Miracles of Nature and Manmade Wonders
Join our expedition to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Africa – the rock-hewn churches of Tigray, the salt planes of Lake Asale, the candy-colored sulphur springs landscape of Dallol in the Danakil Depression and the lake of fire at Erta Ale volcano.
Explore the spectacular rock-hewn churches of Tigray and brave the climb up a rock face to Abuna Yemata Church for the amazing mountain views and unique frescoes.
Follow the salt caravan trail to the hottest place on Earth – the Danakil Depresssion with its sulphur springs and unique colorful mineral formations
See traditional salt mining by hand at Lake Asale.
Trek up Erta Ale volcano and try your luck getting a good view of the lava lake at the caldera’s center.
Jan 22 – 29, 2020.
Axum to Hawzien.
Arrive in Addis Ababa in the morning and transfer for your flight to Axum. Meet the group at Axum Airport and start out for Hawzien and start exploring the northern region of Tigray also known for its rock-hewn churches carved between the 5th and 13th centuries.
Enroute we will visit Yeha Temple, Arbuta Insesa and Abreha We Astbeha Churches, stopping for lunch in the town of Adigrat and at any interesting spots we find along the way, including local markets.
We arrive for dinner and rest at the Hawzien Gheralta Lodge.
Early in the morning we will drive to Abuna Yemata Church, accessible by a short barefoot climb on a rock face. Our efforts will be rewarded by the spectacular scenery from the church entrance and the frescoes on the cave wall, which appear as vibrant today as when they were first painted centuries back. We will return to the lodge for lunch.
After lunch we do this again when we visit two more mountain churches – Mariam Kokor and Daniel Kokor.
Return to Hawzien Gheralta Lodge for dinner and rest.
Meals included - none.
Hawzien – Ahmed Ela.
We say goodbye to Tigray in the morning and drive into Afar country, headed towards the Ahmed Ela Camp Site. On the way we will stop in a town called Berahile for permits and coffee, as well as to get any last-minute supplies. We will have to be completely self-reliant for the next 3 days and carry all our supplies with us.
Upon arrival we will go watch the camel salt caravans headed into and out of the Danakil.
For the next two nights we will be sleeping under the stars in Ahmed Ela
Meals included – Lunch, Dinner
After an early start we drive into the Dallol area to see the Sulphur springs and colorful exotic rock formations, followed by a visit to the saltpan at Lake Asale and watch the backbreaking manual labor of the salt miners.
After a break in the early afternoon, to seek shelter from the heat and have lunch, we return to the Danakil’s Sulphur springs and watch the sunset over Lake Asale.
Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ahmed Ela – Kursewad – Dodom – Erta Ale.
In the morning we start to a strenuous drive to Dodom (85km), at the base of Erta Ale Volcano.
Upon arrival in Dodom we hire camels and pack them with supplies for our overnight stay at the volcano.
After an early dinner we start a 3-hour trek to Erta-Ale’s caldera. As the sun goes down, with luck we will enjoy a great view of the fireworks. Please note that sometimes the volcano produces too much smoke to see the lava lake at the center of the caldera and it may take several attempts to catch a clear view sometime during the night, but this cannot be guaranteed.
We spend the night camping in stone huts on the top of Erta Ale.
Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Erta Ale – Dodom – Mekele
We get up at sunrise for our last look at Erta Ale and trek back to Dodom where we have a light breakfast.
After breakfast we drive via Debarti to Mekele (250km). On arrival we check into the Mekele Planet hotel.
Meals included - Breakfast
Mekele – Addis Ababa
AM transfer to Mekele Airport for morning flight to Addis Ababa
Check in to Addis Ababa day room and with optional taxi tour of Addis Ababa
Evening transfer to Bole International Airport for flight home
Meals included - none
january 22-29, 2020
All domestic airfares. Please note that the pricing is based on your international flight being with Ethiopian Airlines. Please note a $150 supplement will be required if you fly in on another airline to cover the foregone domestic fare discount.
All meals and drinking water in the Danakil Depression/Erta Ale portion of the itinerary
Enough bottled mineral water per day per person
All camping gear required for the Danakil Depression (tents, mattresses, pillows, beds, chairs, tables, cooking utensils, generator and other necessary equipments), cook, camels for transporting camping gear + food while trekking to Erta Ale
Transfers & sightseeing by minibus in Tigray and 4WD in the Danakil
Entry tickets, tour guide, scout, police, militia, village, road and camping fees
All personal expenses including gratuities to guides, photography tips
Photography, videography permits and fees
Outside the Danakil Depression any meals that are not listed as included in the itinerary above.
Roundtrip international airfare to Addis Ababa and Ethiopia visa fees.