P1040055  Stopover from London to Djibouti in Addis Ababa. : Stephen Coney DSC 0440  Upon arrival in Djibouti City and our hotel (Kempinski in the background) we noticed it was very hazy but we didn't think too much of it at the time. P1040071  'Grand Barra' bar in the Kempinski where we ended up 3 nights (instead of the planned 2). DSC 0025  At Dolphin Excursions loading up the car with water and food for 3 days. DSC 0047  A sign you don't see every day! DSC 0056  Roadkill.
DSC 0071  On leaving Djibouti City it was still very hazy. We didn't know it at the time but it was due to a volcanic eruption in neighboring Eritrea a few days before. DSC 0115  Village on the way from Dikhil to Lac Abbé. DSC 0126 DSC 0148  Getting closer to our first point of interest: Lac Abbé and surrounds. DSC 0167  First glimpse of the surreal landscape on the shores of Lac Abbé. It stayed hazy during our whole stay in Djibouti. DSC 0170  Camel train.
DSC 0175  In fact they were all dromedaries (one hump). DSC 0192 DSC 0201 DSC 0203  The car in the photo gives some idea of the scale of the place. DSC 0206  Stephen and Adu, our driver and guide. : Adu DSC 0233  These 'chimneys' as they are called are all the result of continuous geo-thermal activity and are dried sand belched up.
DSC 0239  Camp 'As Bolé'  our home for the night. DSC 0252  Overview of As Bolé camp from the dining tent. DSC 0258  Wwe went for a sunset walk amongst the chimneys but due to the continuing haze we didn't get the usual spectacluar views. DSC 0267  It was still pretty amazing though. DSC 0273 : Stephen Coney P1040093  Sunrise walk the next morning. : Stephen Coney, Caroline
DSC 0298  It is the most surreal looking and feeling landscape we have ever seen. DSC 0323  Often described as lunar like. DSC 0326 DSC 0371  This is the area were supposedly part of the 1973 'Planet of the Apes' was filmed. We have not yet been able to get that 100% verified as all online sources seem to get their info from one source. We have not found anything on the official movie websites - yet... DSC 0417  We encountered more dromedaries and.... DSC 0598  ... impalas while leaving Lac Abbé.
DSC 0472  We wnet for a detour in the Grand Barra dessert. DSC 0584  Later that day we arrived at the main purpose of our trip to Djibouti: Lac Assal, the lowest surface point on the African continent. For photos: http://7lows.com/photos/africa/photos.html# DSC 0642  Camp 'La Faille' looked good from afar but was rather delapidated. P1040115  Not to worry though. We slept in the open, as the huts in the background were entirely built from corrugated iron and would have been like an oven in the summer temperatures. Day high: 48°C; night high: 36°C. P1040117  Truly dinner under electric candlelight. The moths joined us in droves. DSC 0693  Waking up in the morning.
DSC 0706 DSC 0716  Leaving camp 'LaFaille', on the shores of the Bay of Ghoubbet , part of the Gulf of Tadjoura. DSC 0745  We went for a drive through some amzing volcanic area. Here 3 tectonic plates converge: the Arabian , African and Somali Plates.This is all part of the Rift Valley. DSC 0748  Looking out over the volcanic area with Lac Assal in the distance. Still hazy as. DSC 0709 DSC 0760  On the way back to the main road this happened - 4 times. Luckily all got fixed in the end and we did not have to hike out!
DSC 0777  On the way back to Djibouti City. DSC 0001  Back at the Kempinski in the eveing; and lo and behold the haze was actually clearing a little. DSC 0009 P1040143  Celebrating another succesfull descent! Three for Stephen, four for Caroline. : Stephen Coney P1040159  At the Ethiopean Airlines office the next morning, to try and sort our cancelled flights. Evidently the haze hadn't cleared enough; there had even been a second eruption 1 or 2 days ago.Very difficult to get straight answers, or anything done for that matter, here. : Stephen Coney P1040168  We spent another day at the Kempinski. There are worse places to get stuck! : Stephen Coney
P1040174  When we got to Addis Ababa and were issued actual boarding passes for the next flight to London, we didn't dare believe it until we were actually boarding the plane! : Stephen Coney