19 Day Danakil Depression & Northern Historical Ethiopian Itinerary

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19 Day Danakil Depression & Northern Historical Ethiopian Itinerary

Lungo Local Tour Ethiopia

Summary: northern historical attractions

Duration: 19 days 18 nights

Day 1    Addis Ababa – Finote Selam 

We drive north 378km via Gulele, Chancho and detour to visit Debre Libanos Monastery and Waterfalls. Lunch at Ethio-German Park Hotel. Drive via Jimma Valley Gorge, Dejen and Debre Markos to Finote Selam.
Overnight in Finote Selam.

Day 2.    Finote Selam – Bahir Dar
We drive northwest 173km via Injibara, Dangla, Meshenti into Bahir Dar. Here we take a boat excursion to visit island monasteries:  Bete Selassie,  Tekla Haimanot, Dega Estefanos, Debre Maryam, Tana Cherkos, Kebran Gabriel, Ura Kidane Meret, Bete Maryam, Narga Selassie, Azuwa Maryam, Entos Eyesu and the Zeghie Satekela Museum. Overnight  Bahir Dar.

Day 3      Bahir Dar – Gondar
We drive 176km north via Wereta, Azezo into Gondar, where we visit Fasiladas’ Palace, Palace of Iyasu I, other Southern Buildings, Northern Buildings and  Atatami Mikael Church. Overnight Gondar.

Day 4.    Gondar – Debark
We drive 104km north via Amba Giorgis, Gedebge into Debark, where purchase entrance tickets for our visit to the Simien Mountains National Park. Overnight  Debark.

Day 5.    Debark – Aksum:
We drive 251km north via Chew Ber, May Tsemre, Tekeze River, Inda Aba Guna, Shire and Wkro into Aksum. Overnight Aksum.

Day 6.    Aksum:
Northern Stelae, St Mary of Zion Churches, Tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel, Gobodura Hill, Abba Pentalewon, Dungur (Queen of Sheba) Palace. Overnight Aksum.

Day 7      Aksum – Hawzen:
We drive 167km southeast via Adwa into Hawzen to visit Gheralta Cluster excursions. Overnight Gheralta.

Day 8.     Gheralta – Mek’ele:
We drive west into Freweyni to visit Adi Kasho Medhane Alem. Then south via Negash into Wukro to visit Wukro Chirkos before continuing to Mek’ele. Overnight Mek’ele

Day 9.     Mek’ele – Hamd Ela:
The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, but is nonetheless spectacular, full of eye-catching colors, such as those in the sulphur springs. The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level. You pass through a small town of Berhale where the camel caravan stop before they proceed to the northern highlands. Enroute you see many long camel caravans coming to the salt mine and others going out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels (3-4 hrs drive). Overnight camping at Hamd Ela.

Day 10.    Hamd Ela – Dodom:
Start early drive to Dodom (at the base of Erta Ale). Leave after an early breakfast, possible at 06:30. This is may be one of the worst roads in the world. The 80 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm lined oasis. After you pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land.

Dodom is about 17km from Erta Ale and it takes about 3 hrs trekking. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hours. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava.

Erta Ale ranks as one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake.

Overnight camping on the top of the mountain, Erta Ale is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century.

Day 11.     Dodom – Hamd Ela:
We leave to return to Dodom after an early breakfast, if possible at 07:00. We should return to our former camp by 10:30 to have time to relax. Afterwards, we drive to  Hamd Ela, a village with a total population of about 500 people. Overnight camping at Hamd Ela.

Day 12.     Hamd Ela – Dallol – Hamd Ela:
We drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the locals mine salt. They break the salt from the ground and then cut it into rectangular pieces, which are loaded onto camels.

We then drive ahead to Dallol (at 116 meters below sea level, it is one of the lowest places in the world). We will see the different landscapes. If we are lucky, we will be able follow a camel caravan and walk with the Afar people. Overnight camping in Hamd Ela.

Day 13.     Hamd Ela – Mek’ele:
We will see dramatic outcrops of the Mesozoic sediment as we drive via Berhaile into Mek’ele. Overnight Mek’ele.

Day 14.     Mek’ele:
We walk to visit Mek’ele Market, Yohannes IV Museum and other sightseeing. Overnight Mek’ele.

Day 15.     Mek’ele – Weldiya
We drive southwest 268km via May Keyih, Ambalage, Maychew, Korem, Alamata, Weldiya for a walking tour. Overnight Weldiya.

Day 16.     Weldiya – Lalibela:
We drive Northwest 170km via Gashma into Lalibela. Here, we will visit the world-famous Rock-Hewn Churchs of Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Gedamit Maryam, and Monastery of Yemrehanna Kirstos and Sarsana Mikael. Overnight Lalibela

Day 17.     Lalibela:
Trek Asheton Maryam & Mount Abuna Yoseph, afternoon finalize Lalibela’s Rock-Hewn Churches. Overnight Lalibela

Day 18.     Lalibela – Kombolcha:

We drive south 310km via Weldiya, Mersa, Hayk, Dessie into Kombolcha.
Overnight Kombolcha

Day 19.     Kombolcha – Addis Ababa:
We drive south 364km via Debre Birhan into Addis Ababa. Overnight Addis Ababa



Posted on

June 4, 2019