Lake Abbe is situated in the middle of the hot and hellish Afar Depression; Lake Abbe stretches six miles in width and is covered in clusters of massive, steam-blasting limestone chimneys.
Although Lake Abbe is the ultimate destination for Ethiopia’s Awash River, its dry landscape absorbs the water, and the area is a vast landscape of salt flats. Besides Mount Dama Ali, a small dormant volcano, the landscape is almost completely level, and the steaming, sulphuric vents lend the region an apocalyptic and Tatooine-like look.
Some of the vents stretch as high as 150 feet into the air and make the lake visible from miles around. Despite the hellish climate near Lake Abbe, nomadic Afar shepherds live in the area, along with a surprising population of flamingos.
Location of Lake Abbe in Djibouti
The lake is situated on the Djibouti-Ethiopian border, in the hot Afar depression created by the earth’s tectonic plates pulling away from each other. Here vast salt plains stretch for kilometers, scattered with towering steam-spewing limestone chimneys, of which some are 50 meters tall. Views of the otherwise rather flat landscape are interrupted by the dormant volcano Mount Dama Ali, rising up 1,069 meters in the horizon.
How to get to Lake Abbe in Djibouti
Lake Abbe has located 90 km from the main capital Djibouti and travelers are required to strictly travel by road using 4×4 vehicles as the sand dunes may be impossible to drive through using a 2 wheel drive.
When to visit Lake Abbe
The best time to visit Lac Abbé is in the late afternoon as the sun sets and creates surreal silhouettes of the limestone chimneys.
Best time to visit Djibouti
The best time to visit Djibouti is between November to January when the weather is comparatively cooler and perfect for outdoor activities. This is also the best time of year if you wish to swim with the whale sharks as part of your Djibouti trip. May to September is pretty hot so best to avoid this low season.