A Journey To The Hottest Place On Earth: Dallol Ethiopia


No one travels alone to the hottest place on earth. You need, for starters, a driver and a Jeep stocked with water bottles and four days of non-perishable food. And because that Jeep is bound to sink in the fine sand of the desert, you need another Jeep (and another driver) to tug it out. There are no places to lodge or dine in this desert, so you’ll need space for cots, a cook, plus a few armed guards, because the hottest place on earth is also somewhat lawless. And finally, because an entourage of this size costs many thousands of dollars, you’ll need some fellow travelers to split the bill – the sort of people who like to fry themselves on vacation.

My father is the easiest recruit. Dad, who naps best roasting in the afternoon sun, is a lover of extreme heat. He’s also an extreme traveler, drawn to the fringes of places, all the countries where no one honeymoons. Alone, he’s wandered Rwanda, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan andSierra Leone. From my father, I’ve inherited both tendencies: I’m known for getting pig-pink sunburns, and also for stalking the edges of maps.

The Danakil desert lies on the fringes of three maps – the maps of Ethiopia, Eritrea andDjibouti. All three countries claim a sliver of this sweltering, low-lying desert, named the cruelest place on earth by National Geographic. It’s also a tectonic triple juncture – three plates converge here – as well as a major volcanic hub. I don’t have to mention any of this to my father – not the endless salt flats, lakes the color of Listerine, or camels by the thousands. When Dad starts calling this desert “the Frying Pan,” I know he’s in. Read full story on Gadling.com.