1 Stopover from London to Djibouti in Addis Ababa.
2 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.
3 'Grand Barra' bar in the Kempinski where we ended up 3 nights (instead of the planned 2).
4 At Dolphin Excursions loading up the car with water and food for 3 days.
5 A sign you don't see every day!
7 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.
8 Village on the way from Dikhil to Lac Abbé.
10 Getting closer to our first point of interest: Lac Abbé and surrounds.
11 First glimpse of the surreal landscape on the shores of Lac Abbé. It stayed hazy during our whole stay in Djibouti.
12 Camel train.
13 In fact they were all dromedaries (one hump).
16 The car in the photo gives some idea of the scale of the place.
17 Stephen and Adu, our driver and guide.
18 These 'chimneys' as they are called are all the result of continuous geo-thermal activity and are dried sand belched up.
19 Camp 'As Bolé' our home for the night.
20 Overview of As Bolé camp from the dining tent.
21 Wwe went for a sunset walk amongst the chimneys but due to the continuing haze we didn't get the usual spectacluar views.
22 It was still pretty amazing though.
24 Sunrise walk the next morning.
25 It is the most surreal looking and feeling landscape we have ever seen.
26 Often described as lunar like.
28 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...
29 We encountered more dromedaries and....
30 ... impalas while leaving Lac Abbé.
31 We wnet for a detour in the Grand Barra dessert.
32 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#
33 Camp 'La Faille' looked good from afar but was rather delapidated.
34 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.
35 Truly dinner under electric candlelight. The moths joined us in droves.
36 Waking up in the morning.
38 Leaving camp 'LaFaille', on the shores of the Bay of Ghoubbet , part of the Gulf of Tadjoura.
39 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.
40 Looking out over the volcanic area with Lac Assal in the distance. Still hazy as.
42 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!
43 On the way back to Djibouti City.
44 Back at the Kempinski in the eveing; and lo and behold the haze was actually clearing a little.
46 Celebrating another succesfull descent! Three for Stephen, four for Caroline.
47 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.
48 We spent another day at the Kempinski. There are worse places to get stuck!
49 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!