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Dallol & Irta’Ale Volcano — 9-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival at Bole International Airport. You will be greeted by a Lungo Local Tour Ethiopia guide and driver. They will transfer you to your hotel. 

If you arrive early enough, we will provide a city tour of Addis Ababa; including the panoramic view point from Entoto Mountain, the mercato (said to be Africa’s largest market of its kind) and the National Museum (home of Lucy, hominid skeleton dating back 3.2 million years) and the Ethnological Museum.

In the evening, we will have a traditional Ethiopian dinner with a cultural music and dance show. Overnight at hotel in Addis Ababa.

Day 2

In the morning, we will start the 230 km drive south of Addis Ababa into the Rift Valley. We will pass through the towns of Debre Zeyit and Nazret to visit Awash National Park. The park offers volcanic landscapes and savannah grassland habitat for a variety of bird species.

In the late afternoon, we will explore the park. It is home to mammals such as the Oryx, Lesser Kudu, Hammadryas and Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkey, Dick-dick and more. Overnight at hotel in Awash town or a lodge in the park.

Day 3

After breakfast, we start the drive to Lake Afdera. Once we cross the Awash River bridge, we come to a major junction. Straight ahead the road goes to Dire Dawa and Harar. We will turn left toward Djibouti and the Red Sea.  We will travel though the Rift Valley and pass through the land of the Afar people. 

We will have  lunch in Semera. Here, we will also process our entrance permits and pick up the policemen and road guides who will accompany us into the Afar depression. Overnight camping or hotel at Lake Afdera.

Day 4

We drive to Kusrewad base camp. Here we arrange the camels to carry our gear and for anyone who wishes to ride. In the late afternoon, we start the approximately three-hour trek to Irta’Ale (613 meters). The volcano’s summit has one of the few permanent lava lakes in the world. Overnight camp.

Day 5

By 9:00, we should be back at the base of Irta’Ale. After breakfast, we will begin the drive to the village/camp of Hamedela via Kusrewad. It will be a challenging drive. We may get stuck in the sand and/or encounter inhospitable weather. It is important to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water. Overnight camp at Hamedela.

Day 6

We will drive to Dallol. At 116 meters below sea level, it is one of the lowest places in the world. We will watch salt being mined; follow the camel caravans carrying the salt; and walk with the Afar people. We then return to Hamedela for another overnight camp.

Day 7

We drive to Mekele via the town of Berhale. From the riverbed, we will ascend all the way to the Tigray highlands. We will most likely see camel caravans and stop for photos of the Danakil Depression. Overnight in Mekele.

Day 8

We drive to Kombolcha through beautiful mountain scenery via Alamata. On the way, we will visit the villages of the Agaw and Amhara people. We will stop at the Hayk Estefanos Monastery, one of the most historical and influential in Ethiopia. Overnight in Kombolcha.

Day 9

We return to Addis via Kemise and Senbete, the local towns where Amhara, Oromo and Afar people get together on market days. 

We will also explore the underground tunnels of the Debre Sina Mountains and stop at Tarmaber view point to locate the endemic Ankober Serin, Brown-rumped Seedeater, Stripe-breasted Seedeater and Yellow-crowned Canary. 

We will have an afternoon/evening farewell party with cultural dinner—a traditional special buffet with local drinks. Afterwards, we will transfer you to Bole International Airport for your departure.