After a delicious early breakfast, around 7 you will drive for 30 min to Dallol (a colorful place’). The caravans start from here. Dallol Depression is officially listed as the hottest place on earth, with an average temperature of 34-35 °C. Much of this vast and practically unpopulated region lies below sea level, dipping to a frazzled nadir of -116m at Dallol, near Lake Asale, the lowest spot on the African continent and one of the driest and most tectonically active areas on the planet. Continue driving ahead to Dallol and stroll through the different landscapes formed by volcanic activity. This is a yellow moon-like kingdom of spectacular creations. After a mesmerizing visit, proceed back to Mekele (4 h), leaving the lowlands. Overnight stay at camp, Erta Ale.
Today’s aim is to first reach Dodom (‘tree planting’), the base of the Erta Ale volcano and later, at night, Erta Ale itself. After breakfast at 10 am at the lake, it is a 70 km drive on sandy ground and over cold lava rocks. On the way you will see the salt miners, the local Afar people. They pump saltwater over the surface and let it evaporate to create a salt crust. Lunch will be served in Dodom village. Here you have to show permission to climb Erta Ale (‘the smoking mountain’), get the needed camels for transporting the goods and more scouts. Dinner will be served at 5-ish since you have to start trekking up to the volcano around 6-7 pm. Dodom is approximately 8.5km away from Erta Ale and this stretch will take about 3 hours to walk. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food to the rim of the volcano, where you will spend the night watching the dramatic actions of the boiling lava.
Overnight camping at Erta Ale.