This is a short trip lasting for 3 weeks – starting 7 October 2018

Weeks 1 & 2: I will be taking in the sights and sounds of the capital city – Addis Ababa – and the surrounding area and writing about my experiences.

Week 3: I will be going on a Brilliant Ethiopia expedition to the Danakil Depression to visit Erta Ale – an active lava lake in “one of the driest, lowest and hottest places on earth” – and then stopping off in Lalibella to see the amazing ancient rock churches, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Brilliant Ethiopia itinerary (organised tour of the Danakil and then tailor-made add-on in Lalibela)

Day 1: Drive you to Afdera via the small village of Eribt. Afdera is home to Lake Afdera, where you can have a swim and enjoy the hot springs around the lake. Spend the evening camping by the lake in this beautiful region.

Day 2: In the morning, drive to Mekele to begin your journey into the Danakil Depression. Visit the salt miners before driving to Dodom at the base of Erta Ale. The trek to the crater takes about 3 hrs. Have an early dinner around 17:00 hrs and trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hrs. Camels transport all the camping materials and food to the rim of the volcano, where you spend the night watching the boiling lava. You will sleep in a local shelter on the top of the mountain.

Erta Ale ranks as one of the most amazing natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. The north crater is noted for being the longest existing lava lake, and south crater is the most active lava lake.

Day 3: Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise and visit the north crater. Descend from Erta Ale around 07:00am. Drive to Dodom. After breakfast, proceed to Hamad Ela (100km), having a picnic lunch on the way in the shade of palm trees. Reach Hamad Ela at 16:30. Hamad Ela has a total population of about 500 people.

Day 4: In the morning while it is still cool, drive to Dallol. The fantastic greens, reds, yellows, pinks, whites and blacks of the salt deposits here are kaleidoscopic sights amidst the searing heat of this remote, alien landscape. Drive back to Ragad (Asebo), where the locals mine salt and load their camel caravans. Following your visit here, drive ahead to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele. Overnight hotel in Mekele.

Day 5: Fly from Mekele to Lalibela. Spend the afternoon exploring the first cluster of rock-hewn churches in Lalibela.

Day 6: Explore the second cluster of rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and go to the incredible Ben Abeba restaurant for dinner.

Day 7: Fly back to Addis, and then home!