Mekele – Erta ale
After you join the existing group, you are going to drive to Erta Ale (which means smoky mountain in Afar language). 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. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. It is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. We start early 9:00 AM, drive to Askoma (at the base of Erta Ale).
This is may be one of the roughest roads in the world. The 247 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm lined oasis. After passing several small hamlets scattered here and there in this deserted land, you will arrive to Askoma camping site, located about 9 km from Erta Ale.
Dinner will be served around 17:00 o’clock. After a short break, trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hours. Camels will be transporting all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. You will spend the night on top of the mountain, at the rim of the Volcano.
Ertale – Hamed Ela
The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, but is nonetheless spectacular, full of eye-catching colors, as in the sulphur springs.
The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level; You pass through a small town of Berhale where the camel caravan stop before they proceed to the northern highlands. En route you see many long camel caravans coming to the salt mine and others going out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels.(3-4 hrs drive) Camp Hamedela.
After drive to reach Hamad Ela, better village with a total population about 500 people. Sun set at Dallol. Over night camping at Hamed Ela.
Dalol – Gheralta (hausien)
Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting in to rectangular pieces and loading on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans.
Excursion to Dallol (116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans and walk with the Afar people.
Drive back to Hamedela and proceed Hawsien. Over night at gheralta lodge or vision hotel.
Gheralta – churches excursion
In one day you will visit one churche; Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor and Daniel Korkor. All of which are very different in style but stunningly beautiful in their own way.
To visit Abuna Yemata Guh, walking for about an hour to commence a steep ascent up the side of the Gheralta massif. This steep ascent soon turn into a climb using foot holds and hand holds chipped into the sandstone rock by the passage of many hands and feet. The climb and the walk along very narrow ledges with sheer drops to the side is not one for the faint hearted.
The church itself can be reached by walking out on a ledge one meter wide and with a 200m drop to the left hand side. At the entrance there is a small cave and a wooden door built into the rock. If you are still interested to visit mariam korkor and Daniel korkor after lunch it is possible to include in the package. O/ n at Gheralta lodge.
Gheralta – Axum
You will drive for about 2:30 hrs, and you will visit the ancient civilization of Ethiopia in Axum. Overnight in Axum (hotel).