The Danakil, or Afar, depression, which encompasses a good portion of the eastern part of the Tigray region, is one of the earth’s hottest and most in hospitable places, with many points more than 100 metres (328 feet) below sea level and noontime temperatures soaring above 50 C (122F) It is the site of a dry salt taken to the highlands, where it is still in considerable demand and fetches a good price. The landscape of the Danakil seems carved from the infernos of hell and is a reminder of the furies that once ravaged this region, with volcanic cones rising above the scabs of black lava. Earth tremors are frequent, and there are several still active volcanoes n the area.
Amazingly, there is also wildlife to be seen here, particularly zebra and wild ass. And uninhabitable as this place may seem, it is nevertheless inhabited by thousands of Afar nomads. Tempestuous, proud, and individualistic, they live in small isolated groups and somehow manage to wrest a living –thanks to the salt –from this challenging and inhospitable wilderness. Using the camel as their beast of burden, they also keep sheep, goats, and cattle on the edge of the Danakil Desert or in the vicinity of the Awash River, where coarse grass grows.