From Hamed Ela we drive west, through the low hills at the edge of the Danakil Depression, to Berhale where the camel caravans end, and then up the escarpment – which is a bit more than just one vertical slope – and across the boundary fault, out of the rift valley.
We get back to Addis Ababa via Mekele and Kombolcha, a road we also took four weeks ago. Then it looked so dry, so barren here, but somehow, after more than a week in the Afar region, this now seems fertile paradise, there is actually water in some of the rivers, and irrigation along the banks, turning the fields green.
But after Erta Ale, after Dallol, we’re done. Trip completed, whatever there is left cannot generate the same interest anymore. The weather agrees with us, and for the first time in eight weeks it rains. Cloudburst, including a short hail storm! Water comes down from the hills in buckets, and in several places violently crosses the tarmac road. Glad we have four-wheel drive, even here!
It keeps raining, on and off, all the way to Addis Abeba, all the way to the airport.
next: the last entry, some observations in the end