Ethiopia tour, Danakil Depression

“A ten day, adventurous small group tour, starting in Djibouti to see the great Danakil Depression and Lake Assal, and ending in Addis Ababa, exploring through desert, great lakes and volcanoes. Trekking, camping all part of the adventure. ”


Djibouti: Djibouti City | Moucha and Maskali Islands | Snorkelling | Boat trip to Tadjoura | Foret du Day National Park| Lake Abbe | Lake Assal | Ardoukôba Volcano Ethiopia: Danakil Desert and Depression | Lake Afrera | Dallol | Trek to the top Erta Ale volcano | High desert landscapes of Tigray | Mekele

Description of Ethiopia tour, Danakil Depression

This Ethiopia and Djibouti tour is a small group adventure holiday starting on the stunning and most underrated coast of Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. We spend four and a half days in this beautiful country taking in some of its contrasting landscapes, snorkelling around the Moucha and Maskali Islands, walking around the Foret du Day National Park and enjoying sunrise over the unique landscapes around Lake Abbe.

Travelling by private 4WD or minibus we cross the border into Ethiopia on day five of the trip and start to take in the magnificence of the Danakil Desert and famous Depression. This dramatic region is one of the lowest at 120m below sea level. Ethiopia is a land of extremes, however, and so you also get a chance to hike up to the top of Erta Ale active volcano at 613 m to take in its ever changing lava flows and lake below, as well as travel through Dallol with its geysers and hot springs.

On this trip we camp for seven nights in some magnificent locations, such as on the shores of saline Lake Afrera and on the crater rim of Erta Ale volcano. We follow the route of the Salt Caravans of old, exploring the Tigray Highlands and the town of Mekele, before flying back to the capital Addis Ababa at the end of this two week adventure.

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700


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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ethiopia tour, Danakil Depression


We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on rural cultures and fragile environments in Ethiopia. We realise that taking clients through such a region can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive… after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring.

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some delicate ecosystems.

Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and we have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the fragile eco-structure of the land is not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our guides are trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas. This is particuarly important and we will take extra care on nights we'll be camping such as on day 4 when we will camp on the shores of Lake Afrera and we'll ensure that the site is left site tidier than it was before we arrived.

When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.

We also support several other NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, Tibetan schools trust and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.


Life for the majority of Ethiopia’s 73 million people is harsh, even by the standards of Africa’s poorest nations. The average Ethiopian person earns less than $100 per year and will not live beyond 44 years of age. North Wollo is amongst the poorest areas of the country, depending largely on rain fed subsistence agriculture. One of our guides Mark established TESFA - a local charity organisation that was set up in 2003 with the specific aim of developing community-based tourism in Ethiopia WITH communities.

On this trip in particular we will embark on an incredibly rewarding 3 day TESFA village walk where we will spend 3 nights with local communities in conjunction with the charity.

By putting communities in charge of their own tourism resources, payment goes directly into the communities - 60% for the communities, 25% to a local guides service (that also transmits bookings to the communities), and 15% to cover administrative costs. After the communities have paid their staffing costs and for the consumables (food, toiletpaper, soap etc) the remainder is split between profit and a fund to allow for reinvestment and depreciation. The profit is then put into a community fund for the whole community to decide how it should be spent, such as the purchase of a community grain grinding mill.

This trip to Ethiopia funds A-Cet (African Childrens Education Trust) a small independent charity helping young Africans to achieve their maximum potential through education. A-Cet supports 1.000 youths with scholarships, 2 rural primary schools and 2 computer training centres.

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