Tourism Ireland

Staying Safe in the Danakil Depression

by Benjamin Kerns

Mar 21, 2019

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia © Marek Poplawski | Dreamstime

Tips / Destination

The Danakil Depression has been described as hell on Earth. Considered the hottest place on the planet, the nightmare conditions of the Depression led to some incredibly fascinating formations. If you can withstand the climate, it offers a unique adventure few have ever seen.


The Depression is located in the remote, northern Afar region of Ethiopia. Trips through the tour can take days with little to no road access in many parts of the region. When exploring the Danakil Depression it’s best to join one of the local tours, both for your safety and to help boost the economy. It turns out even the gateway to hell has some folks willing to live there. While they’re not inhospitable, so to speak, they also don’t have a reputation for being particularly friendly.


Many locals in the Depression eek out a meager living and survive on scraps, or by traveling into towns for supplies. When enjoying a tour in the area, you’ll hop from unique formation to formation, also exploring the main volcano at Erta Ale basecamp, little more than a rickety shack set up in a large ditch. The depression is entirely desert, so expect to see long stretches of salt flats and miles of sand along the way. At the Dallol volcano crater, you’ll find one of the Depression’s most incredible sites — the sulfuric acid pools. These hydrothermal pools are constantly shifting color, from green and yellow to orange and red.

If you’re still interested in discovering the Danakil Depression, check out the tour offered through Ethio Travel and Tours.



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