Danakil and Tigrai churches tour (8 Days and 7Nights)

Day 1. Aksum City Tour  

Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s inscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace.  You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept.  Men only are allowed to enter the old church.  Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept    

 O/n  Aksum  Sabean hotel

Day2. Aksum –Gherealta

After breakfast, drive to visit the ruins of Yeha, dating from the 8th to 5th centuries BC, and thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum.  Afterwards, visit the Debre Damo monastery, where the men (sorry!  No women allowed.) must climb up a 15-m rope to enter.   O/n  Hawzien Gherealta Lodge

Day 3.  Visit  Gherealta  churches

In the morning, visit  the beautiful  church of Abune Yemata Guh.  It takes walk around 30 minutes from the parking area. It’s hidden church but most incredible as well  it has amazing paintings and clergy men, believes the paintings are from 6thc A.D. Continues to see the oldest church in the world , Holy savour church /medhanialem Adikoshu/on the way stop in Wukro for lunch and in the afternoon drive 15 kms west of wukro to see the famous church of Abraha and Atsibeha. Finally, drive to Mekelle .

O/N Mekelle Planet hotel

Day 4. Mekele - Hamede Ela

Depart Mekele and drive to Hamede Ela campsite via Berhale. Once we reach Berhale, you will notice the landscape change. Most people associate this point as the start of the ‘depression’. Berhale is also a stopping off point for the camel caravans carrying salt from Lake Karum to the highlands of Ethiopian in the northwest. We will have lunch at Berhale before continuing on our journey to Hamede Ela.

That night we will camp out in the open at Hamede Ela. Before sunset we will travel a short distance to Lake Karum to watch the sunset from the salt flats on the lake. The water level on the lake is very shallow so it’s easy to walk out and and around on the lake.

After sunset, travel the short distance by car back to Hamede Ela. Overnight , at the campsite.

4h - 5h               

Day 5: Hamede Ela - Dallol - Berhale -Abala

Rise early and travel over the low waters of Lake Assal. Although the distance is not far to get to Dallol, the cars have to drive very slowly on the salt lake so as to not damage the cars.

Once we arrive at the base of a small mountain, we’ll hike up to see the sulphur springs of Dallol. The colours and rock formations that you will see here are hard to believe.

From Dallol, we will drive back across the salt lake stopping off to see how the local Afari people mine and harvest the salt. This is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world.

After lunch in Berhale, continue driving for about 2 hours until we reach the town of Abala. Dinner and overnight stay in shared rooms in a local mans house.

 Day 6: Abala - Erta Ale

After breakfast, drive for around 2 – 3 hours on a paved road, after which we will start our off roading! The first section will take us across the desert sands for around 1 hour after which we will stop for lunch in a small desert outpost town.

After lunch comes the slowest park of the off reading. We will navigate our way through a lava field covering around 12km in 1 and a half to 2 hours. Slow going!

The cars, will take us as far as a military outpost after which we will hike 3 hours to the top of the crater. Half of the hike will be done in daylight and half in darkness so bring a good torch.

Once we reach the top of the crater, you will get around 1 hour to relax and take in the amazing sight of the lava lake. This is truly an ‘out of this world’ experience and somewhat hard to fathom.

After taking in the lava lake, walk the short distance back to the camp for dinner and sleep.

Day 7: Erta Ale - Mekele

At 4am, wake up and walk the short distance down to the Crater Lake. Relax by the lava lake until sunrise. You will notice that the flow of the lake has changed since the night before so that is why we take in two visits to see the lava lake.

After sunrise, hike for 2 – 3 hours back down to the military camp for breakfast.

After breakfast, drive back to Mekele but we stop on the way for lunch.

Day8. Mekelle –Adddis Ababa

Fly from Mekelle to Addis and explore the Ethiopian capital city, Addis Ababa finally, transfer to airport and depart to home