The Danakil Depression

by Kirsten Weiss (with intro by Kass Lamb, who will also be replying to comments)

Kirsten, in her day job, sometimes ends up traveling to some pretty exotic places. When I put out a plea for some blog posts for February, this is what she sent in from Ethiopia (feels almost like she is our foreign correspondent 😉 )

Kirsten Weiss


Drop the words “Danakil Depression” at a cocktail party, and most people will think you’ve got an exotic mental ailment. But the Danakil isn’t a state of mind, it’s a place. One of the harshest environments in the world, it lies in Ethiopia, near the Eritrean border.

I wasn’t supposed to go there.

There are bandits. Eritreans (the Ethiopians are in a hot/cold war with them). And like Death Valley, it’s below sea level and hot enough to kill.

But it also has some of the most fantastic geology on the planet. Sulfur fields blazing orange and green and yellow. Salt mountains striped purple and white. A boiling lava lake. Salt flats.

I traveled there as part of a tour, because this is one place where do-it-yourself won’t cut it. It’s too hot. Too dangerous. And you need special permission to trek to certain places.

When I read the tour itinerary, I thought the salt flats would be the least interesting part of the adventure. Blah, blah, get me to the boiling lava lake! But the salt flats were the most memorable. Camel caravans laden with salt swayed across their sparkling whiteness. We reached the salt lake at sunset. One-inch deep, my fellow travelers appeared to be walking on water, the sun turning the world into a shimmering blue and pink haze.

But this is one of those times when words won’t cut it. So enter the Danakil Depression photo essay:

Danakil Collage

No, I probably won’t be writing a mystery novel set there, although my martial arts instructor is convinced I need a fight scene on camelback. However, since I write paranormal mysteries, some of these otherworldly aspects might make it into a book, somewhere. You never know where you’ll find inspiration.

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten is the author of The Hoodoo Detective, book six in the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasies, The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, The Infernal Detective and The Elemental Detective. She’s also the author of Steam and Sensibility, a steampunk novel of suspense.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    February 3, 2015 at 7:38 am

    What gorgeous photos, Kirsten! That must have been an amazing experience. Thanks so much for sharing this with us! I know you’re not available to respond to comments, but I’m curious how hot it got there. I guess I’ll have to google that! *wink*

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Come back and share when you find out, Kathy. It might make me a little less envious that she got to go to such a gorgeous place and I didn’t. 😉

  • Reply
    Lynn Kelley
    February 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Wow, what an adventure! Fascinating!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      February 4, 2015 at 10:58 am

      It is amazing, Lynn. I didn’t even know this place existed.

  • Reply
    Kirsten Weiss
    February 4, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Since I went in early January, the heat wasn’t bad. But 120 degrees is not unusual other times of the year.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      February 4, 2015 at 10:57 am

      120? Yikes!! I like hot weather but that’s ridiculous.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2015 at 8:23 am

    I’m speechless. Just incredible!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      February 5, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      I agree, Candy. Some of those shots really look like they are from another world.

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    February 5, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Loved this post and the photographs! Thanks, Kirsten. Safe travels.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.