The Danakil Depression is a burning hot, hostile desert in the northeastern corner of Ethiopia — named the cruelest place on earth by National Geographic. In 1927, L.M. Nesbitt became the first European explorer to successfully cross this land. Afterward, he wrote: ”We were fortunate in getting through with the loss of only three men killed by the Danakils, one turned insane through heat, and ten camels and three mules died of fatigue.”
The average annual temperature of 35ºC recorded in the Danakil Depression is the highest in the world. In the summer, the temperature often come close to the 50ºC mark. The people living here call it “the place the devil ploughs.” This is where three continental plates meet, or (more accurately put) pull away from each other. The gap formed between the separating plates is swallowing the land and soon, in geological terms (that is, around 10 million years), the waters of the Red Sea will rush in, drown the entire region, and a new sea will be formed. Africa will lose its horn. But for now, this is far from being an ocean; it is nothing but dry desert. At the same time, it is one of Ethiopia’s fastest-growing tourist attraction.