Danakil Depression የደንከል በረሃ
The Hottest Place on Earth
In northern Ethiopia, close to the border with Eritrea, is the plain of the Danakil Depression. Often referred to as the Hottest Place on Earth, this area is home to 30 active and inactive volcanoes. This junction of three tectonic also beckons travellers with an abundance of geological and volcanic wonders
The Danakil Depression
The Danakil Depression is one of the lowest places on the African continent, at 155 meters below sea level. There is rarely any rain and it holds the record for the hottest average temperature on Earth (48℃), with temperatures often reaching 50℃.
To any geological enthusiast, the Depression is a marvel, but any traveler will be able to appreciate the unearthly beauty that is extremely difficult to find anywhere else.
The chain of alkaline salt lakes, formed from the drying up of the Awash river, are breathtaking and colorful. This area is also ripe with mystery. Many of the hot springs are being studied for their strange ability to host rare lifeforms.
Erta Ale, meaning “smoking mountain”, is the most well-known and active volcano in the region. It contains the longest-existing active lava lake on Earth. The lake of lava has been bubbling and, from time to time, overflowing down the south side of the volcano, since 1906. Since there are only six volcanoes in the entire world that contain active lava lakes, it is a rare and exciting sight to behold.
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BEST TIMES TO VISIT:
WHY TRAVELLERS LOVE IT:
A strange and mysterious landscape, scattered with noxious hot springs, frozen black-lava flows, and massive salt basins left over from ancient lakes.
- Erta Ale, one of five permanent lava lakes on Earth, that has been flowing for 120 years.
Visiting the Danakil Depression
Any traveler looking to visit the Afar region should be sure to adequately prepare and enlist the services of a knowledgeable guide, as the sites are as beautiful and mysterious as they are dangerous.
With extreme average temperature, travellers should be sure to equip themselves with an abundance of water and check in with the embassies in Addis Ababa to plan for a safe tour of the region.
History of Afar and the Danakil Depression
The Afar are a nomadic people that travel across the inhospitable landscape of the Danakil Depression. While their primary livelihoods are as keepers of livestock, they continue to extract salt from the region and trade it in towns and cities in other parts of the country. There are early records in Egypt that note that the region was prized for its salt deposits as long ago as the 6th century.
More recently, the area has also earned the title of Cradle of the Hominids. This region was where the famous Lucy fossil was found. Lucy is the oldest fossil of our hominid ancestors, dated to be 3.2 million years old.