Ethiopia
Ethiopia

Curious what backpackers do in Ethiopia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

26 travelers at this place:

  • Day76

    1ers jours en Afrique - Addis Abeba

    January 20 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Nous voilà maintenant dans la capitale éthiopienne, sur la corne de l'Afrique. Nous sommes accueillis par une grande fête religieuse, particulièrement célébrée par les chrétiens orthodoxes d'ici : l'Epiphanie. Curieux, nous décidons malgré la fatigue de suivre ce défilé ininterrompu d'éthiopiens vêtus de blanc. Tous se rendent au niveau d'une grande esplanade en terre-battue où se regroupent des milliers de personnes. Processions, chants, tambours, c'est festif ! Pour commémorer le baptême de Jésus-Christ, des prêtres montés sur des échafaudages prêchent et arrosent la foule aux jets d'eau ! Improbable et plutôt comique à regarder !

    Dans cette liesse populaire bigarrée, nous ne passons pas inaperçus. Les enfants nous dévisagent avec des grands yeux, les jeunes s'amusent à nous crier les quelques mots d'anglais qu'ils connaissent et les plus vieux nous jettent des regards curieux. Mais quel que soit l'âge, c'est un plaisir de voir leurs visages s'illuminer d'un grand sourire lorsqu'on leur répond "Salam".

    D'autant plus que les éthiopiens sont magnifiques : grands, silhouette élancée, traits du visage fins et harmonieux, peau plutôt claire. On aurait envie de tous les prendre en photos ! Mais on s'abstient, car ils ne rigolent pas avec leur image. C'est le seul pays d'Afrique qui n'a pas été colonisé, ce qui donne une population très fière et bien à part.

    Et pourquoi fêtent-ils l'Epiphanie seulement maintenant vous demandez vous peut-être ? Car ils possèdent leur propre calendrier et leur propre système horaire. Aujourd'hui à 12h, il est pour eux 6h, et le 12 Ter 2011. Ça va être pratique pour les horaires de bus ça ! Ça nous aura permis de fêter les Rois Mages de 3 façons différentes : à la colombienne à Cucaita, à la française à Bogota (avec galette home made et couronne!) et maintenant à l'éthiopienne, tout ça la même année !

    Nous passons quelques jours à Addis pour nous remettre des 30h de voyage + 8h de décalage horaire, assurer quelques RDV solaires et préparer la suite du périple.

    L'Afrique peut se montrer un continent difficile : voyager en routard nécessite une bonne dose de patience et de débrouillardise, et la relation blancs-noirs s'avère parfois complexe. Mais quelle énergie, et quelles cultures à mille lieues de ce qu'on connaît ! On vibre donc à l'idée d'en découvrir un peu plus sur ce pays, ses 80 langues et tout autant de peuples !
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  • Day79

    Au bord du Lac Tana, le Nil Bleu

    January 23 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Notre première virée hors de la capitale sera aux abords du Lac Tana, 10h de bus au nord-ouest d'Addis, dans la région Amhara.

    Nous prenons donc le bus de bon matin direction la ville de Bahar Dar. Nous passons un super trajet en compagnie d'éthiopiens attentionnés et nous faisons la connaissance d'une famille avec leur petit Menelik. Avec lui nous avons le droit à un cours particulier des animaux de la ferme en langue Amharique, ce qui nous permet maintenant de nous la raconter à chaque fois que nous croisons des animaux !

    Plusieurs surprises nous attendent le long du trajet. Tout d'abord nous croisons de charmants petits villages constitués de Tukuls (huttes rondes traditionnelles en toit de chaume) et d'habitations ressemblent à de petites maisonnettes fabriquées en eucalyptus et recouvertes d'un toit en acier. Toutes sont très bien construites et entretenues. Les éthiopiens au bord des routes se font de plus en plus nombreux au fur et à mesure que le jour se lève.
    Enfin, au milieu du trajet, au détour d'un virage, nous plongeons dans la Vallée du Grand Rift, immense canyon parcourant tout l'est du continent... grandiose, vertigineux, nous sommes scotchés à la fenêtre.

    Arrivés à Bahar Dar, ça grouille de monde, ça klaxonne, ça sent le café, ça vend et achète de tout... ville bouillonnante aux abords du paisible Lac Tana. Ce lac est la source du Nil Bleu, l'un des deux principaux affluents du Nil.

    Nous profitons de ces quelques jours pour nous balader aux abords du lac et aller voir les chutes du Nil Bleu. Après 1h30 de tappe-cul en minibus local, et une belle balade dans la campagne, nous voilà devant ces cascades. Elles sont magnifiques mais ont perdu de leur grandeur, et cela pour deux raisons : nous sommes en saison sèche, et le débit à été fortement réduit du fait de la construction d'un barrage hydraulique en amont... électricité ou eau pour l'agriculture ? Malheureusement il faut choisir... constat encore plus dur lorsque l'on s'aperçoit au retour, dans la nuit, que beaucoup de villages voisins n'ont pas l'électricité...

    Le Lac Tana, un premier pas vers la découverte de la "vraie" Ethiopie, avec ses gens adorables mais parfois insistants, sa population jeune mais pauvre, son développement progressif mais encore trop partiel, et tant d'autres paradoxes.
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  • Day82

    Lalibela, la Jérusalem d'Ethiopie

    January 26 in Ethiopia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Qu'est ce qui fait de l'Ethiopie un pays si intéressant et à part en Afrique? La beauté de ses hauts plateaux, la diversité de sa population, son ancrage dans la tradition... mais surtout la richesse de son Histoire.

    Lalibela en est l'un des symboles. Cette ville, nichée dans les hauts plateaux à 2600m d'altitude, renferme des trésors uniques au monde : une douzaine d'églises monolithiques, creusées dans la roche volcanique au XIIème siècle. Un travail titanesque mené sous le règne du roi Lalibela, la légende racontant qu'elles auraient été construites en 24 ans avec l'aide des anges... explication qui arrange bien tout le monde tant ce sanctuaire a encore du mal à livrer tous ses secrets !

    Ville agréable, nous déambulons deux jours au milieu de ces morceaux d'Histoire sublimés par la fête religieuse de l'année : le Timkat. Hé oui, encore l'Epiphanie ! C'est à se demander si finalement ce ne seraient pas nous les rois mages ! La procession consiste à balader les reliques des différentes églises dans toute la ville, en compagnie des popes orthodoxes, de tout le village et des habitants des alentours, le tout dans une liesse populaire continue, le jour et la nuit! Les chants, les couleurs, les sourires enchantent notre séjour.

    Lalibella n'a définitivement pas volé son surnom de Seconde Jerusalem...

    L'autre trésor de Lalibela ce sont ses hauts plateaux qui se dressent tout autour de la ville. Alors, soudainement pris d'une démangeaison pédestre, nous décidons de rejoindre un monastère à 3100m afin de contempler la vue d'encore plus haut ! Nous ne sommes pas déçu, les 6h de marche nous livrent un paysage grandiose.

    Cela ne fait qu'un peu plus d'une semaine que nous sommes en Ethiopie... déjà tant de découvertes, il va nous falloir un peu de temps pour tout digérer !
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  • Day85

    Épisode sulfureux au Danakil

    January 29 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Histoire de mettre un peu de sel dans notre voyage, nous avons changé de planète pendant quelques jours. Direction la dépression de Dallol, à l'extrême nord-est de l'Ethiopie, immense désert aride situé à 130m sous le niveau de la mer. Aucune trace de vie ici, seulement du sel, des lacs très salés, des montagnes de sel,... et de curieuses formations minérales aux couleurs vives créées par des réactions chimiques entre ce sel et les composants des roches volcaniques (acide sulfurique et oxydes en tout genre). Ça bouillonne, ça fume, ça sent mauvais, mais comme c'est beau !

    Pourtant, dans cet environnement appartenant certainement au top 3 des lieux les plus hostiles au monde, subsistent les Afars, tribu nomade collectant ce fameux sel à coup de pioche, les pieds creusés par l'eau salée, sous une chaleur avoisinant régulièrement les 50°C. L'occasion de croiser de longues caravanes de dromadaires transportant cet or blanc... vendu une misère dans les marchés alentours, et cela depuis 2000 ans. Malheureusement nous n'avons pas pu en apprendre plus sur ce peuple fascinant au travail de forçats, mais du peu que nous en avons compris, il n'est pas simple de naître Afar.

    Évidemment nous ne pouvions pas nous promener seul dans ce désert infernal, et avons donc dû passer par un circuit organisé. On n'est décidemment pas fan de ce mode de voyage, brièvement testé sur le lac Titikaka, mais cette fois encore ça a permis de belles rencontres : une baroudeuse de l'île de Ré, une canadienne maton de prison, un anglais alpiniste photographe,... que nous recroiserons régulièrement en Ethiopie !
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  • Day90

    Le Tigré, comme dans un Western

    February 3 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Le Tigré, c'est la région la plus au nord de l'Ethiopie, et aussi l'une des plus spectaculaires. Ses décors sont dignes des plus beaux parcs de l'Ouest américain, avec en bonus des centaines d'églises nichées partout dans les montagnes. Certaines sont réputées quasi-inaccessibles, mais nous en identifions 2 qui semblent atteignables.

    Nous partons donc à l'assaut de ces montagnes ocres avec Myriam, notre amie canadienne que nous avons retrouvé la veille par hasard à Hawzien, ville étape. Nous sommes heureux d'enfin pouvoir randonner tout seul au milieu de la nature, chose assez rare en Ethiopie.

    C'est au prix de nombreuses heures de grimpette que nous rejoignons les deux églises creusées dans la roche, chacune perchée sur sa montagne. L'une nous vaudra une belle séance d'escalade accompagnée par les chants de la messe du dimanche, l'autre une balade incroyable et une vue à couper le souffle.

    Le lendemain matin nous aurons le privilège de partager l'Injera et quelques cours d'amharique avec Mira et Alex, sympathique couple marié la veille ! Je dis "privilège" mais en réalité nous nous sommes régulièrement fait inviter : c'est la normalité en Ethiopie de partager son repas, même avec des inconnus.

    L'Injera est la base de l'alimentation éthiopienne. C'est une galette de tef, céréale sans gluten cultivée exclusivement en Ethiopie, sur laquelle on dispose toute sorte de nourriture: viandes, légumes préparés, purée de pois chiche (appelé Shiro)... Le tout bien épicé, un vrai régal !
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  • Day174

    Stinkbombe in Äthiopien ;)

    September 5, 2018 in Ethiopia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Kurz vor Abflug in Singapur hatten wir nachts noch eine Durian (Stinkefrucht) gekauft, damit Séb diese noch auf den letzten Drücker in Asien probieren kann. Doch egal wie luftdicht wir sie verpackt hatten, sie - und damit wir - stank aus allen Löchern. Wir schafften es sogar, sie durch die Flughäfen von Singapur und Äthiopien zu schmuggeln, immer etwas beschämt, weil uns eine müffelnde Duftwolke begleitete. Beim Zwischenstopp in Addis Abeba/ Äthiopien suchten wir eine menschenleere Ecke am Flughafen, doch beim Schnuppern an der Stinkbombe trauten wir uns letztendlich doch nicht diese auszupacken. 🍈🤢🙈😅

    In Nairobi, draussen vor unserer Unterkunft, war es dann soweit. Wir hielten es sogar auf Video fest, wie wir beide unsere Gesichter verzogen, als wir die Durian, auch Königsfrucht genannt, rochen und probierten. 💩🤣 Mutprobe erfolgreich bestanden. ✅
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  • Day824

    Ethiopia

    November 3, 2013 in Ethiopia ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Die Tour wurde von DRAGOMEN durchgeführt!

    Days 1-2: Addis Ababa
    Anmerkung: Wir haben damals in „Gonder“ die Tour begonnen.
    We will have free to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums and sights. In Addis Ababa we will stay in the “Sarem International Hotel” (a comfortable hotel with good facilities).

    Day 3: Debre Markos
    En route we will drive to the bottom of the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge and up the other side! In Debre Markos we will stay in a basic local hotel. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!.

    Days 4-6: Bahir Dar
    A small town on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile. On our first full day in Bahir Dar, we will have an included boat trip on LakeTana to visit the famous old monastery of Gabriel Ure Kideth and to visit the spot where the lake outflows into the start of the Blue Nile. On our second day, we will head off in the truck to visit the Blue Nile Falls and take a short walk around the area to the historic Portuguese Bridge. Bahir Dar is a small city located on the banks of Lake Tana. A few kilometres down the river from Bahir Dar are the spectacular Blue Nile Falls - locally known as Tissisat Falls (literally translating as 'water that smokes'), these waterfalls are located in a stunning area which is excellent to trek around. On the lake itself are a number of monasteries on islands and peninsulas, and we take the opportunity to visit at least one on a boat trip on the lake. These churches feature the traditional murals and decorations of the Ethiopian Coptic Church - as Christianity in Ethiopia was isolated after the emergence of Islam in the 7th Century, the religion here took a distinct style and the decorations of the monasteries of Lake Tana reflect that perfectly.

    Days 7-9: Lalibela
    Today we have a full day's drive through the beautiful scenery of central Ethiopia to reach the small medieval town of Lalibela. On our first day in Lalibela, we will have an included full-day guided tour of the world-famous 13th-century rock churches of Lalibela. On the second day, we will have a free day for further exploration or optional activities. In Lalibela we will stay in a local hotel. This medieval village has grown up around 13 monolithic churches hewn from rock in the 12th Century CE. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem, which has led some experts to date the churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Muslim leader Saladin. The rock-hewn churches are an awe-inspiring feat of engineering, and each is uniquely-designed and beautifully carved. The village is small, the churches largely visited by devout Ethiopian pilgrims rather than masses of foreign tourists, and therefore retains its original Ethiopian charm and incredible atmosphere. The monastery of Asheten Mariam is hidden in the rugged hills behind the village, and there is a wonderful trek up the cliffs to reach it and take in the incredible views at the top. Near to Lalibela is the ancient church of Yemrehana Kristos, uniquely located in a cave - this can be visited during our free time in Lalibela.
    www.intrepidtravel.com/en/ethiopia/ethiopian-highlands-northbound-104072/printtripnotes

    Editiert am 24.03.2018
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  • Day825

    Ethiopia

    November 4, 2013 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Days 10-11: Woldiya
    Leaving Lalibela behind us, we have 2 days of driving through increasingly mountainous scenery to reach the town of Mekele. On the first day of this journey we aim to wild camp near the town of Woldiya or Korem. On the second day we will stay in a decent local hotel in Mekele. Estimated Drive Times - 6-8 hours each day. Mekele is the cultural, economic and political hub of the northern region of Tigray. Historians date the town of Mekele back to the 13th Century CE, and it is famous for its rock-hewn churches in the surrounding desert landscapes - these churches are stunning and remote, some of them dating all the way back to the 4th and 5th Centuries. We will aim to visit at least one of these atmospheric old Coptic churches on our journey through the province of Tigray.

    Days 12-13: Aksum
    Today we will visit one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray (either the Abraha Atsbeha or Wukro Chirkos church), then continue through the increasingly breathtaking mountain scenery of the Adwa mountains to reach the ancient town of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours. The next day we will have an included half-day guided tour of the incredible historical sites of Axum, the capital of the once-mighty Axumite Empire - included in this tour will be seeing the Stelae Field, the Tomb of King Kaleb, and the Palace of the Queen of Sheba. We will have a free afternoon to make optional visits to other places such as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, the supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. In Axum we will stay in a basic local hotel. Axum is the site of Ethiopia's oldest city, and was once the centre of the mighty Axumite Empire. This empire flourished in the area between the 1st and 8th Centuries CE, and by the 5th Century controlled much of present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia! The town retains some impressive obelisks from the Axumite era carved from single blocks of granite - the tallest still standing is 23 metres high and was probably transported by elephants from a nearby quarry. The scale of the monuments in this stelae field are testament to the enormous importance that the ancient kingdom of Axum once enjoyed. Close to the town are the extensive ruins of a palace that is said to have belonged to the biblical figure of the Queen of Sheba, who was said to have travelled to Jerusalem to test the wisdom of King Solomon. Also in the town are a complex of several ancient churches - the most famous of these is a small unimposing building known as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, which is rumoured by devout Coptic Christians to house the original Ark of the Covenant (the legendary box that contained the original Ten Commandments), although apparently only one appointed guardian is ever allowed to see it!

    Days 14-15: Adi Arkay
    Leaving Axum behind us, we continue our journey with 2 days of driving through the foothills of the Simien Mountains to reach the small village of Debark, via a wild camp en route. The roads here are very tough, but we are rewarded with more truly breathtaking scenery! Debark is the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, and on arrival we will have a briefing from our local mountain guide explaining the various trekking options that we will have during our excursion starting the following day. On the first day of our journey we aim to wild camp somewhere nearby to the village of Adi Arkay. On the second day we will stay in a basic hotel in Debark. Estimated Drive Times - 5-7 hours each day. Debark is a tiny settlement that was built in the 1840s along the busy GondarMassawa trading route. There is not much of interest in the town, but it is the gateway to the magnificent Simien Mountains National Park and a decent place to stock up on supplies before visiting the park,

    Editiert am 24.03.2018
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  • Day830

    Ethiopia

    November 9, 2013 in Ethiopia ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Days 16-18: Simien Mountains National Park
    Today marks the start of our 3-day excursion into the Simien Mountains National Park. The area is home to some of Africa's most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and is a great opportunity to enjoy some incredibly beautiful treks and breathtaking views! The area is also home many indigenous animals, and during our time here we hope to spot Lammargeyer vultures, geladas, Walia ibex, and (if we are very lucky) klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves. We will spend 3 nights in the incredible Simien Mountains National Park. On each day we aim to provide an option for a long trek (of 5-8 hours), a short trek (2-5 hours) or no trekking. On our first day we aim to wild camp at the area of Sankaber. On our second and third days we aim to wild camp at the area of Chenek (underneath Ras Bwahit, the second-highest mountain in the Simiens, which we hope to get the opportunity to summit). The Simien Mountains are known throughout the world for their dramatic and spectacular scenery - jagged mountain peaks flank deep valleys and high altitude plains where only grasses, junipers and giant lobelias grow. The Simiens are one of the major mountain regions of Africa, home to the mountain Ras Dejen, which at 4,543m is the highest mountain in Ethiopia. The National Park was created initially as a protection area for the Walia ibex, a very agile wild goat that inhabits the area. Other wildlife that are commonly seen in the area are geladas (a baboon-type primate with long hair),klipspringers, Ethiopian wolves, and Lammageyer vultures! Perhaps the best highlight of the National Park is the phenomenal mountain scenery, best seen by trekking through the wonderful landscape - standing on top of a sharp precipice and gazing out over the magnificent landscape here will take your breath away, so it's definitely worth taking a bit of time to explore.

    Days 19-21: Gondar
    Today we head back out to the mountains to Debark, and then finally join the tarmac road again to reach the ancient royal city of Gondar! On the next day, we will have an included half-day guided tour of the historical sites of Gondar, including Gondar Castle, the King Fasilades' Baths and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. In Gondar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. The historic city of Gondar is a magnificent city of castles and palaces, and is sometimes known as the 'Camelot of Africa'. This was once the capital of Ethiopia during the reign of King Fasilidas in the mid-17th Century, who built the incredible European-style castle in the centre of the town. Successive kings put in their own additions to this royal complex, and Gondar remained Ethiopia's royal capital until Emperor Tewodros II moved it to Magadala to the south east. At the Debre Birhan Selassie Church we can see the famous ceiling, which is painted with hundreds of faces of angels, and hear about the church's fascinating yet violent history.

    Editiert am 24.03.2018
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  • Day28

    Danakil Depression in Mekele

    January 29, 2016 in Ethiopia ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Our lovely friend Mulish from Gonder has done it again, his friend Ababa was ready for our arrival in Mekele and had already organized our seats for the Danakil Depression tour. Their credit card machine wasn't working, no surprise there, but since we were leaving one of our backpacks behind, she said we could pay on our return. We paid 300$us for 3 nights 4 days, which was the least expensive I have heard yet from other travellers, including people on our tour and even in our Jeep who paid anywhere from 350$-380$-some even 500$. Yay for farengi pricing, anything they can get away with!

    I don't know what I was expecting here... We had skipped over this part in the travel book because we saw it was too expensive... We heard there was a volcano and sulfuric lakes but not much about them was described... And yet every traveler we met along the way assured us we absolutely needed to do this tour, so we did.

    Turns out, Holy Fuck! Excuse my French.

    This was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life.

    You start by a drive down what they call "the worst road in Africa", if you want to call it a road at all, the last 12km takes an hour to drive it. The way it worked - the tour needs to be done in 4x4 jeeps, or else we wouldn't get there, we were 15 people so 4 jeeps following each other, and we need a military escort vehicle (ever since the attack years ago), and there's a guide in one of the jeeps with a cook. This cook would make her way to wherever we were stopping for lunch and prepare everything for our arrival. I was fed incredibly well! Huge meals, delicious, water provided by them. Our cook Mary was this super bubbly, quite modern young lady. I say modern because she had a tattoo and tighter clothing then your usual, tradition Ethiopian.

    The towns we stopped in for lunch pretty much just had the shack in which we ate, the rest was just rural Ethiopia. The Afar people, who live in this region, are said to be incredibly resilient, they live in the hottest "most inhabitablle" place on earth according to some research somewhere. They do so by being nomad, where every couple of months they pick up everything and move towards the water source, or crop land, or whatever they need at that time.

    Tiny bit of negative before the awesome, they say these wonderful things about Afar people to you, but the only people we saw and interacted with were those begging for things, or simply pointing and laughing. Give me money, give me pen, give me candy, chocolate, and when all else fails, they point to something on you and say give me, plain and simple. Aggressive, annoying little ones, and you got to wonder "who's the idiot still giving them these things?". Well we found out.

    There was this one particularly bad town, where you were literally swarmed with kids the second you stepped out of the jeep, also where the company decided we would have to spend half a day and the night. The second night of the tour, everyone basically agrees it's just to elongate the tour, but it's completely unnecessary. They bring you to a family compound, lay mattresses on the ground of 2 large rooms for the 15 of us, and you spend from around 2pm until the next morning at 10am here. As I mentioned, leaving the compound meant you were surrounded by kids grabbing your arm, pointing at you, and asking for things. They scream hello at you, and scream louder and louder until you answer them. Problem is you already said hello about 5 times, but dammit they want it a 6th time!

    After a while, we started ignoring them. That failed. We then started being more direct, telling them to leave, go away.

    It took me walking around this town of about 8 minutes, no more, to start getting rocks thrown at me. At first, smaller rocks, and to Jack also. We obviously turned, told them to stop and kept walking. I then started getting larger rocks. Jack, not so much. And larger. To the point where I got bruised in 2 places on my back from 2 rocks that nailed me. At this point, there are about 25 kids following us and laughing. Jack and I realized at that moment that I was apparently a little too different looking for them. It was very clearly aimed at me.

    Obviously at this point, I headed back to the compound, where I had to spend from 3pm until the next morning sitting in one little court yard, not exploring. Others also went for walks and returned within 5 minutes because of the overwhelming kids. Small rocks thrown around them, not on them. This was probably my most disappointing evening.

    Disappointing because as a traveler, you want to trust the people around you, you want to know you can get help, or just having an interaction with someone can be pleasant. But it was that evening that I realized I had no trust in any of my interactions with Ethiopians. They see us as wallets, entirely unwelcomed to their country unless we just walk around with an automatic tip or donation dispenser. A big part of travelling for me is the relationship you form with locals, and the experiences gained through them, but I won't find that here.

    And then these two Americans, who apparently loved the kids, thought they were cute, decided to reward them all by giving them candy right outside our compound gates. They were surprised when the kids tore the bag away from them and ran away with it. Rewarding them. I couldn't believe it. I guess that's why they keep asking.

    Enough negative, I saw a f***ing lava lake! The first day, we drove out as close to the Irta'ale volcano as possible, we ate, then started our 3 hour hike to the crater. We start this hike only at 5pm because apparently the goal is to walk with a headlamp in the dark for half of it, just for fun and games. This was the longest 3 hours ever, mostly because we could see the glow of the lava once it got dark, shining into the clouds. We all just wanted to get there!

    Arriving at the top was just magical. You arrive at the top of the crater, looking down on this far, yet so reachable lava lake, just dancing around, spiting up every once in a while. Looked like the ocean side, crashing against the reef, only its firey lava! Once we got the go ahead from the military keeping guard, we actually descended into the crater and walked over this cooled off magma, crackling under our feet as if we were walking on giant charcoal. We got, without exaggerating, within 15 feet from the lava itself! Wind was strong and blowing the spiting bits away from us. The level of the lava must have been 2-3 meters from the rim. Seeing it bubble up, spit up, crashing against the side, absolutely mind blowing. Hot also. We were only permitted to stay about 40 minutes, and had to head back to the top of the crater to settle in for the night. Our accommodation for the evening - old, dirty foam mattresses, about 2-3 inches thick, depending how lucky you were, set into the dirt ground right smack outside around the crater top. The mattresses are laid out in groups of 3 within these 2 feet tall stone enclosures, almost like you would build around a fire pit, to help protect us from the wind. Thank God for our sleeping bags! Created this artificial cocoon I could pretend I was safe inside. The next day Jack told me there were mice in the rocks around us but chose not to tell me before because she knew I wouldn't have slept. Well played, well played.

    We were woken at 5am so we could go back down for a second lava lake visit, only 20 minutes this time. I didn't want to leave. But eventually did, and we hiked down the 3 hours to our breakfast! The rest of the day was spent driving to that not so lovely town I told you about, where these same mattresses were laid out for us.

    Day 3 we drove out to the salt lakes Lake Asale where these huge groups, caravans of camels and mules are still being used to carry the mined salt blocks back into town. Apparently, despite the fact that you can drive onto these lakes with large trucks, the locals are choosing to keep doing it the way they were taught traditionally, lifting all the salt blocks from the ground by hand, shaping them into squares to allow for easier transport and balance on the animals, and walking it all back. You couldn't see the end of this incredible white surface. We stayed here for the sunset (although too cloudy to see one) and had the music from one the trucks blasting, we danced and drank some local wine, had ourselves a great time. It was entertaining to see our military escorts have wine and dance with us...

    Again, our accommodation for the night, weaved beds, with our usual mattresses over top, again outside. No walls, no markings of rooms or anything, just the Jeep parked at one end to "protect us from the wind" apparently. Where our 300$US each went, no one knows. But again, interesting experience! Apparently the star gazing is beautiful here, but unfortunately it was cloudy our whole stay. It was also supposed to be the warmest place on earth, averaging 34 celsius daily, but the clouds kept us cool all day.

    And lastly, the sulfuric lakes in Dallol. The mixture of magnesium and sulfur and potash made these incredibly colourful formations... I was in awe of what nature could create. Yay for science.

    All in all, 4 days of being driven around to these incredible sites, being fed amazingFood, in good company, what more could I ask for! All of it made my having to use the great outdoors as my toilet for 4 full days very easy to take !

    And Jack can't stop talking about the volcano. Says she's going to stay to hang out with it, see how it's doing...
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Äthiopien, Ethiopia, Otobbia, Ethiopië, Ithiopia, ኢትዮጵያ, Etiopia, اثيوبيا, Etiopía, Efiopiya, Эфіопія, Етиопия, Etiopi, ইফিওপিয়া, ཨི་ཐིའོ་པི་ཡ།, Etiopija, Etiòpia, Etiopie, Etiopien, Etiopia nutome, Αιθιοπία, Etiopujo, Etioopia, اتیوپی, Ecoppi, Éthiopie, Ètiopie, An Aetóip, An Aetiòp, ઇથિઓપિયા, Habasha, אתיופיה, इथियोपिया, Etiopiska, Etyopi, Etiópia, Եթովպիա, Etyopia, Eþíópía, エチオピア, ეთიოპია, Itiopia, Uhabeshi, អេត្យូពី, ಇಥಿಯೋಪಿಯಾ, 이디오피아, ئەتیۆپیا, Ethiopi, Aethiopia, Esyopya, Etsíopi, ເອທິໂອເປຍ, Etshiopi, Етиопија, എത്യോപ്യ, इथिओपिया, Etijopja, အီသီယိုးပီးယား, Itiyopiya, इथोपिया, Itoophiyaa, ଇଥିଓପିଆ, حبشه, Etiyopiya, Эфиопия, ईथ्योपिया, Etiopïi, ඉතියෝපියාව, Itoobbiya, எதியோப்பியா, ఇథియోపియా, เอธิโอเปีย, ʻItiōpea, Etiyopya, ئېفىئوپىيە, Ефіопія, ایتھوپیا, Ê-ti-ô-pi-a (Ethiopia), Lätiopän, Orílẹ́ède Etopia, 埃塞俄比亚, i-Ethiopia

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