This ‘Gateway Of Hell’ In Ethiopia Is So Hot But Still Manages To Lure In Travellers With Its Extraterrestrial Beauty

Experience the extreme heat and otherworldly landscapes.

by Mallika Khurana
This ‘Gateway Of Hell’ In Ethiopia Is So Hot But Still Manages To Lure In Travellers With Its Extraterrestrial Beauty

Nestled within the vast expanse of Ethiopia’s Afar region lies a place so extraordinary that it defies imagination. Welcome to the Danakil Depression, a geological marvel born from the relentless dance of tectonic plates. As three colossal plates—African, Asian, and Somali—drift apart at a snail’s pace, they carve out a mesmerising depression that beckons adventurers from across the globe.

Exploring Earth’s Hottest Wonder, The Danakil Depression

Photo Credits: Canva

Imagine an environment that looks like it belongs in a science fiction book: horizon-spanning salt lakes, colourful, acidic springs bubbling with strange colours, and towering volcanoes that explode with fire. This is the Danakil Depression, the unbounded creative force of nature. The African, Asian, and Somali tectonic plates converge at a geological crossroads in the centre of this bizarre world. 

The bones of “Lucy,” a 3.2 million-year-old progenitor of modern humans, were discovered there, providing insight into humanity’s origins. Scientists are drawn to the area’s acidic springs, where they speculate about the possibility of life’s beginnings on Earth as well as beyond.

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From Hellish Heat To Heavenly Hues

Erta Ale
Photo Credits: Canva

At the heart of the Danakil Depression lies Erta Ale, aptly named “Smoking Mountain” in the Afar language. This active volcano boasts one of the world’s few remaining lava lakes. Its fiery glow casts an eerie yet captivating spectacle under temperatures that soar above 40°C (104°F).

Nearby, the Dallol Crater mesmerises visitors with its vibrant, multi-hued springs, geysers, and fissures. This surreal landscape, with average temperatures reaching 35°C (95°F), serves as a testament to the Earth’s geological diversity and dynamic processes. Surrounding these geological wonders are two hypersaline lakes, Lake Karum and Lake Afrera. Their shimmering surfaces add to the ethereal allure of the Danakil Depression.

Step into the Danakil Depression, and you’ll enter a realm where heat reigns supreme. With temperatures soaring above 35°C (95°F) year-round and little relief from the scorching sun, it’s a place where even the hardiest souls pause in awe.

Some call it a gateway to hell, a realm so punishing it seems otherworldly. Yet, for intrepid travellers, the allure is undeniable. They come seeking the surreal, the extreme, and the unforgettable—and in the Danakil Depression, they find it all.

From its fiery volcanoes to its technicolour springs, this is a land where the forces of nature reign supreme.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva