In Eastern Ethiopia, near the southern end of the Red Sea, an immense, more or less triangular depression descends far below sea level (at some points 120 meter below sea level). Known as the Danakil Depression, this extremely hot and dry area is actually a part of the Africa's Great Rift Valley. In this seemingly inhospitable area there live the nomadic Afar people who number about 3 million. Their external borders are Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia. The region where these people live in, is also called Afar-one of the nine regions of Ethiopia. Its new capital named Semera on the paved Awash - Assab highway is under construction.
The Afar Depression
The Afar Depression is a plate tectonic triple junction where the spreading ridges that are forming the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden emerge on land and meet the East African Rift valley. The Afar Depression is one of two places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land, the other being Iceland. At present, the Afar is slowly being pulled apart at a rate of 1-2 cm per year. The floor of the Afar Depression is composed mostly of basaltic lava. The Afar Depression and Triple Junction also mark the location of a mantle plume, a great uprising of mantle that melts to yield basalt. This place which used to be part of the Red Sea has kilometers of salt deposits. In some places the slat deposits are about 3miles (5 KMS) thick. Below a salt lake is a substantial source of volcanic heat which causes hot water to rise through layers of salt and anhydrite deposits. Minerals get dissolved and are deposited, near the springs, and form shapes very much reminiscent (but smaller than) hornitos on basaltic lava flows. Sulphur, other minerals and possibly thermophyle bacteria cause spectacular colours.
Erta Ale ( also spelled as Arta Ale , Herta Ale ) is one of the spectacular and unique places in Afar- Ethiopia ( May be in the world ). It is the most active isolated shield Volcano in Ethiopia famed for its long-standing lava lake activity. This volcano is situated in the Danakil depression of Northern Afar along the NNW-SSE trending Erta Ale range.
Yangudi Rassa National Park
Year of Establishment: 1977 G.C but the steps needed to officially establish this park have not been completed as of 2002.
Area: 4731 sq.km of territory includes Mount Yangudi and the surrounding Rassa Plains.
Found: Yangudi Rassa National Park is Located in the Afar Region 430 km away from Addis Ababa
Key species: 36 species of mammals, including Wild ass, Greby zebra, gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Hamadryas Baboon, Soemmering’s gatelle, Dorcas Gazelles, and alt’s dik-dik. This park also has 136 species of birds including 2 endemics.
Unique physical feature: Awash River, Mount Yangudi.
Visitor facilities: not yet developed/Billen lodge can be served hotel in Gawane.