Le Danakil est un désert au Nord-Est de l’Ethiopie, à la frontière avec l’Erythrée. C’est une zone géologique particulière, à la jonction de plusieurs plaques tectoniques créant une chaine volcanique surnommée « les Alpes Danakil »: on y compte plus de 30 volcans, actifs ou dormants (soit près du quart des volcans africains), nés pour la plupart il y a moins de 100.000 ans. La dépression doit sa spécificité au fait qu’elle est le point le plus bas du globe où on enregistre des records mondiaux de chaleur, le thermomètre affichant régulièrement 45°.

Among the volcanoes located in the depression, Dallol is a crater located at 136.8m below sea level. It is characterized by its interesting geological formations: fairy chimneys, hot springs, geysers ... which overall create an extraordinary landscape, unique natural color mix, in green, yellow, and other mixed colors. Dallol is located north of a salt lake, Lake Karoum also called Lake Assalé whose salt deposits sometimes reach 2000 meters in thickness.
Extraction of this salt remains the main economic activity of the Afar ethnic group, the only inhabitants of this inhospitable land. These semi-nomadic herders extract the salt and their camel caravans make a daily broom to bring this precious cargo out of this hostile environment. An expedition into the Danakil Depression necessarily provides for a stay in the Afar village, allowing us to familiarize ourselves with this ethnic group and its culture.

Much more known and easier to access, the Erta Ale, located south of the Dallol, is a volcano-like shield. Erta Ale means "smoking mountain" in Afar. It is considered the most active volcano of Africa since it is in continuous eruption since 1967 and its lava lake has remained permanent over the last 120 years. It is low (613 meters above sea level) but covers an area of 30km in diameter. On the caldera are two craters, from which lava lakes, that sometimes overflow, can be easily seen. It is accessed by night in order to get the best of the spectacle.