Exploring Afar in a nutshell
Hot Springs in Afar
Alalo bad hot springs
Alalo bad hot spring found 15 kms away from the region’s capital. Its wonderful colors, the availability of other hot springs around, the boiling mud and the presence of different wild animals make the hot spring unique and most attractive for the tourists, especially for medicine tourism.
The biggest in the region with 11,300 ha surface area lays 226 km North of Semera. One of the biggest salt mining sites in Ethiopia along adorned with a stunning beauty, Lake Afdera, is always in the minds and dishes of millions.
The Awash River terminates in a chain of about six shallow saline and freshwater lakes. The deep blue lakes fringed by lush salt-tolerant vegetation and surrounded by high mountains, support the dense population of Hippos and Crocodiles. The lakes form one of the most important waterbird sites in Ethiopia and attract large numbers of Palearctic migrants during the European winter; One of these lakes is Lake Gemeri.
At 110 km distance from Semera, the 8087 km2 wide Lake Abbe marks the boundary between Ethiopia and Djibouti. The long roving River Awash also halts its cross-country torrent finally falling to the beauty of Lake Abbe.
The 3000 ha wide peaceful lake Afambo lays calmly somewhere between Lake Gemeri and Lake Abbe.
Tendaho Artificial Lake
Tendaho artificial lake lays 10 km away from Semera is a wonderful area for fishing and water support.
The calm and cold watered Lake Loma with Ostriches, Zebras and field goat around is just 14 km west of Semera.
Caravans usually transport barsof salt produced in Lake As’ale. The 3600 ha wide ake lays 85 km from Berhale.
After men toil excruciatingly in this extremely hot place the final product of salt is usually transported on camelback along the ancient caravan routes.
Lake Yardi is 30 to 40 km far from Gewane. Walk the last 15 km and Hurray Birdwatchers! You can see various species of birds. Crocodiles, Hippos, and fish are also other features of the Lake Yardi.
Afar region is endowed with numerous rivers which flow seasonally and year round as well. Camping in the riversides is an excellent opportunity to see various endemic animals. The major rivers include Awash, Kesem Kebena, Awra, Golina, Dewe and Borkena.
Afar is known all over the world as a cradle to human history. Its collection of flora and fauna and ancient stone-made-hand tools show the prehistoric and cultural evolution of man at his earliest! For a visitor longing to see the root of humanity, such a remote place, just in terms of time, is not that far away in place. Come to Afar! Afar is not really afar.
The first geological explorations of the Hadar area had been done by Maurice Taieb. He apparently found Hadar in December 1970, by following one of the tributaries of the Ledi River, which originates in the highlands north of Bati to empty into the Awash River. Taeib recovered a number of fossils in the area and led a party back to Hadar in May 1972. In October 1973 the international Afar Research Expedition with 16 people arrived at Hadar and stayed there for two months, during which time the first hominid fossil was found. Based on their findings, they named the sedimentary geological information they examined the Hadar formation, which they dated between 3.5 and 2.3 million years ago or to the late Pliocene epoch.
Lower Valley of the Awash River
This area has been registered as a world heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its ancient collection of floral and faunal remains. Famed for being Lucy’s origin, Hadar is a home for various fossils of Australopithecus Afarnesis having an estimated age of 3 to 3.4 million years.
Hadar is located 150 km from Semera. However, if you are planning to start your journey from Eli Wuha, a town to the North of Hadar, your journey will only be 27 km.
Lucy “Dinknesh in her Amharic name”
In the mid-1960’s a certain International Afar Research Expedition had commenced digging and archeological researches around the riverside of Awash 27 km to the south of the town Elli Wuha where they found various fossils at a place called Hadar. Doctor Donald Johansson’s 1974 discovery, Lucy by name, is a prominent one with 3.2 million years of age.
A member of the 1973 expedition to Hadar, the archeologist Donald Johanson, returned to Hadar the next year to make the first discovery of the remains of Lucy, a three-million-year-old fossilized specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. The name ‘Lucy’ was inspired by the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, by Beatles, which happened to be playing on the radion at base camp.
Source: Afar National Regional State, Culture and Tourism Bureau, Tourist Guide, Third Edition 2014