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Depart early morning from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park. In the afternoon you will take a game drive to visit the wonderful birdlife and wildlife, such as oryx, baboons, greater and lesser kudu, warthogs, gazelles, colubus monkeys. Additionally, you’d be very lucky to see leopards, lions, and other cats. The landscapes in the park are beautiful, looking over the Awash Gorge. Overnight in Awash National Park (lodge or camping).
Today we drive from Awash National Park to Afdera. Lake Afdera is a wonderfully bright green lake situated with black basalt mountains behind. It’s a stunning location. Here you can see modern salt extraction from the lake, where the Afar nomads continue the same activities they have for centuries. The salt extraction here is the main supply of salt to Addis Ababa. There is a hot spring nearby where you may take a bath. Overnight at Afdera (camping).
From Afdera, continue to Erta Ale via Kursuwad. The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. As the sun goes down you will start the 3-hour hike up to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. The hike may be done by camel or on foot. At the top you will descend into the caldera and proceed to the crater’s edge. Here you will see the permanent lava lake inside the volcano (the only permanent lava lake in the world). You will camp overnight on the rim of the volcano caldera.
Today is an early morning start to witness the sun rise over the horizon. You will have your last look at the volcano’s lake of lave before descending from the volcano. After breakfast, continue driving to Hamed Ila for overnight (camping).
After breakfast, depart for Dallol, which at 116m below sea level is the lowest point on the African continent. Admire the stunning landscape, the ground many shades of red, yellow and orange from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. Continue to Lake Asale, which is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. You will witness (and even try) their laborious task of removing salt from the ground as hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekele. After the visit, proceed back to Mekele, with your last views of this desert and the camel caravans dotting the horizon. Overnight in Mekele (hotel).
Today drive to Dessie via Woldia. On the way you will stop for a rest in Hayk where you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake, visit the local monastery (open for men only) and enjoy the birdlife. Overnight in Kombolcha (hotel).
Return driving to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market.
End of tour.