The Danakil Depression: The Most Unforgiving Place on Earth
Incredible pics show, the Danakil Depression, a vast desert basin at the heart of Ethiopia’s ancient salt trade where miners toil in 50C heat.
The Danakil Depression, in the country’s Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, is one of the hottest, driest and lowest places on the planet.
Combined, this means the stunning landscape – that lies at 410ft (125m) below sea level and receives just 100mm of rainfall per year – is one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
Despite this, Ethiopians continue to make the long trek to collect salt from the sun-blasted earth before transporting the slabs back by camel.
It is a tradition that has continued for centuries – but this way of life could be threatened by the construction of a road to make the process more efficient.
Walking around the Danakil Depression, you could be forgiven you had landed on another planet.
There are volcanoes with bubbling lava lakes, multi-colored hydrothermal fields, and great salt pans that would dazzle any onlooker.
Lines of camels can also be seen crossing the desert in an impressive spectacle that almost looks like a mirage.
The geological depression is caused by the Afar Triple Junction – a place where three tectonic plates join.
It overlaps the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia.
The Danakil Depression is also part of the great East African Rift Valley.