Day 2: City tour in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is the third highest capital of the world on an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with a pleasant climate and a background of green with eucalyptus trees covered mountains. The city is founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and Queen Taitu. Visit Entoto Mountains, with very nice view over the capital, the National/Ethnographic museum, St George church and the Merkato, biggest open air market in Africa. Overnight stay in Reliance Hotel Apartment.
Day 3: Drive to Awash. In the Awash National Park you will see the elegant Beisa Oryx grazing on the savanna plains. Also Soemmering’s gazelle, Dikdiks, greater and lesser Kudu and Waterbuck can be observed. The park is well known for its 460 bird species from which 6 are endemic. Overnight stay in Awash Falls Lodge.
Day 4: Drive to Semera. Today an early drive after breakfast takes you to Semera through the Yangudi-Rassa National Park (home to the endangered African wild ass). In Semera you will get your Afar permits and we will pick up the mandatory scouts and road leaders. Overnight stay in local hotel, Semera.
Day 5: Drive to Afdera. Today we drive from Semera to Afdera. Lake Afdera is a wonderfully bright green lake situated with black basalt mountains behind. It’s a stunning location. Here you can see salt extraction from the lake, where the Afar nomads continue the same activities that have for centuries. The salt extraction here is the main supply of salt to Addis Ababa. Overnight in Afdera camping.
Day 6: Drive to Erta ale. An early morning drive after breakfast takes you to Erta Ale via Kusuwad. The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. You will camp in the village of El Dom, where it will be an early-to-bed night.
Day 7: Visit Eart ale volcano. Today is an early-to-rise start at 2 am to start your hike to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. At the top, you will peer down at the permanent lava lake (the only one in the world!) while the sun rises over the horizon. Definitely the highlight of the trip! After the hike back to camp and a bit of breakfast, you’ll continue driving to Hamed Ila for overnight.
Day 8: Drive to Dallol. After breakfast, take a day trip to Dallol, which at 116 m below sea level is the lowest point on the African continent. Here the landscape is beautiful, the ground many shades of red and yellow from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. You will also visit Lake Asale, which is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. You will witness (and even try) their laborious task of removing salt from the ground as hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekele. At the end of the day we return to Hamed Ila for overnight camping.
Day 9: Drive to Mekele. Today we drive from Hamed Ila to Mekele via Berehale. You will see the camel caravans along the way, carrying salt from the salt lake to Mekele for sale. Overnight night stay in Axum hotel.
Day 10: Flight back to Addis Ababa. In the morning after having a breakfast a short flight take to you back to Addis Ababa. You will arrive in Addis Ababa late afternoon and you will do some shopping for souvenirs. After a farewell dinner check-in for flight back home.
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