Into the Danakil Depression

Journey into the heart of Earth's fiery abyss, where the Danakil Depression unveils surreal landscapes and mesmerizing geothermal wonders.

Into the Danakil Depression Tour


The Danakil Depression is a geological wonderland in Ethiopia, one of the hottest and lowest places on Earth. It is a place of otherworldly landscapes, scorching temperatures, and vivid colours.

Join our expedition as we walk across vast salt flats, marvel at a kaleidoscope of colours and witness the fiery inferno of Erta Ale volcano. However, it is not just the geological wonders that make the Danakil Depression a captivating destination. Throughout the journey, you'll have the privilege of meeting the resilient Afar people, who have adapted to the harsh conditions of this land. Their rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality offer a window into a way of life shaped by this unforgiving environment.

Into the Danakil Depression is an unforgettable odyssey into the heart of nature, where ancient forces shape the land and its most captivating spectacles unfold.

On this short tour, you get to experience the Danakil with our experienced local team. This is a challenging trip and one that should not be taken without careful consideration. The tour can be ran as an extension to any of our main Ethiopia tours or can be arranged as an exclusive trip on its own. Contact us for details.

Day 1 - Domestic Flight to Semera and proceed to Erta Ale
If arriving on and international flight, upon Arrival at Bole international Airport, you will be directly connected to your domestic flight to Semera. If taking an extension, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Semera. This is an early morning flight so we can arrange pre-tour accommodation in Addis Ababa if required.

On arrival, you will be met up by our representative and start your trip to the Afar region. The Danakil Depression begins here and is righly known as one of the most spectacular regions of the world. The drive will be on a paved road, with a few stops for coffee with the locals and lunch prepared by your cook. As we progress, the landscape will become drier and deserted. On the way you will see the salt miners, the local Afar people, who pump saltwater over the surface and let it evaporate to create a salt crust.

Lunch will be served in Dodom village. It is here you have to show permission to climb Erta Ale ('the smoking mountain'). We also get the camels that are needed for transporting the goods and more scouts. Dinner will be served at 5-ish since you have to start trekking up to the volcano around 6-7 pm. Dodom is approximately 8.5km away from Erta Ale and this stretch will take about 3 hours to walk. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food to the rim of the volcano, where you will spend the night watching the dramatic actions of the boiling lava.
Overnight camping at Erta Ale (LD)

Day 2 - Dallol
After a delicious early breakfast, you will drive to Dallol via Asebo. We hope to see the Afar people who mine salt, cut it into rectangular pieces and load it onto camels. Dallol Depression is officially listed as the hottest place on earth, with an average temperature of 34-35 °C. Much of this vast and practically unpopulated region lies below sea level, dipping to a frazzled nadir of -116m at Dallol, near Lake Asale, the lowest spot on the African continent. This is one of the driest and most tectonically active areas on the planet. Stroll through the different landscapes formed by volcanic activity and the yellow moon-like kingdom of spectacular creations.
Overnight camping at Dallol (BLD)

Day 3 - Afdera
Enjoy breakfast before we start the drive to Afdera. En route admire the volcanic rock and scenery of the desert. You will reach the village of Afdera this afternoon, where we stop to explore and have a coffee with the locals. Then continue the journey to Lake Afdera and the campsite. As the sun is setting, go for a swim, floating on the surface of the salt lake and enjoy the nearby hot springs while experiencing the incredible view.
Overnight camping at Afdera (BLD)

Day 4 - Afdera to Semera
Today we leave the Afar region and drive towards Semera. Our tour reaches Semera late afternoon, whern we will check in to the hotel and spend the night.
Overnight stay at Kuriftu Lodge or similar (BLD)

Day 5 - Fly Back to Addis Ababa
You will be transferred to Semera Airport and take a domestic flight to Addis Ababa. The tour ends with a drop off at Bole International Airport. We can arrange post-tour acommodation in Addis Ababa if required or further adventures in Ethiopia. (B)

Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book the Into the Danakil Depression tour

Departure Dates 

This is a private tour and can be arranged for any departure date. Contact us for further tour information, including flight options and pre and post tour accommodation.


From £2225 per person (based on two people sharing)


Included in the Into the Danakil Depression Tour

  • 4 Nights accommodations in a shared room/tent basis as per itinerary
  • Return domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Semera
  • Private land transport by an air-conditioned Toyota Land Cruiser 4WD
  • All meals, utensils, camping gears, and cooks in the desert
  • Local Guide and Scout fees
  • Entrance fees - All entrance and excursion fees detailed in your itinerary are included in the tour price.
  • Bottled mineral water in the vehicle (2 lt per day)
  • Government tax associated with the trip

Not Included in the Into the Danakil Depression Tour

  • International travel to the start and end point - contact us for information and flight options. There is a USD$247 surcharge per person if not travelling on Ethiopian Airlines internationally.
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any visa requirements
  • Local escort guide from Addis Ababa. It is an additinal USD$622 per group for an escorted professional English speaking guide.
  • Alcoholic Drinks and Drinks not mentioned
  • Any Photography and Video fees;
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for drivers and guides

Government Travel Safety Advice
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice. Please refer to the COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry.

Visa and Passport Information
Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ethiopia. Make sure you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival.

You will need a valid visa and a valid travel document to enter Ethiopia.

Visitors must obtain a visa from the official Ethiopian e-visa platform [] or from their nearest Ethiopian Embassy before travelling. You will need to show a valid visa before boarding your flight and upon entry. The penalty for overstaying your visa is USD10 per person per day. If you overstay you will have to pay your fine in full before you are able to leave Ethiopia. Visitors entering Ethiopia without a valid travel document and Ethiopian visa may be detained and/or fined.

Local Laws and Custom
Ethiopia is a religiously diverse and largely tolerant country. However, many believers are devout in their respective faiths and you should make sure to respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious sites of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Outside Addis Ababa, particularly in rural areas, women may wish to dress modestly to avoid the possibility of causing offence. Modest dress is a must when visiting religious sites.

Homosexual acts (applying to both sexes) are illegal, and carry penalties of between 1 and 15 years imprisonment. Be sensitive to local laws and customs and avoid public displays of affection.

It is illegal to take photos near military zones or of military personnel; near the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa and where signs clearly prohibit photography.

It is illegal to carry more than 3,000 Ethiopian Birr when entering or leaving Ethiopia. If you are travelling to Djibouti from Ethiopia you may carry up to 10,000 Birr. If you are found to be carrying cash in excess of these amounts, it will be seized and you may face a prison sentence.

You will need an export certificate to take antiques out of the country, otherwise the items are likely to be confiscated and you may face prosecution. Owning ivory is strictly prohibited. A number of British nationals found with ivory jewellery have had their items confiscated by authorities and fined between 5,000 and 25,000 birr.

Drug offences are treated seriously in Ethiopia. Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Khat is a legal drug in Ethiopia but it is an offence to take it out of the country. Bags are regularly searched at Addis Ababa Bole Airport and anyone found to be in possession of Khat is likely to face criminal prosecution.

Satellite phones and binoculars cannot be imported to Ethiopia without prior approval. Unapproved items may be confiscated by authorities.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.

There are a number of hospitals in Addis Ababa but only private hospitals offer a reasonable standard of basic care for minor health problems. Dentistry options are especially lacking. Ambulance services are also limited. Outside the capital medical facilities remain extremely poor. You should carry a comprehensive medical pack when travelling out of Addis Ababa. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, evacuation by air ambulance and repatriation. You should contact your insurance / medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Malaria is common in areas of the country below 2,000 metres above sea level. Addis Ababa sits at 2,400 metres but a number of sites popular with tourists are below 2,000. Bilharzia is present in the vast majority of lakes in Ethiopia - you should check before swimming. Water-borne diseases are common. Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa.

What to bring on the Into the Danakil Depression Tour

Lightweight, casual, non-synthetic clothing (cotton and natural fibers are best) which appropriately cover the body, when in the company of the local communities. Please understand local customs and religious requirements relating to dress codes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be respectful.

The ideal footwear would be walking shoes or boots.

Luggage while on your tour
Please allow yourself one main piece of luggage and a day-sack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage, so don't overload yourself, a soft wheely bag may be easier to manage than a suit case, especially when camping.

We recommend a sunhat, suncream, a torch, insect repellent and a reusable waterbottle. A power adapter for cameras, phones, laptops, etc that will last you a few days.

Ethiopia’s currency is the birr. It’s divided into 100 cents in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins as well as a one birr coin, and there are 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 birr notes. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, but this must be declared on arrival to the customs authorities on the appropriate blue-coloured form. Foreign currency may only be exchanged at authorized banks and hotels, and a receipt must be obtained. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by customs on departure along with the currency exchange form. Visitors may change back any surplus Ethiopian Birr to cash at the airport before departure. If you change foreign currency into Birr, you should ensure that you keep your receipt, as without this you are unlikely to be able to change any left over money back at the end of your trip.

Ethiopia is largely a cash based society. Credit cards are accepted at only a very few outlets in Addis Ababa and it is not normally possible to get currency advances against a credit card. International bank and debit cards are accepted at major banks’ ATMs in the capital but there are very limited banking facilities in most other areas. Make sure you have an adequate supply of cash before travelling outside the capital.

Weather in Ethiopia
The best time to visit Ethiopia is between January and March when clear, sunny days bring regular average daily temperatures of 25°C (77°F). This is Ethiopia's busiest time to visit, with wildlife spotting at its peak and the festivals of Timkat and Leddet drawing huge crowds.

The rainy season (April to September) brings soaring temperatures and humid conditions. Due to rain, from May to August some roads in the Lower Omo Valley become impassable. August is the hottest (and wettest) month with temperatures reaching 45°C (113°F) regularly in the lowlands. In the highlands temperatures are much more moderate but sightseeing is hampered by downpours of rain. October to December is an excellent time to visit Ethiopia as the countryside is lush after all the rain, there are plenty of sunny days and historical sites and monuments are not overrun with tourists. Night time temperatures in highland areas often drop to between 5°C (41°F) and 10°C (50°F) during November and December so be sure to pack a warm clothing.

Internet Availability
There are numerous internet cafes in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gonder, Awasa and other cities. In Addis Ababa, connection speeds are usually more than adequate for performing tasks such as checking e-mail. A typical internet cafe will have a dozen computers using one broadband (usually starts from 128kbps) connection. Ethiopia's international connection is unstable: On bad days, even a broadband connection will only deliver dial-up speed, because the whole country's traffic is running via an undersized backup satellite connection.

Outside of bigger towns, it is harder to find a working Internet connection and the charge per minute is often much higher than in bigger towns. Using the internet costs between 25-35 Ethiopian cents/per min in the bigger cities but outside the cities it usually costs more than 1 birr/per minute.

Ethiopia has 220 volt electricity, meaning unless your computer or appliance is dual voltage or designed for 220 volts, you will need a converter or transformer. The cycles (Hz) are 50 per second. The power sockets that are used are of type C / E / F / L. While adaptors are available in Ethiopia, buying one prior to leaving home is recommended to avoid the hassle of trying to find one when you arrive.

Ready to book or need more information?

Then get in touch with our expert travel consultants now. We can help you with tailormade options, best times to travel and much more...