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Northern Historic Towns + a 4 days-tour of the Danikal Depression

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, it is a unique and fascinating destination that attracts adventurous travelers for several reasons:

Extreme Landscapes:

The Danakil Depression is one of the hottest and lowest places on Earth. It features a surreal and harsh landscape with active volcanoes, colorful mineral deposits, salt flats, and geysers. The diverse geological features make it a captivating destination for those interested in extreme environments.

Volcanic Activity:

The region is known for its active volcanoes, including Erta Ale, which has a lava lake that visitors can observe. The sight of flowing lava and the glow of the crater at night create a mesmerizing and otherworldly experience.

Salt Flats and Mining:

The Danakil Depression is home to vast salt flats, and the traditional salt mining methods used by the Afar people have remained largely unchanged for centuries. The salt flats, with their hexagonal patterns, are a unique and photogenic sight.

Unique Flora and Fauna:

Despite its extreme conditions, the Danakil Depression is home to some hardy life forms adapted to the harsh environment. Visitors may encounter unique flora and fauna specially adapted to survive in the hot and arid climate.

Cultural Interaction:

The Afar people, who inhabit the Danakil region, have a distinct and fascinating culture. Visiting the area provides an opportunity to interact with the Afar communities, learn about their nomadic way of life, and gain insights into their traditional customs and practices.

Historical Significance:

The Danakil Depression has archaeological sites with evidence of early human ancestors. The region has yielded fossils and artifacts that contribute to our understanding of human evolution. Sites such as Hadar, where the famous hominid “Lucy” was discovered, are of great historical importance.

Photography Opportunities:

The stark and surreal landscapes of the Danakil Depression offer incredible photography opportunities. The vibrant colors, unique geological formations, and the contrast between the extreme conditions and life in the region make it a favorite among photographers.

Adventure Travel:

For adventure seekers, the Danakil Depression offers a unique and challenging experience. Traveling to the region requires preparation for the extreme heat, rugged terrain, and basic living conditions. It attracts those who seek off-the-beaten-path destinations and want to challenge themselves.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site:

The Afar Triangle, which includes the Danakil Depression, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its geological features and the role it plays in understanding the Earth’s processes contribute to its international significance.

Natural Phenomena:

Visitors to the Danakil Depression can witness unique natural phenomena, such as the Erta Ale lava lake, bubbling hot springs, and the ever-changing patterns of the salt flats. Experiencing these natural wonders adds to the allure of the region.

Note. visiting the Danakil Depression requires careful planning, including consideration of the extreme temperatures and remote conditions. Travelers should be prepared for a challenging but rewarding adventure in this extraordinary part of Ethiopia.


Day 1

Into the Heart of Ethiopia

Embark on a scenic journey as we drive from Addis Ababato Dessie, covering 390 kilometers. After a quick breakfast, our route unfolds through vast farmlands, offering glimpses of rural life.

Marvel at the breathtaking Tarmaher Pass, flanked by spectacular forested peaks on either side of the highway.

Day 2

Enchanting Lalibela Drive (290 km)

At dawn, set forth towards Lalibela, making a stop at Lake Estiphanos to explore the historic Hayq Estifanos Monastery. Delve into the rich history of this sacred place, witnessing the confluence of scholarship, worship, and resilience. While only men can enter the monastery, women can enjoy a serene boat trip on the lake.

Day 3

The Mystique of Lalibela

Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, unfolds its wonders over two days. Akin to Petra in Jordan, Lalibela’s 12th-century Rock-Hewn churches, the eighth wonder of the world, beckon exploration.

Delve into the intricacies of Biete Medhane Alem, the world’s largest monolithic church, and navigate the trenches to reach Biete Giyorgis, the iconic isolated structure. Uncover the interconnected churches, revealing fascinating internal tunnels and hermit holes, where people lived and died.

Immerse in the spiritual journey Haile Selassie once undertook during wartime. Visit the first group of seven churches and travel 45 kilometers to the 11th-century church of Yemrehanna Kristos, nestled within a cave.

Conclude the day with a delectable dinner at the renowned Ben Abeba restaurant, perched on steel and concrete, offering panoramic views of hills and valleys.

Day 4

Lalibela’s Morning Glory

Embark on a morning journey, either by car or on foot, to a monastery perched high in the mountains above Lalibela. Discover extraordinary relics and marvel at the breathtaking views.

After lunch, explore the remaining four rock churches, followed by an evening of traditional Ethiopian cuisine, featuring locally produced honey mead and engaging in traditional dances.

Day 5 and 6

The Transformation of Baregota Village (8 km walk each way)

Embark on a transformative journey to Baregota Village, an 8-kilometer walk (mule travel optional). Witness the incredible story of Amlaku Teshome, who pursued education to uplift his remote village.

Explore the advancements in agriculture, water distribution, and cash crop production. Stay overnight in a specially built guest house, surrounded by stunning scenery.

The next morning, continue exploring the village, possibly visiting a 1000-year-old church and a nearby primary school, before trekking 8 kilometers back to Lalibela.

Day 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

Venture to Mekele (300 km)

Embark on a scenic drive to Mekele, the capital city of the Tigray region. Explore Emperor Yohannes IV’s Palace and Museum, showcasing architectural marvels built between 1882 and 1884. Begin the 4-day exploration of the Danakil Depression area, known for its unique geological features.

Note: Days 8 to 11 involve the exploration of the Danakil Depression, featuring Dallol, sulfur terraces, and the ascent of Erta Ale.

Day 12

Leisure Day in Mekele

We will then travel from the highlands of the Tigray Region down to the Danakil desert. This is considered the most active volcanic region in the world, with temperatures of up to 50 °C. We will camp overnight.

Day 13

Drive to Axum (187 km)

Embark on a journey to Axum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Archeological Museum, Zion Cathedral, Stele Park, and the ruins of King Menelik I’s palace and bath, dating back to 950 BC.

Day 14

Gondar Beckons (360 km)

Drive to Gondar, Ethiopia’s first capital city during the reign of Fasilides. Visit the royal enclosure of Gondar and the Debre Birhan Selasse church.

Day 15

Bahir Dar Serenity (170 km)

Drive to Bahir Dar, visiting Awra Amba Village en route. This intentional community promotes egalitarianism, with members following a distinctive lifestyle.

After lunch in Bahir Dar, explore the Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tissisat, a 100m-wide spectacle plunging 45m.

Day 16

Lake Tana Bliss

Embark on a boat trip on Lake Tana, home to 37 islands with historical and cultural treasures. Visit the Ura Kidane Mehret monastery, housing a significant collection of religious icons.

Day 17

Homeward Bound (500 km)

Drive back to Addis Ababa, or opt for a flight. Conclude your journey with an optional farewell dinner.

Day 18

Arrival and Addis Ababa Rediscovery

On your arrival in Addis Ababa, our staff warmly welcomes you back. Enjoy a city tour to rediscover the charm of Ethiopia’s capital, known as the “New Flower” in Amharic.

You can customize this tour

The program refers to our standard tour but it can be varied to fit your needs. Chat with us, book a video call or use the form below for more information.