Pursuant to Tuesday’s “don’t go there” post…
Some ICS teachers spent last October break in the Danakil Depression in northern Ethiopia, the place National Geographic called the “cruelest environment on earth.” I was sorry to miss that excursion, but we’d already booked a safari in South Africa and I figured I’d get another chance. Sure enough, a group of adventuring teachers is putting together a visit to Danakil over an upcoming weekend.
According to Philip Briggs, author of the 2009 Bradt guide to Ethiopia:
The Danakil’s climatic inhospitality is mirrored by the reputation of its nomadic Afar inhabitants…who as recently as the Italian occupation had the somewhat discouraging custom of welcoming strangers by lopping off their testicles. While scrotal intactness is no longer a cause for concern, the Danakil remains a challenging travel destination: daytime temperatures frequently soar above 50°C [122°F], there’s no shade worth talking about as alleviation, the heat is often exacerbated by the fierce gale known as the Gara (Fire Wind), and creature comforts are limited to what you bring in yourself. (311)
Tourists do sometimes get kidnapped in that region. Well, says one of our friends organizing the tour, if it happens to us maybe they’ll let us call in to work and extend the holiday. Ha ha.
Are we actually going on this trip? Of course. Who could resist the superlatives on the tour’s website: “one of the most inhospitable regions of the world;” “This may be one of the worst road in the world.”
And we are reassured by the safety measures:
- Scout and police service in Afar Region as per the program.
- Camel and camel tires in Afar Region as per the program.
I may go just to find out what a camel tire is.
The intro to this BBC travel video features some nice shots of Danakil (thanks for this, Hannah)