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Trip Report

Guided Tour in Ethiopia - The Afar Region

A 3-day tour in the Afar region, visiting some of the most unique places.

by kesitoandfroAbout Me:Ivy League grad who quit her job on Wall Street to travel the world. She has backpacked for 5+ years visiting 60+ countries read more

AfricaEthiopia2 days / October 2019

Highs & Lows

Danakil Depression

Long car rides

Itinerary Overview

You start the tour in the city of Mek'ele and then spend 3-days touring the Afar region. The main attractions are the Danakil Depression, the volcano, and the salt lake. 

I blindly booked a tour while I was in Ethiopia. Although I didn't know what was ahead of me, I was excited to be a part of an adventure. (Isn't that what traveling is about?)⁣

Backstory: A friend invited me to join them in Ethiopia. I was like, "Dope! New country! Also, they can plan everything!" Well turns out my friend "forgot" to buy their flight, so when I landed in Ethiopia at 9 pm, I was solo and had zero ideas what I wanted to do. ⁣

After a night's sleep, I decided I wanted to see the Danakil Depression after seeing a photo of it. My usual protocol is to scour TripAdvisor and blog posts, so I understand the best tours/cheapest way to get there. ⁣

But since I had limited time, I skipped my usual protocol and didn't look anything up. The next morning I headed to the airport, booked a flight to Mek'ele, and went to the first guesthouse I could find. I talked to the guy at reception and told him I wanted to go to the Danakil Depression, and he signed me up for a 3-day tour. ⁣

I didn't question why the tour was 3 days; I was just happy that I would see the Danakil Depression.⁣

The next morning I woke up and I realized I had no idea what I signed up for. What was the name of the tour group? Will there be food? Where will I sleep? Will anyone else join me? Why was it for 3 days??⁣

A driver, who spoke little English, picked me up and we started to drive. After 1.5 hours, I switched to another car that had 3 other tourists. I excitedly introduced myself and immediately asked what the plan for the day was. They told me we were on our way to a volcano...Hmm...ok. Volcanos can be cool. Let's do it! ⁣ ⁣

  • 1 Night: Erta Ale
    To see the volcano
  • 1 Night: Abala
  • Day trip: Dalol
    Danakil Depression

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    If I were to rewind, I would've only booked a 2 day tour, but I still enjoyed my time visiting the volcano. ⁣

  • How was the food?

    The food was basic on the tour.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Download some podcasts since the drives are quite long.

  • Packing tips?

    Pack sturdy shoes that you don't care about because the terrain is rouge and sharp in Dallol.

  • Any surprises?

    The volcano was underwhelming


  • The second night of the tour, I was lucky and got to stay in a hotel. Abala is a small town and the guides picked out a hotel that still had space. I can't remember the name, but it felt like a luxury compared to the previous night of camping outside the volcano.