Maarten Schäfer

The road is packed with hundreds of trucks as we leave the Djibouti Palace Kempinski for a two-day drive to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Our driver and guide Daniel explains that as Ethiopia is landlocked, Djibouti’s port is Ethiopia’s main access to the sea. Every day dozens of ships dock at the port and unload their freight onto trucks that immediately set off on the 900-kilometre journey to Addis.

Before leaving Djibouti, we would like to visit one of its highlights, Lac Assal, a salt lake that lies 155 metres below sea level, the lowest point in Africa. As we skirt the Djibouti coastline, we pass a huge canyon that is known as the Afar Triangle, a ‘triple junction’ where three tectonic plates meet: the African, the Arabian and the Somali. The plates are drifting apart at a rate of several centimetres a year, so that the earth’s crust…

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