North Expeditions organises expeditions throughout Northern Ethiopia , as well as visits to places of interest to the South and East of Addis Ababa. We specialise in using our local knowledge to provide our guests with the best possible experiences, whether travelling within stunning natural landscapes like the Simiens National Park and the Danakil Depression, or visiting sites that display the unique history of Ethiopia. This is just a small sample of the expeditions that we offer, and we tailor each of our expeditions to suit you - please contact us to discuss your specific interests.

Danakil and beyond

The Danakil Depression, part of the homeland of the Afar people in in North-Eastern Ethiopia, is a desert basin which lies in the Danakil Desert. It lies up to 100 m below sea level as a result of tectonic activity caused by plate movements, which also cause the presence of many volcanoes in the region, including Erta Ale and the Dabbahu Volcano. Daytime temperatures in the Danakil can reach upwards of 40 degrees - it has perhaps the most extreme climate in Ethiopia, if not the world.

North Expeditions can organise expeditions to the Danakil Depression from Addis Ababa or from any other city in Northern Ethiopia. The sample expedition below begins and ends in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region and the closest major city to the Danakil. North Expeditions specialises in tailor-made expeditions, and we would be happy to discuss variations to the routes and alternative schedules to meet the interests of our guests.

Day 1: Mekelle to Hamedelle (180km, approx. 3 1/2 hours driving)

The expedition begins in a convoy of two 4x4 vehicles, each vehicle driven by an experienced driver with whom North Expeditions have a long and reliable working relationship. During the drive, we have the opportunity to visit the nomadic way of life of the people of afar, and to encounter the salt caravans that traverse the highlands of Tigray. We overnight at Hamedelle campsite.

Day 2: Round-trip, Hamedelle to Dallol, round trip (80km, appox 3 hours driving in total)

After an early breakfast, we drive to Dallol to visit the colourful sulphuric formations and salt deposits. We return to Hamedelle, the hottest inhabited settlement on the planet, before midday (to avoid driving in the very strong sun), and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch in Hamedelle. Overnight at Hamedelle campsite.

Day 3: Hamedelle to Siroat (100km, approx 8 hours driving), and trek with camels to volcano

We start early to drive to Siroat, where we meet our expert local guides. From there we travel by 4x4 to a base camp within reach of the volcano, where we eat dinner. At nightfall, when the hot daytime temperatures have fallen, we begin the camel trek (3-4 hours) to the top of the volcano, where we camp and enjoy a picnic dinner in the moonlight.

Day 4: Return from volcano to fresh-spring camping site near Hamedelle (100km, approx 8 hours driving)

Before sunrise (to avoid the hot daytime sun), we descend the volcano, returning the vehicle in the early morning. Drive to Hamedelle, from where we recommend a beautiful camping site next to a fresh spring beyond Hamedelle. (Accommodation at the campsite in Hamedelle is an alternative if requested.)

Day 5: Hamedelle to Mekelle (180km, approx. 3 1/2 hours driving)

Return from Hamedelle to Mekelle, arriving in Mekelle around mid-day to enjoy a final freshly prepared lunch.

Contact information

North Expeditions
Nega Setargachew
P.O. Box 1552
North Gondar
Gondar - Ethiopia
+251 (9) 18 04 36 03
+251 (9) 20 25 45 47

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