Snapshot in Time: The Alien Landscape of Dallol


Dallol, Ethiopia’s most enigmatic locale, represents a superlative experience. Neither the best nor the worst place to visit, it nevertheless lays claim to being the hottest inhabited place on Earth. With temperatures exceeding 50 degrees this is no small achievement.

It’s a truly surreal place. Indeed, it’s so hot one barely comprehends the heat, such are the unreal temperatures. The feeling is one of an alien ghost town. Sandy mirages add a shimmer to the craggy, craggy horizon and to see any evidence of human settlement is an unnerving affair. What kind of spirits would live in such an unforgiving environment?

Even more impressively, its outlier nature is outdone by the hot springs. Here is one of the planet’s lowest (100 metres below sea level), driest places. The former record in particular is a strange one: logically, you’d expect some kind of peaks but there’s nothing of the sort. Only flat, salty earth. 

What will be remembered, however, are the natural wonders. The idea of acid pools, bubbling sulphur pits and multi-coloured volcanic hydrothermal fields bring to mind a fever dream. Here they are made flesh. A spectacular scene – comprising geysers and volcanic salt- awaits as Ethiopia’s most extreme landscape reveals itself. (Grumpy Editor: One day you should write a proper story about this kind of stuff)

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