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danakil4Denkalia is the home of the proud and once warlike Afars.  In times gone by, their reputation for ferocity was legendary.  It is not known when they first arrived in the region, but the trade routes used for ferrying salt from the Danakil Depression, and ivory, hides and slaves from the African interior to the Red Sea give rise to stories of a land called “Ophir” being visited by King Solomon’s ships, and this may well correspond to the land of the Afars.

Today, life in the region is returning to normal.  The adventurous tourist is once again able to sample the unique experience of travel in Denkalia in peace and safety. 

The geology of Denkalia has always been of great interest to experts.  Two of its most impressive geological features are the Danakil Alps and the Depression.  The Alps are over 200 km long and have peaks over 2000 metres high.  They date from the Mesozoic and Precambrian eras and are therefore much older in geological terms than the rest of Denkalia.

It is now generally accepted that Denkalia was actually part of the floor of the Red Sea, as opposed to an extension of the Rift Valley, which runs down to Mozambique.  Its volcanic basalt rocks were deposited over 15 million years ago when the continents of Africa and Arabia separated.

Wild life

wildlifeAlthough there is not a proliferation of wildlife in Denkalia, a number of hardy species do manage to eke out an existence here.  The best chance of spotting them is on the Buri peninsula.  Various wildlife surveys by the Eritrean wildlife unit have identified the following species:  hamadryas, baboons, Soemmerings gazelle, Dorcas gazelle, jackal, Ruppells sandfox, dikdik, canis aureus, hyena, Abyssian hare, wild ass and ostrich.