The expedition starts and ends in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia´s capital. International flights to and from Ethiopia are not included as default, but feel free to contact us if you would like any assistance with finding the best flight connections for you.
The walks on this tour are not particularly difficult, but you should have experience with hiking on uneven and rugged terrain. Although we organise our Danakil during the cooler months of the year, temperatures in the Danakil depression usually range between 35-40 deg C (95-105 deg F), but can easily soar up to 45-50 deg C (120-130 deg F) in the hottest hours near Dallol.
The hike to / from Erta Ale´s summit area and caldera rim from base camp and back requires about 10 km trekking over uneven, but relatively easy and gently climbing terrain (about 500 m altitude gain / descend) and is done in the early morning hours prior to sunrise in order to minimize the impact of heat. To approach the edge of the lava lake and other parts of the caldera one needs to walk across the uneven, easy to moderately difficult to walk on platy, ropy or hollow pahoehoe lava flows. Good boots, long pants and gloves are a must. Extra care must be taken when walking over the lava tubes as the thin, glassy crusts of the hardened lava sometimes break so that you suddenly sink up to max halve meter into the hollow cavity below. Walking sticks to "test" the terrain and keep balance are recommended.
Sanitary conditions during most part of this expedition will be very to extremely basic and you should therefore be in excellent overall health. No proper washing facilities are available while in the desert (approx. 7 days). Unfortunately, the local toilet habits in the Afar region and in particular around the salt lakes and atop the volcano is to do your business more or less anywhere; the area around Ahmed Ela (the salt-cutters'town near Dallol) is littered with garbage and human and animal excrement, resulting in a high rate of stomach bugs / traveler´s disease among visitors to the region.
We therefore ask you to consult a medical doctor about going to the Danakil prior to joining the expedition. One should particularly take precautions / medicine against dehydration, diarrhea and stomach infections.