Category Archives: Danakil

What’s happening in Ethiopia now?

Community celebrate at Festival in Meket

Community celebrate at Festival in Meket

Of course people planning to visit Ethiopia are asking us what is happening now in Ethiopia. There were a spate of news articles as a result of the declaration of the State of Emergency a few weeks back, but as so often with news around the world, interest dries up as fast as it comes and now there is ‘no story’ to report.

This is because there is no more violence, no roads blocked, no strikes, in fact no reason not to come and visit Ethiopia.

Tesfa Tours Landcruiser by salt canyons in Danakil Depression

Tesfa Tours Landcruiser by salt canyons in Danakil Depression

Tesfa Tours has two minibuses with clients coming back from a trip to the north. They drove up to Dessie and Lalibela via a Tesfa trek in Meket.  They then continued from Lalibela to Mekele, visited the Danakil and some places in Tigray before returning.

On 1st November we have 3 landcruisers picking up clients in Gondar and taking them to the Simiens, and on to Tigray. After visits in Axum and Gheralta they will drive back south the Lalibela, spend a few days on a Tesfa trek in Meket, and visit Bahir Dar, before flying to Addis.

The Mountain Nyala only found in Bale Mountains

Mountain Nyala, Bale, Ethiopia

Another group of tourists have just returned from a trek in the Bale Mountains – this was the texted feedback:-

“Got there and back safely. Nyala,  warthog, wolf , golden eagle, fox they were all there. Rain, sunshine, hail, cold, and much more rain and cold. Absolutely no problems. Great trip. Got the blisters to prove it. Thanx for all your help and advice mate. Next stop Siemens with Tesfa.”

Other clients from UK just finished a trek in Meket and a visit to Lalibela and said on Facebook: “Holiday of a lifetime, highly recommended. Don’t be put off by The Foreign & Commonwealth Office.” (see this quote and their photos on Tesfa Tours’ Facebook page).

Villages below the Meket Escarpment

Villages below the Meket Escarpment

We agree – don’t be put off Ethiopia by the media coverage and travel advisories. Tourism earns much needed money for Ethiopia, money that is driven directly to small businesses and local employees, and in the case of the Tesfa community treks, a big chunk goes straight into the heart of the rural countryside, with villagers earning money by hosting their guests. That could be you.

In the words of one of the guests of the Meket community this month: “Truly the most exhilarating and humbling experience. Inspirational people, fabulous hospitality,stunning views. Magical memories! Thank you for this amazing opportunity.”

Leave a comment

Always wanted to see the spectacular Danakil?

Ertale Volcano

Ertale caldera – feel the heat of a live volcano

Why not come and se the spectacular Ertale Volcano, and the Dalol salt flats with their mineral deposits? Its like no place on earth!

We have two clients looking to make a trip to the Danakil within the period 17th November -28th November.

An ideal group size is 4-6 people.  We do not like sending large groups.

potash and sulpher deposits

Spectacular mineral deposits at Dalol

We have expert guides and drivers and the best rugged Toyota Hardtops (landcruisers) with A/C electric windows etc, to make sure your trip is safe and comfortable.

We take a good cook and equipment from Mekele including a camping shower and toilet.

We take jerrycans of good drinking water from the highlands to save the environmental cost of taking too many plastic bottles although we do take  some plastic water bottles.  All along the route local people – police, local guards and guides etc – demand water.

Tesfa Tours own well-maintained 4WDs

Tesfa Tours own well-maintained 4WDs

Prices vary upon the final numbers. If you are interested email tigist@tesfatours.com for more details, or call Tigi on 011 126 0303 or 011 124 5178, or alternatively pop in to our office on Kebena roundabout in Addis.

Caravans carry the salt from the Danakil

Caravans carry the salt from the Danakil

Salt and other mineral deposits take strange shapes and interesting colours

Salt and other mineral deposits take strange shapes and interesting colours

Salt blocks

Salt is still cut and taken from Danakil

Mineral springs - very colourful

Mineral springs – very colourful

Leave a comment

Danakil adventure

How about a Danakil Adventure?

Its an incredible trip with visits to the mineral lakes and deposits in the Danakil Depression and a night ascent of the live Volcanic crater – Ertale.

You will see caravans of salt and the salt being extracted from the desert floor.

A typical trip departs Mekele on day 1 in the morning (around 9 or 10am) , and returns to Mekele in the afternoon of day 4 – 4 days and 3 nights. Costs depend very much on numbers, we will provide you with top quality 4WDs with experienced drivers and a top class guide.

Please contact us on – info@tesfatours.com – if you are interested to join on this trip.

IMG_7154 IMG_7200 IMG_7095

Leave a comment

Is it safe to travel in Ethiopia?

Yes it is safe, and you will have a wonderful holiday here.

You have probably heard about the recent attack on tourists in the Danakil depression. The British government travel advice has been advising against travel to this area since 2007. However with the exception of the Somaliland part of  Ethiopia, the immediate border area with Eritrea, Sudan and Kenya and the area around Gambela in the extreme west of the country, other parts of Ethiopia are considered safe.

Ethiopia is a huge country with mountains and deserts and many different people living across the length and breadth of the country. The Danakil is a desert area lived in by a tough nomadic people, and is very different from the highlands of Ethiopia where Tesfa Tours runs the community tourism treks and where the ancient capitals and cities of Ethiopia are found (Lalibela, Gondar and Axum). Banditry in the Danakil is a traditional part of life and was known about by explorers such as Wilfred Thesinger who went there with a large guard in the 1920s.

I have been living in Ethiopia since 1998 and am here with my two young children. I take them around the country with me and have no hesitation to continue to do so – just not to the Danakil at this time. I hope in the future the Danakil trips can restart. There will always be a greater risk there – not least from the intense heat and remoteness, however it is a truly beautiful part of the country and it does also bring much needed income to the Afar people who live there.

Ethiopian people are truly hospitable and welcome your visit, and the country is one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful places. Please do not cancel your trip to Ethiopia, or stop your plans because of this one terrible incident in a far off remote area. Contact us for more information on safety and security – or check the government advice such as the British FCO advice.

Mark Chapman

 

Leave a comment