Danakil & Gherealta expedition

Danakil Trip

2 days and 1 night
It’s located in North East Ethiopia, in the Afar department. Danakil Depression is known for the ‘hottest place on

12-03-2017 Hits:23741 Tour Package

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Danakil and Gheralta


8 Nights and 9 Days

These journeys pass through the scenic Ethiopian highlands and leads to the historical sites of the country in the north. The trip covers the Danakil Depression, which is quite colorful and adventurous which became to be known as ANOTHER PLANET; Gheralta Ranges, known for its landscape and historic churches hidden in mountain caves.

Tour – Denakil Depression and Gheralta

Duration – 8 nights and 9 days

Transportation: Drive and flight

Accommodation - 4* Hotel in Addis Ababa, 3* hotels and camping outside of Addis Ababa

  • Tour Overview
day 01


day 02


You are met on arrival and escorted to your hotel. After a break, take a city tour of Addis Ababa. Situated where the Great Rift Valley crosses Ethiopia’s mountain range at more than 7,000 feet above sea-level, Addis Ababa is a large sprawling city with a population of more than five million people. visit the National Museum. It is home to the skeleton of Selam, who like Lucy, is an Australopithecus afarensis. Often nicknamed Lucy’s baby, Selam actually lived nearly 150,000 years before Lucy. Continue on to the Ethnographic Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, located in a palace of former Emperor Haile Selassie. See precious pieces of Ethiopian Christian art.

Also, visit Entoto Mountain, the site from which Addis Ababa’s founder, Menelik, descended down to the plains. Visit the two churches he built and his palace, which displays 19th-century royal attire, weaponry, furniture, and intricately designed crosses made with precious metals. Also enjoy expansive views of the city and the Entoto Mountain Range. Finally, have a brief tour of craft shops along Churchill Road before returning to the hotel.

O/N Capital Spa and Hotel(www.capitalhotelandspa.com)

day 03


Be welcomed by your driver on arrival at the airport and drive from Mekelle to Barehale, where you will rest under the shade, while our guide pays the entrance fees for Erta ale and Dallol, and arranges for the local guide and Afari scouts. After completing all the logistics, continue to drive to Ahmad ‘ela; on the way you will admire and appreciate the culture of Afari societies. Drive to Ahmad ‘ela along unmarked sandy tracks. Ahmad ‘ela is the base to explore the salt lake, its workers and the camel caravans that take the salt tablets to market.

O/N Camping

day 04


Drive from Afdera to Dodom. At Dodom we will hire mules to transport your luggage and camping gear and then you will start walking to Erta Ale, admiring the volcanic landscape and the dry lava around Crater Lake. Then we travel by camel to the Erta Ale Volcanic hills (613 meters above sea level) which is 15kms one way. You arrive at Erta Ale around midnight and trek to its rim to view the volcanic eruption and its lava lake. After shooting photos of this spectacular site, we will camp at the volcano base.

O/N Camping

day 05


Early in the morning drive to Ahmad ’ela along unmarked sandy tracks. Ahmedela is the base to explore the salt mines, salt workers and camel caravans.

O/N Camping

day 06


Visit the Dallol area, salt mining and camel caravans. After an early breakfast, drive to Lake Asale. Here you will observe salt cutting, shaping and then loading onto the endless camel caravans. Then proceed to Dallol and enjoy the spectacular view of this strange and wonderful terrain and colorful hot springs. These hot springs are composed of different minerals along with sulfurs and potash and create spectacular colors. Then later in the afternoon, drive to Mekelle and en route Atsbi to visit Michael Imba. This church is almost a monolith and three of its walls are completely free of the cliff out of which it is carved. The interior decoration of the church is impressive. It is described as "an artistically finished church". The church's ceiling, like that of Wukro Cherkos, is geometrically patterned. Stepped capitals and a large Greek cross hewn in relief on the ceiling can also be seen. The walls have many carvings and the wooden doors are beautifully decorated. There are nine freestanding and sixteen pillars in relief. Mikael Imba is one of the painstakingly carved and complex churches of Tigrai. Mikael Imba is also one of the wealthiest churches in terms of treasures and manuscripts.

O/N Gheralta Lodge(www.gheraltalodgetigrai.com)

day 07


Hawzien has a 3,000 year history. It was originally an old trading centre but today the area is exclusively agricultural. Many ruins in the area still bear testimony to the day in 1988 when the dictator Mengistu wanted to punish rebel fighters and 2,500 people died under an air attack which dropped napalm bombs. Morning drive to Abune Yemata, one of the best known of the “Rock Churches“ in the Gheralta Range with colorful paintings of the new and old testament. Climbing up to the church takes 40 minutes and the view is breathtaking. The church is dated to the late Axumite period around 7th - 8th century AD and the ceiling is decorated with painted domes of saints. Ascending and descending is an adventure by itself.

After descending from Abune Yemata, we drive to Debre Tsion. It is about 40 minutes’ walk from the escarpment. It is a monastic cliff church carved in to a rusty sandstone face. It has an impressive and unusually symbolic exterior. The interior of the church is lovely decorated. The back walls of the holy of holies, the domes and wall panels are abundantly decorated with fine painting of saints and Apostles. Especially the dome is beautifully adorned with patterns. Because of the simplicity of the lines and colors, the paintings are estimated to be of the 15th century although the church officials prefer to date it, in the 14th century. A 15th century unique circular ceremonial fan (one meter in diameter) with wooden framework makes the visit to this church special. Each of its 34 panels is finely painted with figures of Apostles. Its walls are decorated with many geometrical designs and carvings in relief depicting Angels and Saints. It is indeed a manifestation of the great stone workmanship that was common in the whole of Tigrai both at that time and before.

O/N Gheralta Lodge(www.gheraltalodgetigrai.com)

day 08


Morning drive to Medhane Alem (Saviour of the world). The church can be reached through a combination of asphalt and dirt roads through Freweyni via Hawzein. To access the church you climb a slope of exposed sandstone. It is covered with potholes which local people believe to be the hoof prints of St. George’s horse. This church is one of Tigrai’s oldest and finest rock-hewn churches. Its exterior and interior walls are roughly hewn, which only makes the elaborately carved coffered ceiling much more special. It is quite possibly the oldest rock-hewn church in Tigrai, or anywhere in Ethiopia.

The next visit will be at Petros Paulos church. It is situated in the same locality as Medhane Alem Adi Kesho. A ten minutes’ drive across fields brings you to this antiquity, which is visible from the main road because of its white-washed façade. It is on the top of a bluff, reached by carefully climbing a rickety ladder and platforms placed against the cliff side. The architecture of this church is not very impressive. It does, however, boast some fascinatingly primitive paintings. On the walls and on the chamber antecedent to the Holy of Holies a number of striking paintings depict the Madonna and Child, Angles, the Nine Saints, and Christ resurrecting Adam and Eve. Finally, drive to Mekelle for your overnight.

Today, you will have dinner at a private house with a member of a family while sharing experiences about the social life of Ethiopia.

O/N Planet International Hotel(www.planetinternationalhotel.com)

day 09


In the evening, before departure, have a farewell dinner party at one of the best traditional restaurants where you will see the folkloric dance of the different ethnic people of Ethiopia, and taste the variety of Ethiopian meals.

day 10



Please Know that we can make any changes needed depending on the number of days you have and also This tour can easily be amended to other Tour Package

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.Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Meskel square infront of Exihibition center

. info@ experienceethiopia.com

. +251 115 530 809 /+251 930 106 565

. +251 115 519 9825