“So tell me, where is Dallol?” I wonder. I didn’t even know there was a place by that name. It’s night. I find myself in the Botswana savannah and I am turning 40. Sitting with my back to the fire, surrounded by hyenas, I try to spot them with a torch and not let them approach the tents where we will sleep. “In Danakil, on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is one hell of a place, the most inhospitable in the world. Temperature reaches up to60 degrees – but this is unique,” says my fellow traveler.
“There are salt deserts, toxic water pools reflecting incredible sunsets and volcanoes with craters in which lava boils in the open sky. The formations of the Dallol are incredible, with its geysers and salty colorful concretions.”
I decide immediately. I got to go. If I survive hyenas.
I wouldn’t recommend any of you go to Dallol. Here you come by personal choice, not by touristic suggestion. The region is at the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea: because of military conflicts, you are required to travel under escort-
The salty desert formed after the Red Sea retreat millions of years ago. Today, there is a former volcanic crater located in the Rift Valley, where the Arabian Plaque and the African Plaque are drifting away. On the borders of the crater, open to visitors only since 2001, nature has created a psychedelic landscape. .
Acidic hot springs, sulphur mountains, small gas geysers, acid fluid tanks and salty concretions with bright colors. The scenery continues to change, year after year, the concretions vary in color and move along the crater. Only certain pathways are permitted as emissions from geysers and fumerolles are toxic. The soil is fragile and breaks under our feet. Acid tanks often become real traps for animals and men.
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