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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Travelogue Djibouti (6) Lake Assal

This morning, I drove out to Lake Assal. This is one of the more famous tourist areas in Djibouti and I had been planning to visit for a long time. The lake happens to be the lowest point in Africa at 155 meters below sea level. It also has the highest concentration of salt in the word, even more than the Dead Sea. Based on what I’d heard, I was very anxious to explore this area.

The trip out was pretty uneventful since I had driven the same road several times before. I had even memorized the potholes and was able to avoid most of them. I drove for about 100 kilometers W/NW of Djibouti City, the capital and arrived about 90 minutes after starting. I could have gone faster if not for the condition of the road.

Before I visit a new area, I always have a preconceived notion of what it looks like. Then, when I actually arrive, I am either pleasantly surprised or disappointed. Today, I was definitely pleased when I first glanced at the lake. But, let me take you through this experience via pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/TravelogueDjibouti6LakeAssal

#1 Some of the terrain on the way out, about 10km from the lake
#2 A small island in the lake
#3 The road that encircled it
#4 A wide-angle view
#5 Again, the lake
#6 ‘Old Reliable,’ I really need an SUV!
#7 The coastline
#8 Deep Water!
#9 Here, you can see the salt close up.
#10 Low clouds
#11 I felt like I was on the path to Mordor, but I didn’t see Sam or Frodo.
#12 On my way back, a dust storm is kicking up.

Again, let me say that I was really impressed with this area and the pictures don’t do it justice. I wanted so badly to take off my shoes and wade out into the water, but I was warned never to do this. I guess in this part of Africa, there is a waterborne parasite that can enter through the skin and cause damage to internal organs. I certainly do not want that experience.

For those of you who worry about my safety after seeing me on such dangerous outings, please don’t. I like to think of myself as the ‘Forrest Gump’ of Africa.

Until the next TL, enjoy your travels!

2 comments:

  1. I waded in that water a year and a half ago with my sandals and it was okay. I was told that the water is too salty for anything to live in.

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  2. I know. I should be more courageous. Thanks for commenting.

    Russ

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