Day 1 - Djibouti
Arrive in Djibouti and transfer to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore the capital. Overnight Hotel Plein Ciel or similar.
Day 2 – Lac Assal
We head to the crater lake of Lac Assal - the lowest point in Africa (-150 m), as well as the most saline body of water in the world (up to 40%). One of Africa's most impressive natural phenomena, its spectacular colours and unusual crystalline formations give it an almost alien appearance. We may see Afar herders or salt collectors on its shores. Return to Tadjoura for the night. Overnight beach bungalows. (BLD)
Day 3 – Lac Abbe
Drive to Lac Abbe, stopping en route to meet local people and arriving in the late afternoon to watch the sun set over one of Africa's most enigmatic and breathtaking regions. Overnight Lac Abbe Camp. (BLD)
Surrounded by dormant volcanoes, Lac Assal is an impressive sight; the salt flats contrast with the black lava fields and there are numerous large crystal formations dotted around. The lake is fed by hot saline springs making it unique among salt lakes, as all others are fed by streams and rivers, and it has no outlet, which contributes to its extremely high level of salinity. As well as being the lowest point in Africa it is the third lowest depression in the world after the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4 - Lac Abbe - Semera
This morning we visit the extraordinary landscape of Lac Abbe, a desolate salt lake with hundreds of limestone chimneys belching sulphur into the atmosphere. This landscape is so other-worldly that the classic science fiction film 'Planet of the Apes' was filmed here. From here we cross into Ethiopia and head to Semera, where we stay for the night. Overnight Semera Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 5 –
Drive to the turquoise Afrera Lake, surrounded by palm trees. The Afrera salt lake is home to local Afar people harvesting salt flakes using traditional methods, and in the lake is the world's lowest lying island in the world, Frachetti island (-102 m). Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 6 – Erta Ale
Drive to Mount Erta Ale through the Afar desert - Erta Ala is one of the highlights of this expedition, and is one of only five permanent lava lakes in the world. We hike 3 hours to the rim, while our equipment and water is carried by camels - we wait for sunset to see one of the world's most spectacular sights when the red lava in the crater lights up the sky. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 7 – Ahmedela
Drive to Ahmedela along unmarked sandy tracks, passing Afar settlements along the way. Ahmedela is the base for exploring the salt mines and seeing the salt workers and camel caravans. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 8 - Dallol - Mekelle
Drive to the hot springs at Dallol, composed of different minerals along with sulphurs and potash and create spectacular colours. Dallol is renowned as being the hottest inhabited place on earth; between 1960 and 1966 an average annual temperature of 34°C (94°F) was recorded. You are likely to see the long 'caravane de sel' - camel trains loaded with salt. Later we drive to Mekelle for the night. Axum Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 9 – Addis Ababa
Fly back to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day is spent exploring the city before you transfer to the airport for your flight home. (BLD)
Included in price
- Airport transfers
- Accommodation – as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
- Guides – In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.
- Meals – As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).
Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.
- Airport taxes
- International flights
- Travel Insurance