Lalibela, Erta-Alé ,Dallol & Awash
Erta-Alé is a very remote and rarely visited shield volcano in the Afar region of East Africa. It is Ethiopia’s most active volcano and it has been in a state of continuous eruption since 1967…
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Extreme
- Group Size Small Group
10 Nights 11 Days : Arrive at Bole international airport and be welcomed by an EETT representative. Depending on your arrival time, you will be taken on an Addis City Tour. WE CAN CREATE A PERSONALIZED ITINERARY
Lalibela (Defined as the eighth wonder of the world) then pay a visit to the first group of rock-hewn churches. It comprises seven churches: Bette Medehanialem, Bette Mriam, Bette Meskel, Bette Denagel, Bette Debre Sina, Bette Golgota and the Silassie chapel. These groups of churches are mostly excavated from below the ground, and are surrounded by courtyards and trenches, so that they mimic normal buildings. Several of these churches are monoliths or three-quartet monoliths – free from the surrounding rock on three or four sides a style of excavation that is unique in Ethiopia.
The Danakil (Dallol) Desert is located between the Ethiopian plateau and the Red Sea. The salt plain near Dallol is the lowest part at 116 metres below sea level. In prehistoric times, the territory was in the form of a gulf. According to geologists, this is a sea bed that emerged for a brief moment in the history of the planet; the Afar depression will in fact form a future ocean with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
This geological anomaly means that the entire area is very unstable. There are numerous active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, /together with secondary manifestations such as the stupendous colours of the salt surfaces, caused by the geysers with their various different chlorides.
This inhospitable territory is home to nomadic sheep-herding Afar people. This tribe has a strong sense of its own identity and enjoys a notable degree of autonomy in its land. The Afar live from their animals, agriculture and the sale of salt that they extract from the salt lakes of the Danakil depression. The salt is loaded onto camels and sold in the markets of the highlands.
Erta Alé is a very remote and rarely visited shield volcano in the Afar region of East Africa. It is Ethiopia’s most active volcano and it has been in a state of continuous eruption since 1967. Daytime temperatures will likely be above 40 degrees Celcius and the base of the volcano actually lies below sea level and it’s summit rises up to 613 Meters. Erta Ale is known for it’s 2 pit craters which have had active lava lakes in the past.
Erta Alé has undergone seven eruption events in the past 125 years. Three of the early eruption dates, 1873, 1903, and 1904 are uncertain. However, 1906, 1940, 1960, and 1967 are well established events. Erta Ale has been erupting continuously since 1967
- Special qualified guide as well as mandatory local guide and scout fees in parks and villages
- 3*-4*star hotels in Addis Ababa and the best available hotels outside of Addis Ababa
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and music
- All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages
- All transfers and visits in Addis Ababa using mini-bus according to the itinerary
- All ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
- Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Government taxes
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Single room accommodations*
- Liquors, beeers and bootled beverages
- Laundry services and other personal expenses
- Photography ccessories like cameras etc.
- International & Domestic flight*(if not in your “by Air tour) if you do not opt for our formula: All in One (which would include all flights)
- Any other expense that is not mentioned in the prices section included
- Day1 Addis - Kombolcha
Driving to Kombolcha via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market.
- Day2 Drive to Lalibela
You have a full day driving through stunning countryside, to Lalibela, but there is little traffic and we can stop and take in the epic landscape which we’re passing through.
- Day3 Lalibela
The short flight to Lalibela transects amazing rust colored canyons and high jagged peaks. At over 8,500 feet the small town of Lalibela is situated high in the Lasta Mountains. Even though Lalibela has been a destination for travelers and pilgrims since the 16th century, the town is remarkably undeveloped. The day is spent exploring the ancient city and its many rock-hewn churches. Lalibela is arguably one of the most important religious and historical sites in Africa, and certainly in the entire Christian world. Although it is not widely known in the west,
Ethiopia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion and, due to Ethiopia’s becoming Christian long before the Catholic church was born or instigated the structure we recognize today, the roots of Ethiopian Orthodox religious practices are as recognizably Jewish as they are Christian. The Lalibela churches are said to have been constructed during King Lalibela’s reign in the 12th and 13th centuries when Lalibela (then known as Roha) was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Legend has it that King Lalibela was exiled in Jerusalem and returned to Ethiopia to build a New Jerusalem. There are many theories as to how these architecturally very advanced churches were built, and by whom, including angels and the Knights de Templars. Thanks to UNESCO, the main road to Lalibela has been paved, and in recent years Lalibela finally received electricity. Water shortages are an almost daily occurrence and the hotels ration water.
- Day4 Drive to Mekele
Driving to Mekel via Woldia. On the way you will stop for a rest in Hayk where you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake, visit the local monastery (open for men only)
- Day5 Mekele-Afdera (Danakil)
After breakfast drive Drive into the Afdera (Danakil – Afrera salt lake). We leave the main road and continue on an unpaved 4×4 road northwards into the Danakil. The trip leads through rugged moon-landscapes, characterized by volcanic rifts and faults, young black lava flows and gravel desert. After about four hours driving, we reach the flat, salt-covered Danakil depression at the salty lake Afrera by afternoon. There will be time to visit the interesting salines, where pure salt is being produced
- Day6 Afdera - Erta Alé
Afdera Drive to Dodom village (base of Erta Ale). If you are interested, you could join a group of salt workers in the early morning and watch the interesting technique to gain salt from the lake. We then pick up Afar policemen and an Afar guide, then drive though the flat salt and lava desert to the Afar village of Dodom and set camp at the base of Erta Ale volcano. We will start the relatively easy ascend (ca. 10 km, 500 m climbing, ca. 3 hrs) along–the flat flank of Erta Ale’s–shield volcano, while the–camel caravan carries our–luggage and the equipment.–The gently climbing hike–itself follows interesting–lava formations (pahoehoe–lava fields, lava tubes,–hornitos, sand deposits and–rare vegetation) until we–stand on the rim of the–caldera. An easy descend–brings us to the floor of the–caldera and after 10–minutes, we stand on the–active pit crater containing the boiling Lava lake.
- Day7 Erta Alé - Ahmed Ela - Dallol
Erta Alé – Ahmed Ela (Transfer to–Lake Assale – salt caravans). Sometimes difficult 4×4 drive through the desert northwards to the large, mostly dry salt lake near Ahmed Ela is our goal of the day . In the afternoon and evening we can watch the endless camel caravans coming and going: arriving empty they are met by the ones leaving packed full with precious salt blocks. After nightfall, we can assist the procedure of assigning Walt cutters (the focolo) to the camel owners (the Arho).
Ahmed Ela – DALLOL volcano–Ahmed Ela. Aexplore the fascinating volcano of DALLOL- a volcano hidden under kilometer thick deposit of salt. The volcano marks its presence by the up doming of the salt and hundreds of fumaroles and hot springs in all colors. We can visit the remains of a ghost town, almost entirely built in salt, at DALLOL, where miners lived in the 1930s to extract potash from the DALLOL area. The town is the hottest inhabited place on earth.
- Day 8 Ahmed Ela - Semera
Ahmed Ela – Mekele. (Salt–caravans – salt cutting and–loading – transfer to the–highlands). In the morning, we watch thousands of camels leaving for the salt cutting area. We then drive to the lake and watch the salt cutters and salt shapers at work, following a century-old established order. By the time we leave in the late morning, the first camels are being loaded and the cycle is repeated. For us, it’s time to leave the desert. Our way out follows along a spectacular canyon into the highlands. At a small, clear waterfall, we stop forlunch, to bath and clean the cars from the salt. In the late afternoon, we should already be back on the highland plateau where we stay the night in a small lively town, and enjoy the first cold beer after more than a week!.
Overnight: stay at Erta Ale Motel.
- Day 9 Drive to Awash
Will spend–most of the rest of the day driving slowly to the Awash National–Park. As you cross flat, dry farmlands there–is little of scenic interest, but the roadside birds are in plenty:–Augur Buzzards, Long-crested Eagles, Northern Carmine Bee-–eaters, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned .
- Day 11 Return Addis Ababa
Drive back to Addis Ababa from Awash National Park is 215km. Driving on towards Meta Hara, you will cross Lake Beseka on a road that seems to hover just above the water. Look for great white pelicans, marabou storks and yellow-billed storks on its shores. On the way you can stop in Sodere to take a shower in the therapeutic hot springs waters.
In the evening before departure, you will be invited a farewell dinner party at one of the best traditional restaurants in Addis where you taste variety of Ethiopian meals, and watch the folkloric dancers of the Ethiopian people.
End of Service and Departure
In recent years, the level of comfort and services of the Ethiopian accommodation has improved significantly. You will stay in the accommodations selected by our local advisors based on the criteria of location and comfort.
We are working with different hotels and lodges to continue improving the quality services demanded by our visitors.
According to your itinerary you will stay in one of these hotels or lodges / or similar :
– Abay Minch Lodge
– Abay Minch Lodge
– Haile Resort
– Taye Belay
– Lal hotel
– Panaromic (Amde)
– Haile Resort
– Lewi Resort
– Haile Resort
– Sabean hotel
– Yared Zema hotel
– Atse Yohanes Hotel
– Harar Ras Hotel
Afar : Camping
Hamer (Turmi) Jinka :
– Jinka Resort
– Kanta Lodge
– Korebta Lodge
Your opinion and comments help us to continue improving our accomodation services.
Between September and February the main dry season of the year takes place. In March and April the rains are present, they are interrupted in May and they return in June, July and August. Ethiopia has a wide variety of climates, from the occasional snow in the mountain peaks of Bale to the very high daytime temperatures of the Danakil desert, that can reach 50 ° C. Normally, the central highlands have an average temperature of 16 ° C. The east and the south have a drier and warmer climate, being able to reach 28 ° C. The western plains have a more humid and hot climate. In August, there may be heavy showers in the afternoon, so it is advisable to bring a water layer or similar.
To travel to Ethiopia you need a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months. All visitors require an entry visa. For citizens of the European Union the visa is processed upon arrival at the Addis Ababa airport and costs $ 50 USD or 43 euros per person. Since June 2018 it is possible to make the electronic visa on this website: www.evisa.gov.et
Ethiopia is a high risk destination in terms of sanitary conditions. According to the source, the vaccine against yellow fever is mandatory (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or recommended (Ministry of Health). In addition, the recommended vaccines for a trip to Ethiopia are: Tetanus, Meningitis, Cholera, Typhus and Hepatitis A and B. There is also a risk of malaria in areas less than 2,000 meters above sea level.
The capital, however, is free of this risk. For more information on health and vaccines, we advise you to visit the website of the Ministry of Health (from your country of origin). It is recommended to bring a kit with analgesics, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-diarrheals , antiseptics, sun protection, insect repellents, soothing lotions against stings and cures material. Do not drink tap water or take food without cooking. Keep in mind that in the wet season there are mosquitoes, although they do not produce excessive discomfort, at least compared to other places in Africa. That’s because of the cool temperature of Ethiopia. In any case, most hotels provide mosquito nets. In the churches, the floor is covered with carpets and they usually have fleas, especially in those of Lalibela. It is advisable to always carry some socks in the backpack because it is mandatory to take off when entering and insect repellent.
It is recommended not to bathe in swamps or lakes because there is a risk of getting Bilarziasis. Lake Langano is the only one where this precaution is not necessary. It is advisable to travel with medical insurance.
Lightweight cotton clothing, short sleeve shirts and long sleeves, fleece lining or some similar warm clothing, comfortable and resistant shoes, sunglasses, hat and some rain coat.
It is convenient to take all the necessary photographic material from the country of origin since it is not safe to find it in the country and if it is found more expensive, as well as provide spare batteries. There are continuous blackouts of light and in the most remote areas of the country and sometimes in large cities.
The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. As a highland country, Ethiopia has a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator. Most of the country’s major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000 – 2,500 metres (6,600 – 8,200 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum, and Addis Ababa – the highest capital city in Africa at 2,400 meters (8,000 feet).
Ethiopia has three different climate zones according to elevation:
* Kolla (Tropical zone) – is below 1830 meters in elevation and has an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius with annual rainfall about 510 millimeters. The Danakil Depression (Danakil Desert) is about 125 meters below sea level and the hottest region in Ethiopia where the temperature climbs up to 50 degree Celsius.
* Woina dega (Subtropical zone) – includes the highlands areas of 1830 – 2440 meters in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimeters.
* Dega (Cool zone) – is above 2440 meters in elevation with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 1270 and 1280 millimeters.
The average annual temperature in Addis Ababa is 16°C (61°F), with daily maximum temperatures averaging 20 – 25°C (68 – 77°F) throughout the year, and overnight lows averaging 5 – 10°C (41 – 50°F). A light jacket is recommended for the evenings, though many Ethiopians prefer to dress conservatively and will wear a light jacket even during the day.
The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are five different coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents.
Currency regulations: There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the airport before departure, but you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.
You can find mobile and internet coverage in most of the country but it works quite badly. To call Ethiopia from abroad, dial 00-251 plus subscriber number. To communicate from Ethiopia with the rest of the world it is necessary to dial 00 + the area code + the telephone number.
The Ethiopian time is GMT +3 (one hour + in summer time and 2 + in winter time). They have a different way of measuring time. They have 12-hour periods that start at 6:00 and 6:00 p.m. At dawn it is hour 0 in the morning and at sunset it is 0 in the afternoon. Therefore the Ethiopian time has a lag of 6 hours compared to ours. Thus, given an hour in the Ethiopian system it is enough to only subtract 6 to obtain our time. In many places, especially at the official level or for plane flights, they work with the international system, but at the level of the local population, they usually work with the Ethiopian system. This is especially important with bus schedules, because if they tell us, for example, that a bus leaves at 11:30 h. Normally they will mean that it leaves at 5:30 h. (international time) If there is any doubt, it is always necessary to clarify if the time they give us is ethiopian time (Ethiopian time) or faranji time (foreign time). The custom in Ethiopia is to wake up very early, have breakfast around 6 in the morning, eat at 12 and about 6 in the evening, dinner and go to sleep. (Dinner between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm).
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which has 12 months of 30 days and 1mes more than 5 days (6 days in leap year). The New Year begins on September 11. There are 7 years and 8 months less than in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore the Ethiopian calendar consists of 13 months (the country’s tourism motto was, until recently: Ethiopia, 13 months of sunshine, was updated by: Ethiopia Land of Origins).
* The official language is Amharic, English, Italian, Harari, Oromiña, Sidama, Tigrinya, Somali and about a hundred other ethnic languages are also spoken.
* Electric current operates at 220 volts at 50 Hz. It is not necessary to use an adapter.
Compared to other surrounding countries, Ethiopia is an oasis of tranquility for the traveler. It is safe to travel almost the entire country by public transport and, except for the inconvenience of being the object of persecution of groups of children asking for a birr, you do not have to take special precautions.
Basic safety rules for travelers
* Dont walk on your own at night in Addis Ababa and other major tourist towns.
* Watch out for pickpockets at the Mercato in Addis Ababa
* Don’t wear jewelry. Don’t carry too much cash with you.
* Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
* Avoid travel at night because roads are perilously filled with potholes, livestock, and broken down vehicles.
It is not advisable to travel to border areas with Eritrea and Somalia. The land border crossings are Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti may present difficulties. It is advisable to inform yourself in advance.