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Ethiopia – The Danakil Depression: A Selection of 41 Pictures

Sunrise over the Salt Lake (Lake Asal), near Dallol

Sunrise over the Salt Lake (Lake Asal), near Dallol

The 2 expeditions I made in the Danakil Depression (6 days in January 2011 & 5 days in November 2015) both rank amongst the most challenging and most expensive ones I have ever undertaken. But nothing, nothing will ever take away these memories: each day brought a new highlight, each minute something unseen, unique and spectacular!

Nonetheless, the Danakil Depression is no longer at the “End of the World”. It is now much easier and much cheaper to reach, and the number of tourists is increasing exponentially. Changes were already noticeable in less than 5 years… Continue Reading →

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Expeditions To The The Danakil Depression

A Travel Guide To The Hottest Place On Earth… But No Longer At The End Of The World!

Crater of the most active volcano in Africa with a permanent lava lake, Erta Ale, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Crater of the most active volcano in Africa with a permanent lava lake, Erta Ale

Still “Terra Incognita” in 2010 when I decided to go there (I had actually never heard about it and could actually only find very little information about the area, both in Travel Guides like the Bradt Guide or the Lonely Planet & Online), the Danakil Depression has turned increasingly popular in the last years, and is now easier to reach than ever… and hence changing at high speed! So let me start with a very practical advice: if you ever want to go there, go NOW! Continue Reading →

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The Rock-Hewn Churches Of Tigray

Abraha We Atsbeha, Wukro Cluster, Rock-Hewn Church of Tigray, Ethiopia, Africa

Abraha We Atsbeha, Wukro Cluster, Rock-Hewn Church of Tigray, Ethiopia, Africa

With around 120 Rock-Hewn Churches and breathtaking landscape with sharp peaks that rise from the desert highlands of Northern Ethiopia, Tigray has a lot to offer. Nonetheless, the difficulty to travel there makes it still quite Off The Beaten Track, except maybe for the 2-3 most famous churches where you might meet tour groups on their way from Aksum to Mekele or Lalibela. Continue Reading →

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Lalibela – Ethiopia’s Jerusalem

Bet Giyorgis Rock-Hewn Church, Lalibela, Ethiopia, Africa

Bet Giyorgis Rock-Hewn Church

Lalibela will most probably instill both a real fascination (especially if you are discovering Ethiopia’s Jerusalem for the first time) and a certain disappointment (especially if you are returning there after a few years)…

Fascination, because the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela probably belong to some of the most magnificent and breathtaking religious monuments you will see in your lifetime, and definitely the most unexpected ones. Fascination also, if you have the privilege to discover Lalibela over (Orthodox) Easter, when pilgrim congregate in Lalibela for a 3 day fasting marathon… A moment of rare devotion and spirituality! Continue Reading →

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5 Things To Do In Bahir Dar

 Ancient Monasteries Saying Farewell To The Blue Nile

Religious (Christian Orthodox) Wall Paintings, Azewa Mariam Monastery, Lake Tana, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Religious (Christian Orthodox) Wall Paintings, Azewa Mariam Monastery, Lake Tana, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

The picturesque town of Bahir Dar is the gateway to 37 ancient monasteries that dot the shores and islands of Lake Tana. It is also the source of the Blue Nile, which fascinated ancient Egyptians and modern day explorers alike. Even 21st Century tourists are still drawn in by the romanticizing tales and exotic flair. Continue Reading →

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Gonder – Ancient Capital Of Ethiopia

Fasilida's Casstle, Fasil Ghebbi, the Royal Enclosure, Gonder, Ethiopia, Africa

Fasilida’s Casstle, Fasil Ghebbi, the Royal Enclosure, Gonder, Ethiopia, Africa

An approx. 4 hour drive from Bahir Dar, the small town of Gonder offers the most beautiful vestige of a once great Empire which influence reached far beyond Africa’s borders… King Fasilidas made of Gonder the Capital of his Empire in the 17th Century, and did so in the most perfect place: a large valley protected by the surrounding high mountains, on two major trade routes, not far from the shores of Lake Tana, on the sources of the Nile. Continue Reading →

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Aksum – Raiders Of The Lost Ark?

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The Great Stele, Main Stelae Field, Aksum, Ethiopia, Africa

Aksum changed A LOT in 5 years… This sleepy town, quite Off The Beaten Track 5 years ago, is now on the itinerary of all travel agencies, and you will meet large tour groups in all better hotels & restaurants in town. The good news is: there are so many things to do and see in and around Aksum that you will more often than not only see very few tourists during the day… Continue Reading →

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11 Things To Do In Harar

At the Market in Harar, East Ethiopia

At the Market in Harar, East Ethiopia

Harar, in the lowlands and the desert East of the country, is a place apart in Ethiopia. This is probably the only city that you can fully discover on foot and that will invite you for long strolls. Plan a few days if you want to truly enjoy it and stay in the Old City! Continue Reading →

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Addis Abeba – Check The Museums!

Reconstitution of Lucy, National Museum, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

Reconstitution of Lucy, National Museum, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

As many large African cities, Addis Abeba is very difficult to apprehend for newcomers: a widespread, nondescript grid of busy streets lined with low concrete blocks and congested with traffic, with no clearly identifiable center. To make matters worse, you need a car to move around, as distances are huge, far too big for pedestrians… Continue Reading →

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