Dallol, Ethiopia: The Hottest Inhabited Place on Earth

An Afar man overlooks Dallol’s psychedelic slat formations.

For those, who wish to explore an unearthly landscape and see the site resembling a Nasa footage, Dallol, Ethiopia is the right place to visit.

Located in the Afar Region of north-east Ethiopia, Dallol Desert hosts few active volcanoes, including Erta Ale. The place is full with an extraordinary lava lakes and sulfur pools. The colors of geysers, acidic hot springs and craters, varies from acid green to rusty red. It may look like an overdone photo enhancement, but the colors of Dallol are as real as they get.

Besides, the unusual geological conditions and hydrothermal zones, Dallol is the hottest place on the earth, according to Wikipedia. Obviously, the sun does its job, but the air and gas from hot sulfur springs and boiling lava lakes, cause the temperature to reach 94F on average. Not only Dallol is the hottest place on Earth, but driest as well.

The lava lake in the active volcano Erta Ale, one of only six lava lakes on Earth (Credit: Vivien Cumming)

When referred to Africa, many use the phrase The Cradle of Humankind. Well, in 1974, paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson discovered a skeleton of a most ancient early human ever found. “I realised this was part of a skeleton, that was older than three million years,” Johanson said.

It is a very remote and least explored part of the world. However, it is the home to the Afar people. They have a nomadic life, so they live in a mobile huts and have a small livestock. Thanks to the Awash river, the Afar people and animals are able to survive. For Afar people and others in the region, salt is the main source of income. They travel for days through the dry desert, to sell the salt. Long line of people, camel and donkeys, may seem like a mirage, for exhausted travellers.

Even though visiting Dallol is extremely dangerous, it is certainly possible. Visitors must be prepared for: driving around for hours, spending a night in a basic accommodations and staying well hydrated. Also, local guide and armed escort is a must.

If you can’t book a trip to Mars yet, you can visit Dallol and have a once in a lifetime adventure.

The Dallol volcano’s hydrothermal fields make a spectacular multi-coloured scene made up of salt deposits, hot springs and miniature geysers (Credit: Vivien Cumming)

Images via archangelosm.blogspot.com, bbc.com

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