Desolate landscape of Dankalia.

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Dankalia is the name of the narrow strip of land about 50km wide that stretches south of Massawa down to Djibouti, about 600km along the coastline. You can't miss it on the map: it looks like a long peninsula protruding from the south of the country. It's a volcanic desert where you'll be struck with awe by otherworldly lunar landscapes.

It is known as one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth: there's little to see, nothing to do and no great destination awaiting you at the other end. The journey is hot, tiring and demanding; few travellers come here. But the sense of exploration is real, even on the rickety old bus that runs twice a week from Massawa. If you drive, the journey is likely to be one of the most memorable of your trip. If there's one place in Eritrea where travel is for travel's sake, it's Dankalia. As if that was not enough, Dankalia is the territory of the legendary Afar or Danakil people, described as one of the fiercest tribes on Earth.