Photo-expedition with the world's best travel photographer of 2020* Vladimir Alekseev to volcanoes and salt lakes of Danakil depression


November 2 – 8, 2024
TNorthern Ethiopia

tour to Ethiopia expedition Danakil depression volcano Ertale Dallol Tigray churches Assale lake Afdera Afar people

Dassanech Karo tribe Bulls jumping ceremony Assale Afar
Getting to the wildest area of the Great Rift Valley and feeling as a space tourist landed somewhere on Venus.
In the middle of red hot desert, under low south stars, staying on the edge of the crater on the top of volcano and watching an exclusive fire show, created by nature!

Getting to the wildest area of the Great Rift Valley and feeling as a space tourist landed somewhere on Venus.
In the middle of red hot desert, under low south stars, staying on the edge of the crater on the top of volcano and watching an exclusive fire show, created by nature!

Dates: November 2 – 8, 2024

Duration: 7 days / 6 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
• 1 850 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants, or
• 1 990 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants, or
• 2 190 USD subject to 7 – 8 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before June 2, 2024)

Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Addis Ababa roundtrip,
- domestic flight Addis Ababa – Semera and Mekele – Addis Ababa,
- international medical insurance,
– Ethiopian visa (e-visa to be obtained in advance, or VoA in the airport of Addis Ababa, at 50 USD. The fee may change)

Estimated cost of flight from Moscow to Addis Ababa roundtrip: 800 – 950 USD (Usually bought on your own. We consult)
Estimated cost of flights from Addis Ababa to Semera and back from Mekele to Addis Ababa: about 350 – 400 USD (Usually bought on your own. We consult)

Single supplement in hotels: USD 170


Day 1. November 2, 2024. Addis Ababa

Early morning arrival in Addis Ababa airport. Transfer to the hotel.
After rest, Addis Ababa city tour with visiting the Orthodox Church, Merkato market, the biggest in Africa, National museum with Lucy skeleton, local cafe and observation desk.
Back to the hotel for overnight.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Blue Birds Hotel

* Recommended flight from Moscow to Addis Ababa:
— with Ethiopian Airlines direct flight, departure from Moscow on November 1 at 22:00, arrival in Addis Ababa the next day, November 2, at 6:30 am,
— or with Egypt Air, with 2 hours stopover in Cairo, departure from Moscow at 15:45 on November 1 and an arrival in Addis Ababa at 3:05 am on next day, November 2,
— or any other flight arriving in Addis Ababa no later than at 9 am on November 2.

Day 2. November 3, 2024. Addis Ababa — Semera — Alolebed springs — Ertale

After early breakfast, morning flight to the North, to Semera, the capital of Afar region. Departure at 07:10 am. Arrival in Semera at 8:30 am. We set off on 4WD jeeps to Danakil depression, Afar region. Travel through the Danakil desert to Erta Ale volcano area (270 km, driving time 5-6 hours).
Visit Alolebed spring waters en route. Lunch picnic by our chef at one of the local villages.
Arrive at the Ertale camp around 3-4 pm and after taking coffee/tea and snacks, we pack to start walking to the caldera rim on the top of volcano. 20-30 minutes walking to the top of the mountain (613 meters above sea level). Dismount into caldera and watch the lava lake starting at sunset till the night, standing on the edge of a 100 meter crater. Later walk back to the camp on caldera rim for dinner and night in a shack or in the open air.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in a shack or in the open air

** Recommended flight from Addis Ababa to Semera:
— with Ethiopian Airlines, direct flight, departure from Addis Ababa on November 3 at 7:10 am, arrival in Semera at 8:30 am.

Day 3. November 4, 2024. Erta Ale volcano

Another full day to explore the active volcano and other old dormant craters and sulfur ashes around the top of the mountains.
Get up early to watch the sunrise in the active lava lake. After breakfast hiking to the second crater of the volcano. Watching lava fields. There are also other craters some of them still smoky, some dead. We walk to see the sulfur ashes from old eruptions. After dinner sunset at the lava lake. Night watch of a unique natural fire show. Night in a shack or in the open air.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in a shack or in the open air

* For the last years, the activity of Erta Ale volcano is unstable, despite the fact that it is permanent lava lake volcano, one of the 4 such kind volcanoes on Earth. During our travel dates, the lava lake can be barely active or too smoky in order to see lava. That's why we take 2 days at volcano in order to have bigger chances to see lava.

Day 4. November 5, 2024. Erta Ale — Hamedela — Lake Assale

One more chance for sunrise at the unique place. After breakfast early descent to the base camp (20 minutes walk) and drive to lake Afdera.
Bathing in hot springs and in the extremely salt lake. Visit salt mining systems at Afdera lake.
Early lunch and drive further to Hamedela village, where some 600 Afar people live (3 hours drive). Lunch in our basic camp in Hamdela, where we will also spend the night.
After lunch, visit Afar traditional hat (called akal) in Hamedela or in the area. Communicate with Afar people, photography the local life of Afar people.
Around 4 pm drive to Lake Assale. Swim in the natural pool in Assale lake, where the water is much salter than in the Dead Sea. A huge salt lake in walking distance where we take a deep breath and have some wine or beer for sunset. Photographer would find insane angles and amazing reflections for taking pictures.
At sunset try to find the caravans of camels carrying salt (however it is not easy nowadays).
Short drive back to Hamedela.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: open air camping

Day 5. November 6, 2024. Hamedela — Dallol — Danakil depression — Mekele

You get served an early breakfast at 6. Around 7 we start driving the short distance (approx 30 min) to Dallol volcano ("a colorful place") via Asebo ("the salt desert"). 1200 square km of the Afar Depression is covered by salt. You will watch the workers breaking the salt from the ground, cutting it into rectangular pieces and loading it onto camels. The caravans start from here. This is also the lowest point of the Danakil – 116 meters! We continue driving ahead to Dallol and stroll through the different landscapes formed by volcanic activities. Incredible, moon-like, colorful creations of the sulfur and huge salt mountains, a bumbling oil lake, are to be found here.
Due to incredible colors at Dallol you feel like on Venus.
Visiting another extraterrestrial place nearby, called New York.
Will have half day to see this all and proceed to Mekele (180 km, around 4 hours), leaving the lowland and make our way up (Mekele is situated at 2100 m absl), having wonderful mountains and passes.
Arrive in Mekele. Dinner and overnight in Axum hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Axum hotel

Day 6. November 7, 2024. Mekele — Gheralta — Tygray rock-hewn churches — Mekele — Addis Ababa

After breakfast, drive from Mekele to Gheralta (1.5 hours drive) to see the rock-hewn mountainous Orthodox churches. Visit Abune Yemata Guh church with 1 hour climbing that need hand hold! It is one of the greatest rock churches, masterpiece formed in the 11 century, which is a truly unique place. Breathtaking climbing and a smashing view. After lunch visit Mariam Korkor church. It takes 2 hours walking.
Afternoon drive to Mekele directly to the airport. Flight to Addis Ababa at 6:50 pm.
Arrival in Addis Ababa. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.

*Recommended flight from Mekele to Addis Ababa:
— By Ethiopian Airlines, direct flight, departure from Mekelle on November 7 at 18:50, arrival in Addis Ababa at 20:20.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Blue Birds Hotel

Day 7. November 8, 2024. Addis Ababa — Return flight

Free time in Addis Ababa and further connection evening flight back home.
* Or, for those who travels to Southern Ethiopia, further connection flight to Jimma at 15:35.

Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: no

**Recommended flight from Addis Ababa to Moscow:
— a direct flight operated by Ethiopian Airlines, departing at 23:30 on November 8, arriving in Moscow at 7:25 am the next day, November 9.
— or an Egypt Air flight with a transfer in Cairo at 6:30 am, departing from Addis Ababa at 22:05 on November 8 and arriving in Moscow at 14:45 on November 9,
— or any other flight departing from Addis Ababa on November 8.

* The order of visits and excursions can be modified according to local conditions (i.e. state of roads, ceremonies etc.). If some visits and/or tours could not be done due to external conditions, they will be replaced when possible.

** Depending on local conditions and decision pf local authorities, the start of the program is possible from Mekele (instead of Semera). In this case the flight on Day 2 is to be purchased until Mekele, for morning time, departure at 7:30 am.

  • Сергей Мердишов
    отзыв опубликован на сайте
    У меня был неудачный опыт поездки в одном из путешествий.
    Ради чего поехал, так и не увидел. Хотя по программе все было включено.
    И поэтому я стал искать с кем можно поехать в очередную поездку. В интернете наткнулся на MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS. Тогда меня интересовало племя Короваи, как раз у них намечалась такая поездка. Написал Алексею. Стали с ним общаться.
    Переписывались по почте очень долго, из-за боязни, что и в этот раз пойдет, что-то не так, как по программе. Алексей терпеливо, доходчиво отвечал на все мои вопросы, даже когда был в какой-то очередной поездке. А таких вопросов было не мало.
    Группа к Короваям не набралась, но у меня уже был запасной вариант к племенам долины реки Омо в Эфиопию. И опять у меня появились вопросы к Алексею, понимая, что и без меня у него проблем хватает. Но на все вопросы я получал ответ.
    И я Алексею поверил и не ошибся.
    Спасибо Алексею за его терпение при переписке и в поездке.
    Как для меня…, то мне было интересно с Лёшей путешествовать по Эфиопии.
    На протяжении все поездки немало было проблем из-за дождей, но Алексей с гидом Аби старались, чтобы у нас всё получилось. И получилось! И все было здорово!!!
    Да и вся группа была в восторге от всего увиденного. А увидели даже больше, чем планировали. Впечатлений море, воспоминания на долгие годы.
    Конечно, в экспедиции всякое может произойти, тем более, когда такая сложная логистика, какая была в Эфиопии. Но если Вы хотите увидеть то, что Вам предлагают в MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS - не раздумывайте, будет интересно !!!
  • Лилия
    отзыв опубликован на сайте
    С Лёшей была в Эфиопии в ноябре 2019. Интересная программа, отличная организация на протяжении всей поездки, не отказал в посещении интересного события, не входящего в программу. Профессиональное оперативное решение непредвиденной нештатной ситуации. Надеюсь, еще не раз попаду в команду Mzungu!
Cost includes:

• Accommodation in hotels in Addis Ababa, Semera, Mekele, based on TWIN/DBL rooms
• Accommodation in camping and under open-air in Danakil, thatched huts on the top of Erta Ale volcano
• Three times a day meals in restaurants/cafes in all cities (Semera, Mekele, Addis Ababa)
• Cook and three meals a day during the expedition part
• Drinking water throughout the whole trip
• All transfers and transportation according to the itinerary by 4WD SUV cars with A/C, with local experienced drivers
• All permits for visiting protected areas, all entry fees
• Armed security, if needed
• English speaking guide,
• Team leader and translation into Russian

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

• International air tickets to Addis Ababa (roundtrip),
• local flights from Addis Ababa to Semera and from Mekele to Addis Ababa,
• international medical insurance,
• Ethiopian visa,
• single accommodation in hotels

To take with:

• long sleeve wear set, light wear set, one set of cloths for cool weather
• comfortable high trekking shoes,
• swimwear
• head torch,
• gas mask for descending to the crater (optionally),
• buff
• big backpack (or travel bag, or small suitcase) for the luggage
• small backpack for ascent to volcano
• sleeping bag for warm weather
• sunblock set: cream, sunglasses, cap
• repellents,
• personal hygiene items (soap, towel, wet tissues)
• personal medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medications)
• photo and video camera, tripod
Northern Ethiopia

Best season: October - May

Exciting and extreme travel on SUV vehicles to the lowest, hottest and lifeless part of the Great Rift Valley, along deep sands of Danaki desert and ash fields of Erta Ale volcano.

Assale salt lake and lifeless Danakil in the same name depression, the lowest place in Africa (155 m below sea level), which is the home of severe Afar people, whose women are considered to be ones of the most beautiful in the world.

9-kilometer ascension to Erta Ale volcano, one of five volcanos in the word with permanent lava lake. Uniqueness of this volcano is that it has two lava lakes. Infernal boiler of 150 meter crater is 1000C hot!

The hottest place on Earth - Dallol volcano, where you ask yourself: "where am I, on Mars or on Venus?" It is only the blue sky which tells you that you are still on Earth. Dallol is situated in Danakil depression at the level of 48 meters below sea level and is the lowest situated volcano on Earth.

Primitive salt mining from the bottom of the lake and camelcades carrying salt blocks along the ancient trade road to Sudan.

Swimming in sky-blue Afdera salt lake, analogue of the Dead Sea, and overnights in the open air.

  • 1
    We find the most astonishing places on Earth and speed up to reach them. Our motto is to go ahead of road roller, touch the unique and unknown, before it disappears.
  • 2
    Wherever we go, we look for challenging activities and adventures, filling the journey with absolutely different spirit and emotions. That is why people join us over and over again.
  • 3
    In our trips we pay special attention to safety. All our travels are based on personal experience, equipped with the best gear, involving proved providers and experienced local guides who perfectly know local features.
  • 4
    We have a unique experience of the most offbeat expeditions and ascents, deep knowledge of countries and peoples, and are ready to share it with you.
  • 5
    All our trips are reach in adventures, with high quality accommodation, transportation and meals included. We do not save on it. Thanks to solid contacts with reliable providers we offer really good prices and high quality.


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