Danakil Depression via Lalibela Ethiopia Tour 9 days

  • Private tour
  • Solo friendly
  • Family friendly
  • Book now pay later*

The trip is one of the best of Exploriada tours since it is a mix of the best two places in North Ethiopia namely the UNESCO-registered Lalibela rock-hewn churches/many people claim it to be the 8th world wonder and Danakill Depression a unique planet on earth.

The Afar Depression is the only place on earth where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land with its volcano Erta'Ale that vibrates inside the well and the surface has a different mix of colours and an unknown world.

Duration: 11 days overland (flight not included) or 9 days drive + 1 hour flight. Please note the accommodation in the Danakil Depression is exclusively camping due to the lack of hotels.

Day 1 Addis - Desse

Drive to Desse town via Debre Birhan Ankober. After a 130 Km drive from Addis turn to Ankober town a name that means monkey gate to indicate Ethiopia’s endemic Gelada baboon is abundantly found on the mountain. Visit the old place of Minilik that he used before he moved to Entoto in Addis. Lunch in Debre Birhan and head to Desse.

Overnight: Desse Hotel

Day 2 Haik Estifanos - Lalibela

Drive to Lalibela via Haik Estifanos monastery. Haik means lake in Amharic that is to indicate the area is named after the lake of Haik Estifanos monastery. After visiting the church and lake islands we head to Lalibela and have lunch in Weldeia town.

Overnight: Lalibela – hotel

Day 3 Lalibela

Visit half of the 11 rock hewn churches in the morning and half in the afternoon, may be after lunch. Stunning the stones carved to make these monolithic churches in the 12 century, using the tools of that time. They are the first must see place in Ethiopia.

Overnight: Lalibela – hotel

Day 4 Sekota - Mekele

Drive to Mekele city via Sekota. The Zagwe dynasty rulers emerged in Lasta and their Agew languages is spoken here. Uniquely identify this Agew people from the rest on your way to Mekelle, the city gate to Afar. Prepare tents, scouts, entry papers from Police for Afar and buy food stuffs, drinks, malaria pills etc in Mekelle.

Overnight: Mekelle – hotel

Day 5 Danakil: Mekele - Dallol - Hamedila

Start Expedition to Afar Danakil Depression from Mekelle via Korem early in the morning. This day is a special day in your life to sink in -130 meter below sea level surface a place called Dallol. It is the hottest place on earth. On the way surprisingly see half dressed men extracting salts in the desert and visit different colors of minerals bubbling out.

Overnight: Hamdale – camping

Day 6 Danakil: Erta'ale

Afar Danakil Depression - day two expedition is to Erta'ale volcanic lake. After you arrive near Erta'ale stretch your tents and walk in the middle of nowhere only you feel sandy wind in a very hot temperature. At night time the view of the volcanic lake standing on the rim of the well is astonishing breathtaking, see the exploding volcano and returns to the well before reaching the well, again and again molten lava temperature inside the well is over 3000 degree centigrade.

Overnight: camping

Day 7 Danakil: Lake Afdera - Erta'ale

Continue excursion to Lake Afdera Ethiopians' unfinished source of salt. Attend Afari people extracting salt, salt caravan. On your way take the picture of the landscape of sulphur, phosphate minerals, blue, white, yellow and other colors in between make it colorful planet on earth. Return back to Erta'ale to admire again the volcanic lake in the evening.

Overnight: camping

Day 8 Danakil: Berhale - Mekele

Drive back to Mekelle town. Stop over Barehalie town of Afar tribe. It is the place of market in the region heading to Mekelle town of the Tigray people.

Overnight: Mekelle – hotel

Day 9 Mekele

Drive to Mekelle town after the amazing nomadic inhospitable area of Afar. Mekelle awaits you the lovely food that you had missed in the desert, city tour in Mekelle and buy air plane ticket to fly back to Addis Ababa or plan to continue the remaining historical routes of North Ethiopia, Mekelle to Axum, Gonder, Bahirdar, Addis Ababa over land.

Overnight: Mekelle – hotel

Day 10 Mekele - Addis Ababa / Mekele - Desse

Fly to Addis Ababa from Mekelle and end the visit in Ethiopia attending Ethiopian cultural music traditional food and drink at Yod Abyssinia traditional restaurant close to the air port.
Overnight: Addis Ababa- Bole Airport to return back to your country.

Or Drive to Desse from Mekele over land and stay one night in Desse town to head to Addis the next day or continue driving to Axum from Mekelle over night in Axum and continue the historical routes to Gonder, Bahirdar and reach in Addis in extra 5 days.

Day 11 Desse - Addis Ababa

Drive to Addis from Desse and attend the Ethiopian cultural music traditional food & drink at Yod Abyssinia traditional restaurant close to the air port.

What's included

* Please check prices for full list of inclusions and exclusions


  • Arrival and departure airport/ hotel transfers (depending on the time of your arrival/departure the price may increase)
  • Overland transportation according to the chosen level
  • Petrol
  • English speaking driver/ guide
  • Park/ museum entrance fees
  • Cook and meals while on camping
  • Accommodation according to the chosen level
  • Camping accommodation in Danakil Depression DEPENDING ON PRICE SELECTED
  • Camping accommodation in Danakil DepressionMeals DEPENDING ON PRICE SELECTED


  • Snacks
  • Cold drinks
  • Tribal village entry fees
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel & personal accident insurance
  • Tips & personal expenses such as telephone calls etc
  • Photographing fees
  • International flights and taxes
  • Internal (domestic) flights (other than included in the itinerary)
  • Visas
  • Meals not stated in the itinerary DEPENDING ON PRICE SELECTED


Available in

(Other languages possible on request)

Available for

Children, Students, Adults, Seniors

Departure & Return

Start city: Addis Ababa , Ethiopia

Pick up times available: 9:00

Pick up location: Your hotel, Bole International Airport or Taitu Hotel - your choice

Ends at: Your hotel, Bole International Airport or Taitu Hotel - your choice

Nearest airport: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD)

Eco Features:

  • Licensed tour guide
  • Local or indigenous tour guide(s)

Cancellation policy

0% cancellation fee - 11 days or more before the travel date
50% cancellation fee - between 3-10 days before the travel date
100% cancellation fee - between 0-2 days before the travel date

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from $1361 per person