Tours Ethiopia

Tigray rock hewn churches and Danakil Depression      12 days / 11 nights
Culture, Adventure and Wild Nature 


Get ready for a unique adventure in the deserts of the world's most enigmatic and mysterious mountains of Ethiopia. This route is considered the most wild, daring and adventurous in our catalog as we face at high temperatures and hard journey for one of the most bizarre and inhospitable places on earth, the Danakil desert, a depression caused by the separation of continental plates causes the earth to sink, forcing us to descend to the altitude of 100m below the sea level.

Depart in 4x4 vehicles from Addis Ababa to Kombolcha visiting Oromo villages and bustling market Sembete. After passing through the territory of Tigray in the mountains we will stay Gheralta to go in search of their enigmatic rock-cut churches and find that Ethiopia keeps well hidden treasures; tiny caves guardians of Orthodox Christian tradition in the country with beautiful murals and books housed sacred for centuries in the tops of the mountains. More than 2000 m of altitude, the bird's eye view landscapes make one be closer to their faith.

Initiate the reduction in our vehicles to the Afar desert stopping at villages, nomadic ethnic group only inhabitants of this strange place. On this area there are no hotels; we camp three days in Ahmed Ela, base camp for excursions in the area. From here we will visit the salt lake known as Assa Ale, then we continue to experience the magic of infinite horizon and contemplate the long caravans of camels of Afar nomads carrying the salt extracted to markets in the highlands.

Dalol area offers another magic moment on this trip. A part of being in the lowest point of the Danakil witness a surreal landscape composed of the hot sulfur springs deposit multi-hued, steaming vents drilled conical shaped by undulating rock formations and all covered by a dense layer of rock salt.

To watch the natural spectacle of the volcano Erta Ale will continue our vehicles to Dodum, where we will have a night excursion to the mouth of the volcano itself. It is a still active volcano that houses a boiler at the top of 1 km square with the only permanent lake in the world within. If we assume the desert starry night sky above us and so captivating natural phenomenon red lava roaring at our feet, we are certainly experiencing one of the most mesmerizing of our travels around this planet. That night is spent in bivouacs built by the Afar.

In Lake Afrera discover overwhelming beauty composed of emerald green color, yellow and white salt overshadowed by the black basalt of the dormant volcanoes that surround it. We bathe in natural hot springs in the vicinity. In Assayta visit the many small lakes that dot the landscape before heading across the last Nazret places Afar desert. In Sodore we can enjoy a relaxing morning in the pool before returnig to Addis Ababa where the journey culminate with a dinner accompanied by a typical Ethiopian traditional dance show as a farewell to this magnificent adventure through the lands of Ethiopia.



Day 1 - Arrive to Addis Ababa, welcome by our team and transfer to your hotel – Visit the capital and its street ambient - O/n Hotel.

Day 2 - Drive to Kombolcha - On the way visit of the Oromo villages and Sembete market - O/n Local Hotel.

Day 3 - Drive to Hawzen to the Gheralta Mountains through the villages of Amhara and Tigrian people - O/n Lodge.

Day 4 - Full day excursion to discover the Tigrian rock hewn churches, house of ancient bibles and fresco paintings - O/n Lodge.

Day 5 - Drive to Amed Ela, the nearest village to Dallol - On the way visit of Afar villages - O/n Camping.

Day 6 - Excursion to the beautiful sulfuric plain of Dallol and gaze at the camel caravan amazing pictures - O/n Camping.

Day 7 - Visit of the Assa Ale salt lake and meet the camel caravan - Free evening to enjoy the daily life at Amed Ela - O/n Camping.

Day 8 - Drive to Dodum and trek to Erta Ale active Volcano - Overnight open air with mattress and sleeping bag near the volcano.

Day 9 - Drive to Afrera and explore the Salt mining at Lake Afrera - Bathing at the natural hot spring - O/n Camping.

Day 10 - Drive to Assaita to explore lakes nearby - O/n Camping.

Day 11 - Drive to Nazreth visiting on the way Oromo villages - O/n Hotel.

Day 12 - Drive to Sodore to relax and enjoy its swimming pool - In Addis Ababa traditional Ethiopian dinner with folklore dance -Transfer to the airport for intercontinental flight - Night on board.

Attention: This trip is NOT for everybody. It is a physical challenge that requires travelers with good health condition and great endurance against heat. Despite all, excursions will take place during the less hot hours of the day.





Day             Destination          Meals              Accommodation

DAY 1       ADDIS ABABA    Not included       Hotel
DAY 2       KOMBOLCHA      Full Board          Local Hotel
DAY 3       GHERALTA        Full Board          Lodge
DAY 4       GHERALTA        Full Board          Lodge
DAY 5       AHMED ELA       Full Board          Camp
DAY 6       AHMED ELA       Full Board          Camp
DAY 7       AHMED ELA       Full Board          Camp
DAY 8       DODUM            Full Board          Vivaq
DAY 9       AFRERA            Full Board          Camp
DAY 10     ASSAYTA          Full Board          Camp
DAY 11     NAZRET            Full Board          Hotel
DAY 12     ADDIS ABABA     Full Board          Night on board


Departure Dates

Due to the extremely hot weather in this area, a trip to the Danakil can be done only from October to April.


The group minimum for this trip is 4 persons

4 person: 158 per day per person. Total price 1,900 per person.

To know the Price for larger groups, please contact us.

Attention: Prices might change according to current fuel prices, currency devaluation and flight taxes. Birana Ethiopia Tours is committed to inform of this changes at the time of the booking.

The Price includes:

Transfers from / to airport
Bus or minibus for Addis Ababa city tour
4x4 cars for the whole trip
Accommodation in local hotels, lodges, camp sites and standard hotels with full board
Entrance and permit fees in the Afar region
Entrances for the Tigrian Rock Hewn Churches
Local guide for the whole trip
Afar scouts
Tents and camping material
Cooking car and cooking materials
Traditional dinner in Addis Ababa        15% VAT inclusive

The Price DOES NOT include:

Visa (17€ or 20$)
Intercontinental flight (more info)
Meals and beverages in Addis Ababa the first day
Travel insurance
Extra visits
Alcoholic beverages
Photo and video camera fees at some sites

After the booking confirmation, the client should transfer an amount of 30% of the trip price. The remaining 70% will be transferred within 20 days before departure or in cash on arrival.


Transportation & Accommodation 

The transportation for this tour in Ethiopia can only be full equipped 4x4 cars. It is mandatory to travel at least 2 cars together. We provide 4WD Toyota Land cruisers which are comfortable, secure and high engine power.

The accommodation is mainly at lodges, local hotels and camp sites. The last two accommodation possibilities provide service to the best of their abilities.

If you want to read more about infrastructures in Ethiopia FAQ.

Important Info


Passport: Valid for 6 months minimum and at least one free page to stamp the visa.

Entry visa for Ethiopia acquired at the immigration office of Addis Ababa International Airport at your arrival. Price 17 € or 20$.

Travel insurance: Generally speaking almost all tourists coming to Ethiopia buy their insurance at the country of origin. You may already have insurance or it may be easier to process. The trips booked through Birana Ethiopia Tours do not include any travel insurance. For the reasons mentioned, we recommend our clients to get travel insurance in their country of origin which includes cancellation, accident and lost luggage protection.

Yellow fever vaccination: A document is required to prove that you are vaccinated against yellow fever. You will get this document in your health center after vaccination. This document may be required at your arrival at the Addis Ababa Airport.


Birana Ethiopia Tours is a Travel and Tour Operator; we are not authorized to offer information about public health. This information varies constantly. So, to avoid wrong contents, for all information related to vaccination and sanitary precautions we recommend you to read the Ministry of External Affairs web site:

Also you can consult your health center.



Sleeping bag and pillow (preferably inflatable)
Hut or cap
Summer cloth
Scarf to protect from dust
Trekk shoes
Shower flip flops
Small bag for the daily excursions
Medicine box with the most important medicines (antibiotics, anti malaria)
Anti mosquito 35%DEET (spray, stickers)
Sun cream
Photo Camera with big memory card and spare batteries.

The maximum weight allowed for your luggage is 20 kg plus hand bag.

KM Covered Totally

By road: 2,135 km