Danakil Depression – The Hottest Place on Earth in Pictures

Danakil, Ethiopia

At first glance, Danakil Depression in Ethiopia – Eritrea border seems like an arid desert. So hot and inhospitable that nothing should live here. But on driving through we found patches of oasis inhabited by Afar people – known for their independence and ability to live in areas where nobody wants to – and geological formations so varied, so strange, and so beautiful.

First and foremost, Danakil Depression is where Erta Ale volcano and its sloshing lava pool is located.

Then there’s Dallol. Our group can’t make up their mind which between Dallol and Erta Ale was the highlight of the trip. Erta Ale gave me a glimpse of a nightmarish vision of hell. Of glowing red against pitch black.

While Dallol is where colors seem to burst forth from the ground, where you get to walk on earth the color of rust among chimneys spouting out acrid fumes of sulfur. Without the scorching heat and the rotten egg smell of sulfur, I can easily believe I was walking in a fairy-tale land where the munchkins live.

The colorful Dallol, Danakil

The walk from the jeep to Dallol was a very sweaty 15 min uphill walk. The sun was beating down our back and we were sweating as soon as got out of our jeep. It was 37 degree (99 F) out and it was only 8 in the morning! In winter! Can’t imagine what the place must be like in the middle of summer. I think your brain would fry.

At the top of the climb, when I looked down and saw what I saw and all the sticky sweat and the heat was quickly forgotten.

Dallol, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia Danakil Depression - Afar region Funny formations found in Dallol, Danakil Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

The smell of sulfur was everywhere. There were no rails, no walkways, and we had to be careful when walking as not to step on pools of boiling water.

Dallol

This fragile looking ‘flower’ is actually made up of little crystals – condensation from the fume escaping from the crack on the ground.
Fragile desert flower in Danakil

Little chimneys in Dallol

Some of you might already know, but I had an array of misadventures during my trip to Ethiopia that led me to Indonesia where I’m currently at.

(Even at this place, I didn’t seem to escape bad luck: I ran out of battery halfway through. Aaaargggh!!!)

But now that I have the advantage of hindsight, I can say that the trip to Danakil is worth every single flea bite and that one cursed dog bite.

Seriously.

I really hope you’ll make an effort to visit this place if you’re in Ethiopia. Here’s a post with some info the tour agency we went with and more.

And I hope you enjoy these pictures.

To see more pictures from Dallol and Danakil area:

12-16 Danakil Tour – day3


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20 Responses to “Danakil Depression – The Hottest Place on Earth in Pictures”

  1. keb

    The Danakil Depression, also called Dallol Depression, is a desert in North-Ethiopia that are more than 100 meters below sea level. Thank you Jack & Jill

  2. Michael Hodson

    Out of this world stuff. I think this was one of the few spots in that part of the world that I didn't manage to hit when I was over there. And I do regret it.

  3. Cat of Sunshine and

    I just keep thinking of my poor boyfriend in Somalia with the heat there now, in winter! I can't imagine how hot those countries get in the summer…I can barely take Southern Spain in May!

  4. Jo (The Blond)

    For some reason these formations (or whatever you call them) remind me of something sweet to eat…or maybe I'm just craving some chocolate :)

  5. Vinson

    Is this real? that it's name is danakil depression? that was way too weird ahaha those photos are indeed look hot by just judging on the colors and bubbles from the boiling lava.

  6. Dina

    This is seriously looking amazing! Never know Ethiopia has a place like this! (But then, I know only very little about this country)

  7. Ashley Lenzen

    I LOVE these pictures! The geothermal sites we visited in New Zealand and Yellowstone, USA are some of the most unique landscapes I've come across. And your pictures are stunning! Now I've added Danakil to my travel wishlist. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jaime

    Oh wow this looks amazing… I so wanna go one day!!! It's now on my list…

    Oh & sorry about Ethiopia being against you. Sometimes a country or city conspire to get you out. It's a horrible feeling but you did the right thing in leaving!!!

    Happy New Year!!!