9 Days Danakil Depression and Northern Ethiopia Tours
Day One: Exploring Addis
Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After checking in at your hotel, visit the National Museum, where Ethiopia’s oldest resident, Lucy, is housed.
Close to the National Museum is the Selassie (Trinity) church, one of the most important churches of Addis Ababa and the final resting place of Haile Selassie, to whom there is a dedicated museum on site.
Finish the day with shopping in Merkato, the local marketplace which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market.
Day Two: Fly from Addis- Mekele – Erta ale
We start our day by flying early in the morning from Addis- mekele (landing at @8:15 am) After you join the existing group you are going to drive to Erta Ale (which means smoky mountain in Afar language). Erta Ale ranks as 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 a 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, and drive to Askoma (at the base of Erta Ale). This may be one of the roughest roads in the world. The 247 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through a 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 at the Askoma camping site, located about 9 km from Erta Ale.
Dinner will be served around 17:00. 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 mats 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.
Day Three: 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 sulfur springs. The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level; You pass through the small town of Berhale where the camel caravan stops 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 the drive to reach Hamad Ela, a better village with a total population of about 500 people. Sun set at Dallol. Overnight camping at Hamed Ela.
Day Four: Dalol – Gheralta (hausien)
Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look at the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting it into rectangular pieces, and loading it on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the different landscapes formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meters below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salt mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans, and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Hawsien. Overnight at Gheralta Lodge or Vision Hotel.
Day Five: Gheralta churches excursion
In one day you will visit one church; Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor and Daniel Korkor. All of which are very different in style but stunningly beautiful in their 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 turns 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 in visiting Mariam Korkor and Daniel Korkor after lunch it is possible to include them in the package. O/ n at Gheralta Lodge.
Day Six: Gheralta -Axum
You will drive for about 2:30 hrs, you will visit the ancient civilization of Ethiopia in Axum. Overnight in Axum (hotel).
Day Seven: Fly from Axum- Gondar
After breakfast, fly from Axum to Gondar. After briefly settling in your hotel, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, Ras Gimb Palace Museum, and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar (hotel).
Day Eight: Gondar – Lalibela and visit churches
Depart on an early morning flight to Lalibela (08:00), the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
Day Nine: Fly back to Addis Ababa for Departure