Ethiopia: out of the desert!

It is another two days’ drive to emerge out of the Danakil desert. At first, we see a few green shoots, then houses which look a bit more “permanent”, finally trees and even an actual hotel!

Our first shower in four days (cold, not hot, unfortunately…) is at the Erta Ale motel, in the town of Semera. The administrative capital of the Afar region, it comprises of a few concrete buildings and about ten petrol stations in the middle of the desert. The motel is wedged between a mosque and a petrol station so that we spend a rather restless night.

But after camping in the Danakil country, a night in a (relatively…) clean hotel has become a luxury. Never mind the lack of hot water, the muezzin calls to prayer in the middle of the night and the restaurant menu limited to goat…in all possible variations (goat curry, goat soup, goat cutlet, goat maitre d’hotel…).

the highway connecting Awash to Assab, on the Red Sea, crosses the Danakil like an extra-territorial presence
Afar on the move, with their houses carried on camelback, like Thesiger described it in the 1930s.
Erta Ale motel, in Semera. Luxury is a relative concept.
back to civilization!
on the way to Awash
Charles de Gaulle and Haile Selassie stayed here