To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #far far away, #scenic

Addis Ababa: To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia

Your Organizer

“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

When I saw the photos of Danakil Depression, I was immediately captivated by its strange alien beauty and I decided to research more about Ethiopia and I found out that Ethiopia has so much to offer.   It is the Cradle of Mankind where Lucy the 3.5 million fossils was unearthed.  There are more than 80 different ethnic groups, 16 of them are found in Omo Valley, and the tribes have remained its way of life for thousands of years.  Ethiopia is home of the Black Jews and also one of the oldest Christian nations in the world.  They also claimed to hold the Ark of the Covenant as well as a piece of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified!  I hope you are as fascinated as I am and I invite you to join me in this journey and discover what else we don't know about our world.

The highlights of this trip are
  • Visit the unique one of its kind landscape in the world, Danakil Depression
           - the lowest place on earth
           - where the oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture was found in this region
           - because there are lots of colourful rocks in each metre of terrain, it looks like something taken out of a science fiction novel
           - has an active volcano with a lava lake, Erta Ale, one of the only five in the world
  • Hike the Simien mountains a UNESCO world heritage site, one of Africa's most spectacular ranges
  • Visit Lalibela, one of its kind uniquely rock-cut churches, another UNESCO world heritage site
  • Camp near an active volcano and witness the bubbling lava lake, once in a life time experience

Here is the glimpse of what we will be visiting.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaRock-cut churches in Lalibela, photo by Rod Waddington licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Lalibela, revered as a saint, is said to have seen Jerusalem, and then attempted to build a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187. Each church was carved from a single piece of rock to symbolize spirituality and humility.  It is believed that the churches were built between 12th and 13th centuries. We will attempt to visit all 12 of them.  

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaSimien mountains, photo by Thomas Maluck licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

It is said that the scenary of Simien mountains will leave us speechless, and sitting among the groups of gelada monkeys enjoying the scenary is a mind blowing experience that will be with us for a long time.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaAnother view of Simien mountains, photo by Rod Waddington licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaGroups of gelada monkeys foraging in Simien mountain, photo by Rod Waddington licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Ethiopia's Danakil Depression alien looking landscape has one of the most extreme climates on Earth, the northern part is extremely hot and dry, however, heat isn’t the only thing people feel in the Dallol Depression. Alarming earth tremors are frequently felt. There are also several active volcanoes.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaDanakil Depression, the lowest place on earth.  Photo by Ian Swithinbank licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

In this seemingly inhospitable area you wouldn't expect too many people to be living here, however, there are 3 million nomadic Afar people that lives here, mining the salt as their main source of income.  Camels are used as their transportation and it is said that 1 million camels will pass by Berahile, one of the main access point to the Danakil Depression.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaCamels used to carry the salt that is mined, photo by Ian Swithinbank  licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Danakil Depression which used to be part of the Red Sea, has kilometres of salt deposits. In some places the salt deposits are about 5km thick. Below the many salt lakes are substantial sources of volcanic heat which causes hot water to rise through layers of salt and deposit anhydrites. Minerals also get dissolved and are deposited near the springs, and form shapes very much smaller than conical structures on basaltic lava flows. Sulphur, other minerals and possibly bacteria cause the spectacular colours.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaAnother view of alien landscape of Danakil Depression, photo by Michael Meraner licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

We will move on to an active volcano, Erte Ale, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world.  Erta Ale, in whose crater lies the world’s only below sea level land volcano, has techni-colored landscapes, incredible mineral deposits. Sulphur lakes and bubbling sulphur springs are fascinating sights not to be missed.  I think it is once in a lifetime experience.

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaErta Ale, an active volcano.  Photo by Petr Meissner licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

To the alien landscapes found only in Ethiopia starting at Addis Ababa, EthiopiaExplosion in Erta Ale, photo by Iany 1958 licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Itinerary

Day 1 Fly from Singapore to Ethiopia Addis Ababa
Day 2 Fly from Addis Ababa to Mekele / Drive from Mekele to Danakil / Visit the Dallol, Salt Lake, Sulfur Lake and Ertale Volcano, overnight camp in Danakil Depression
Day 3 Visit the Dallol, Salt Lake, Sulfur Lake and Ertale Volcano, overnight camp in Danakil Depression
Day 4 Visit the Dallol, Salt Lake, Sulfur Lake and Ertale Volcano / Drive from Danakil to Mekele, overnight in 3* to 4* hotel in Mekele
Day 5 Early drive from Mekele to Axum / Fly to Lalibela / Visit Lalibela, , overnight in 3* to 4* hotel in Lalibela
Day 6 Visit Lalibela / Fly to Gondar / Visit Gondar, overnight in 3* to 4* hotel in Gondar
Day 7 Drive from Gondar to Simien Mountains / Trekking on Simien Mountains, overnight camp in Simien Mountains
Day 8 Trekking on Simien Mountains, overnight camp in Simien Mountains
Day 9 Trekking on Simien Mountains / Drive to Gondar / Fly from Gondar to Addis, overnight hotel in Addis Ababa
Day 10 Fly from Addis Ababa to Singapore
Day 11 Reach Singapore