Land Rover GREAT AFRICAN RIFT VALLEY EXPEDITION
Land Rover Dispatch 18 – On the rim of an erupting lava lake
Greetings from Erta Ale the most active volcano in Africa. With armed guards and a camel to carry the water we walked through the night to avoid the fierce heat of the Danakil Depression to stand on the rim of an erupting lava lake. None of the expedition team has witnessed anything like this in their lives before.
To propitiate the spirits of our Rift Valley odyssey, we toss a silver coin into the bubbling caldera. Several earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Erta Ale suggesting that a major eruption maybe imminent. It's tough going back to base camp, hard underfoot over blistering volcanic landscape.
Here people survive by drinking what ever water they can find be it stagnant pools or puddles left over from the last rain. Later we distribute LifeStraws to Afar communities. Each LifeStraw filters a thousand liters of clean drinking water. It is fulfilling to improve lives through adventure`- thank you Land Rover for making it possible. We’ll keep you posted.
Land Rover Dispatch 19 – Welcome to the desert
Our Rift Valley humanitarian journey continues. Behind us now is Djibouti and Lake Assal (lowest point in Africa) Deset island (lowest island in the world) and Erta Ale (Africa's most active volcano) Now we must cross the dangerous Danakil desert. We check water, fuel and supplies. Our guide Ali Abdella has organised two men each with a Kalashnikov (AK 47). The Danakil's climatic inhospitality is mirrored by the reputation of its nomadic Afar inhabitants, who as recently as the Italian occupation in 1937 had the somewhat discouraging custom of welcoming strangers by lopping of their testicles. Hope we keep ours!
Land Rover Dispatch 20 – Lost in the Danakil desert – dispatch sent by satellite phone
Flash floods in the distant highlands have made part of the Danakil track impassable and we are having to navigate by the seat of our pants – very difficult when Ross who is navigating has got dysentery and is being fed antibiotics and Rehidrate. With tyres down to 1 bar we grind through choking powder soft dust and then pump them hard again to bounce over ancient solidified lava flows. It is incredibly tough on man and machine. Get lost out here and that will be the last you hear from us. We’ll keep you posted…
Land Rover Dispatch 21 – Things are getting hotter
The Zen of Travel is with us. We find the salt caravan route to Hamed Ela. Our next objective is to cross the actual Danakil Depression – officially the hottest place on earth, but it's not that easy. This close to Eritrea security is tight and already half a dozen AK47- toting freeloaders are wanting to make a quick buck by securing our safety. We’ll keep you posted.