The Danakil depression in northeastern Ethiopia is a fantastic region. This zone results from the convergence of three tectonic plates that created astonishing geological phenomena. This area is part of the big Afar Depression.
The entire area is located below sea level and is considered as the hottest region of the world in terms of year-round average temperatures. There is almost no rain during the year; from 100 to 200 millimetres annually (we can't get as much in 1 or 2 weeks in Canada or Europe).
For those interested in archaeology, it is in this area that the famous skeleton of Lucy was discovered in 1974. The skeleton of this hominid is 3.2 million years old.
For our excursion in this desert, we have decided to use the service of a travel agency. The area is dangerous and it is advisable to travel in the company of policemen and also with armed soldiers. Moreover, vehicles going there must be in top condition and have very good off-road capability.
As you can see on the photo, our van would never have survived an expedition in this desert.
Afar people extract salt from the ground to sell it to the towns. Everything is done by hand, and transport is done with dromedaries.
Before the road, caravans were going to Mekele to sell the salt slabs. That expedition was around 7 days. Some Afars are still making that journey where a slab of salt is sold for about $2.50. Those that only go as far as the paved road only get about 90 cents. Maybe this way of earning a living is going to disappear.
The salt slabs are carried with dromedaries.
The Danakil desert is a region rich in all kinds of geological phenomena.
The most spectacular photos are coming soon.
The following two blogs on the Danakil will allow you to discover some landscapes that are even more extraordinary.