to see some of the wildlife, including zebra and wild ass in recent years.

One of the primary attractions in the depression are the sulfur springs of Dallol. Known for its salt flats and hot Sulphur springs, Dallol is one of the most colorful landscapes on earth with endless array of interesting formations. Groundwater flowing in from the surrounding highlands get heated from hot magma below and moves up towards the surface and as a result, extensive salt formations are formed on the floor of the craters due to evaporation. This results an amazing rainbow of shockingly vibrant colors.


Dallol of the Danakil Deprrssion
Dallol in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia.

Two days visit to the danakil depression