Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Lake Assal

Just back from the lowest point in Africa, and the saltiest lake in the world!
Lake Assal is a dead sea of salty water, 150m below sea level, and the third lowest point in the world.

The start of the drive was depressing as we passed through acres of dusty yards with dozens of trucks and tankers which take stuff by road from Djibouti to thee land-locked Ethiopia.
The I saw three camels wandering down the middle of a four lane paved highway!

Gradually we moved out of the city into a bleak landscape, dry dusty and rocky.The local Afar people live in "bungalows" made of twigs and course fabric:

They depend on the government to refill blue drums of water by the roadside, as there is so little rain:

The lake looks rather like a Canadian lake in winter, with white stuff collecting along the shoreline, but its almost 40 degrees above freezing, not below!

I bought a small packet of salt spheres, about 4mm across. This is a rare form of salt, and the subject of an article on the salt news website (link below). I paid 200 DjF, just over $1. My driver paid 500DjF for a similar packet of regular salt, which I was offered for 100 DjF! Am I better at haggling or am I just mean?

Its hard to imagine how impossibly tough life must be for the Afar nomads, its almost like the Inuit surviving in the Canadian Arctic. The article below suggests that all they want is to continue in their traditional life, but with a little more water. I think I would be walking the hour or two to the few small schools available in the hope that one day I would get a job in an air-conditioned office!


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