Located at 160m below see level the Danakil Depression is the lowest place on earth. It is that home of the Afar people, who go here to mine salt from the grounds. Caravans go from Afar to Mekele, the nearest larger town, where 5 kg blocks of salt are sold for 22 Ehtiopian Birr, the equivalent of just one American dollar. This area is the warmest and one of the most hostile environments anywhere in the world.
A night in September (2014) I went to the Lava Lake at Ert Ale (smokey mountain). The following I had the chance to see the salt lake, the sulphur lake, the oil lake and the salt miners of the Danakil. These are incredible sights.
By the Lava Lake on Ert Ale at midnight
The lava lake on top of this erupting volcano: wathing a volcano erupt “live”.
There was a thunder storm with lightings so frequent that you could see just take a photo at a random point in time and have a good chance of cathcing a lightning
When We started climbing there was still a storm. Lightings were so frequent that one could easily get a picture
On the way up to Ert Ale you have a break at these huts that don’t do much besides providing shadow.
On the way to the Ert Ale – The scenery is flat and made up of volcanic rock.
On the way back down from Ert Ale – and waterfalls:
On the way down the Ert Ale after slepping on top of the mountain we had this sunrise
The Salt lake:
Sunset at Saltlake with my friend Birhan
The surface was entirely hard
salt lake by sunset
The salt lake in the Danakil Desert is incredible; on a wide stretch everything is completely white.
The Sulphur Lake:
It was 34 degrees celsius at this time but it gets above 50 during the day in the hot season. At this time the whole area is active.
The sulphur lake looks like something from a different planet. Everything is yellow, green, blue, red.
A closer view of the suphur crystals.
The Salt Mountain, The Oil Lake and Salt Miners:
These salt miners work in 40-50 degrees to chop of 5 kg blocks of salt and sell them for 22 birr (1 dollar) a piece.
The Oil Lake was about 60 degrees warm so you could put your hands in it and be surprise: it really is oil and not colored water. The consistency is litterally like oliveoil. I can’t recommend tasting it, it burns quite badly.
Salt mountains – looks gothic.
One could break off pieces of the salt mountain and eat it