The Danakil Depression: The Most Hellish Place on Earth

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the lowest, hottest places on Earth. Geographically, it is part of the African Rift which extends from the African rift lakes of Malawi and Tanganyika, up through the Red Sea and into the Dead Sea of Jordan and Israel.

Politically, it is part of the Afar region, which has suffered from separatist violence in the past.

Ecologically, it is an extreme desert located below sea level, with temperatures which reach 50°C (122°F) on a regular basis.

To top it all off, it is also home to a volcano with one of the largest, open pits of exposed magma in the world.

Despite all of this, however, people live in the Danakil Depression and manage to eek out of living in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet Earth.

This is what I saw.

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Aksum, Ethiopia

Aksum, Ethiopia World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription: Situated in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, Aksum symbolizes the wealth and importance of the civilization of the ancient Aksumite kingdom, which lasted from the 1st to the 8th centuries AD. The kingdom was at the crossroads of the three continents: Africa, Arabia, and the Greco-Roman World, and was the …

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