Day 1 in the Land of the Devil

We are so excited today, our trip towards the Danakil depression is starting (check our itinerary here). Finally we could see one of the most spectacular and inhospitable regions of the world, full of eye catching colors, active vulcans, lunar landscape, sulphur springs and nonetheless the tough ethnic group of Afar people, the only one that can survive facing these extreme conditions.

Road to Afdera, Ethiopia
Road to Afdera, Ethiopia

Here the desert has several points lying more than 100 meters below sea level and it is the hottest place year – round on the planet and currently holds the record high average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth. After leaving Logya, a small town at the border of the Afar region, we get in the afternoon to the village of Afdera, where the Danakil Depression can be said to “begin” here (Do you want to read more about Danakil depression?See our posts about Dallol and the salt flat or Erta Ela and Ahmad Ela). The road from Logya to Afdera lines a desertic landscape where we meet just some trucks carrying salt. While we pass by the shore of the lake it is plenty of big salt pits and some huts where the local workers live.

Lake Afrera view, Ethiopia
Lake Afrera view, Ethiopia

Afdera is just a small village with a few poor sheet metal houses where the many salt workers spend the night before going back to work along the shore of the lake. We immediately head to the mythical Afrera Lake (or lake Giulietti), a volcanic salt water lake located more than 100 meters below sea level, fed by underground streams in one of the deepest depressions of the planet. The name ”Giulietti” was given by the italian explorer Ludovico M. Nesbitt who crossed the whole Danakil depression in 1928, in memory of another Italian explorer, Giuseppe Maria Giulietti, who was killed by Afar southwest of the lake. This is a very picturesque landscape and it is interesting to visit the salt pits where the Afar people obtain the salt by evaporating the water of the lake.

Afrera salt flat, Danakil Depression
Afrera salt flat, Danakil Depression

Set up the tents on the shore, we go to the hot springs just beside the lake: here you can have a swim in this hot water that flows from the ground over the rocks. Night is coming up , it’s the time to cook and have a nap, tomorrow it will be a tiring day: we’ll meet the legendary volcano Erta Ale!

Hot Spring, Lake Afrera
Hot Spring, Lake Afrera

 

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