This is us in the Danakil depression, one of the lowest, hottest and most inhospitable places on earth. The various minerals in the ground make for this outerwordly landscape; sulphur colours the ground a bright yellow, iron a rusty colour and potash a vivid green all in combination with vast expanses of salt. New formations spring up all the time and sulphur and boiling water literally bubble up from the ground. The spectacular colours are due to volcanic activity, you walk in the crater of the Dallol volcano, dormant since 1926. Local legend has it that this is where the ghosts live.
Nearby, the salt flats are mined by the local Afar tribe, who cut them into large blocks and transported by camel. It is two days walk to the nearest town, where the stuff gets loaded onto trucks to go to the Tigraian highlands, where they are used for animals. In the past, it was 7 days walk.
Despite being so hot; it gets up to 56 degrees but when we were there it peaked at a balmy 37, there is so much to see! We visited a bubbly lake that is so salty that the water is oily. The salty mud is used as a skin cure by the nomadic Afar people that populate this region, and the border area of neighboring Djibouti and Eritrea.
Onwards to Salt mountain, where the air was suddenly full of birdsong. As Danakil is one of the most inhospitable terrains on earth, this was a surprise. They are migrating, and any bird that is tempted to drink the sulphur water will quickly succumb.
Finally we had a glass of pretty good Ethiopian red wine on the salt of lake Assale, while Celine Dion's greatest hits blasted from the speakers of our 4x4. "She is my absolute favourite," our guide said, before explaining that the salt here is up to 2 km thick and the water body below connects all the way up to the Red Sea. Despite night falling, the white of the salt lit up the sky. After an excellent dinner we slept under the stars. #thiswasjustoneday
#Ethiopia #holiday #gogogo #Danakil