Teddy Zion Tours Is Owned by Ethiopian and Based in Mekelle
Dalol and volcano rather the Dallol hydrothermal field are located in a remote part of the northern Danakil Depression in NE Ethiopia. It is the lowest known sub-aerial volcanic area in the world.
Dallol is one of the world's most spectacular landscape: a vast area of uplifted thick salt deposits affected by intense fumarolic activity, probably caused by an active volcanic system beneath several kilometers of evaporation salt deposits.
Dallol is said to be the hottest place on the planet, with average annual temperatures well above 30 deg C.
The area commonly referred to Dallol volcano contains the approx. 1.5 x 3 km wide Dallol "mountain" (rising about 50 m above the great salt lake) near the border with Eritrea, and nearby warm springs including the Yellow Lake, the Black Mountain with the Blue Lake, said to be an explosion crater from a hydrothermal eruption in 1926.
Dallol is famous for its hot brine, and multicolored white, pink, red, yellow, green, gray and black salt deposits, hot springs and miniature geysers. These bizarre structures form in a complex interaction of solution and recrystallization processes driven by hydrothermal waters and rapid evaporation.
Dallol overlies several km of quaternary evaporates which contain large amounts of potash (potassium carbonate, K2CO3) that were quarried by shifting mining companies for most of the 20th century.
It is believed that Dallol, located on the main rift axis of the Danakil depression, is caused by an active basaltic volcano located under the layers of salt. The roughly circular depression on top of Dallol mountain was suggested to be a collapse crater.
The only known volcanic activity was a phreatic explosion in 1926 that produced a 30 m wide crater at the foot of the Black Mountain.
Start off your tour into the DANAKIL to ERTA ALE, the famous volcano with it’s bubbling lava lake and the rare possibility of experiencing the nomadic tribe living in this desert- the AFAR people, survivors, and warriors in the hottest and one of the lowest places on earth! Today we drive from Mekele to LAKE AFDERA.
The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most spectacular and also absolutely inhospitable regions of the world! Today it is a 4 hours drive on an asphalt road (220km), with a few stops, for instance, having a coffee with the locals and lunch, prepared by our own cook.
The landscape starts to become more and more drier and less and less inhabited; we will be passing the odd local on the way, but not many people are to be seen. We reach the local village Afdera, a 15 min walk from the Lake Afdera, around 4:30 pm, have a stop there to explore it and yet another coffee or coke with the inhabitants.
After that, we continue our journey to the ending point of today: Lake Afdera, where is also our campsite. Meanwhile, the sun is setting we go for a swim, floating on the surface of the salt lake and enjoying the nearby hot springs, experiencing an incredible view.
Dinner and a campfire before falling asleep right underneath a stateful nightly sky with thousands and thousands of stars will be brightening up your dreams.
Today's aim is first DODOM (‘tree planting’) the base of the ERTA ALE volcano and later, at night, Erta Ale itself.
After a breakfast at 10am at the lake, it is a 70 km drive on sandy ground and over cold lava rocks. On the way we visit the salt miners which are local Afar people. They pump salt water over the surface and let it evaporate to create a salt crust. Lunch will be served in Dodom village, surrounded by many local people. Here we also have to show our permission to climb ERTA ALE (‘the smoking mountain’), get the needed camels for transporting the goods, more scouts..
Dinner time is already at 5-ish since we have to start trekking up to the volcano around 6-7pm. Dodom is approximately 8.5km away from Erta Ale and this stretch will take about 3 hours of trekking.
Camels transport all the camping materials and some food to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic actions of the boiling lava.
The Volcano is 613 meters high, the lava lake contains actually 2 caters, one of them, the northern one, is inactive with no Magma. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake on this planet. Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia, it is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit.
The volcano contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. We set our camp a little bit away from the rim, on the other side of the wind so we wont have to inhale the toxic gases.
After enjoying this great, special, sometimes smelly, sometimes loud and hot experience we overnight in our camp, again with a brilliantly shining night sky.
Erta Ale- Dodom-Hamed Ela, from here we descend around early morning in the direction Dodom, which we will reach after 2hours.
Here breakfast will be served and you have some time to relax. We start our drive to HAMED ALE, our next destination= 100 km/7 hours Lunch is served en route, we reach Hamed Ale around 4:30pm, a bigger village with a total population about 500. LAKE ASALE (lake ‘Red Mountain’) a huge salt lake-is in walking distance, where we take a deep breath and a wine or beer for sunset, taking in the many reflections.
Our tonight camp is in Hamed Ale.
Again You get served an early breakfast at 6, around 7we start driving the short distance (approx 30 min) to Dallol (‘a colorful place’) via Asebo (‘the salt desert’), where- you can guess it- they mine salt. btw: 1,200 km2 of the Afar Depression is covered by salt.
You can watch the workers breaking the salt from the ground, cutting it into rectangular pieces and loading it onto camels. The caravans start from here. This is also the lowest point of the Danakil – 116 meters!
We continue driving ahead to Dallol and stroll through the different landscapes formed by volcanic activities. Incredible, moon-like, colorful creations of the sulfur and huge salt mountains are to be found here.
From here we proceed to Mekele (180 km, around 4 hours), leaving the lowland and make our way up (Mekele is situated at 2100m!), having wonderful mountains on our side, reaching civilization at around 4:00.
Our Price Is $500pp With a Maximum Group of 12 Pax Only
- All fuel expenses and drivers allowances
- All needed Entrance fees
- Licenses Transport with the latest model Toyota 4WD land cruisers
- Experienced English speaking driver/guide throughout the tour
- All fuel expenses and drivers allowances 3 meals per day
- All needed Entrance fees and licenses
- Accommodation and all meals throughout the tour
- Plenty bottles of water and coffee or tea with meals
- Local guide service for the Afar region
- Cooking, camping equipment
- Experienced cook throughout the whole tour
Price doesn't,t include
- Tips for guides -souvenirs from the Afar people -personal insurance *
What do you need?
- Light (walking in the night)
- Small backpack for the trek to the top of the volcano
- Closed, comfortable shoes (trekking shoes)
- Sun protection like sun cream, hat
- Jacket for the night on the volcano
- Sleeping bag, pillow or blanket (can also be provided by the agency for free