This extraordinary part of Ethiopia is something for fairly hardy travellers only: it is the hottest place on Earh when it comes to average, year-round temperatures and also one of the lowest, on average 100- 125 meters below sea level. It is a plain, meashring about 200 x 50km in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia. For most of the year, there is no rainfall. People are attracted to the Danakil Depression - to which visits are almost expedition level in terms of preparation - because of a range of striking, geological features. One of these is Ertale (Erta Ale), among the world's most active volcanoes which has a permanent molten lava lake. There are also the almost psychedelically coloured sulphure springs of the Dallol hydrothermal system. Because of extreme temperatures the area is suitable for visiting only from September to March. There are no hotels, so we arrange fully equipped camping. For safety reasons, visitors are accompanied by armed guards, in addition to local Afar scouts, camp staff and a cook. The hikes up Erta Ale are done at night so as to avoid the high daytime temperatures and intense sun.
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