Salt of the Earth

As I mentioned in my previous post, Feeling the Danakil Depression, there were other factors toward my feeling a bit depressed than just the Depression. National Geographic had a reason for calling it “The cruelest place on Earth.” Not only is the Danakil infamous for its inhospitable climate and riotous multi-colored, toxic fume-spewing geysers and sulfur pools. The phantasmagorical formations are a recent attraction, believed to be created only as recently as 1926 when inorganic iron from red hot magma emerged up through the standing salt pans, ten times more salty than the Continue reading

Feeling the Danakil Depression

One of the reasons I chose to do this tour with Dragoman is because it included the Danakil Depression. While many tour companies do the “historic circuit” through Ethiopia, not many include both the Simien Mountains and the Danakil Depression. Dragoman did both, so that contributed to my choosing them for my Ethiopia visit.

Located in the Afar region about 15 miles from the border with Eritrea, the Danakil Depression lies at the junction where three tectonic plates come together within the area known as the Horn of Africa. Dropping down to 410 ft below sea level, it is not only Continue reading

Ark of the Covenant Lost and Found in the Ancient City of Axum

Leaving the Simien Mountains National Park behind did not mean we were leaving the beautiful scenery behind. The road leading from Debark to our next destination, Axum, was about the most beautiful road I had seen in all of Ethiopia, and that is saying a lot because they are all beautiful! That is one aspect that we all mentioned over and over, the incredible beauty of the roads as we twisted and turned and wound our way up and over the mountains, meeting ourselves coming back around the switchbacks. Continue reading

Simien Mountains National Park

Ethiopia has over 20 national parks, but none so famous as the Simien Mountains National Park, guardian of Ethiopia’s highest peak, Ras Dejen at 14,905 ft. The Simien Mountains are known throughout the world for their wildly dramatic scenery as jagged mountain peaks flank deep valleys often referred to as “Africa’s Grand Canyon.”

The Simien Mountains National Park was created initially as a protection area for a Continue reading

Border Crossing: Sudan to Ethiopia

Out of 22 passengers on the Sudan Loop, we would say goodbye to all but two in Khartoum. George, an older, quite proper, stodgy gentlemen from the UK with a wry smile and sense of humor to match, and yours truly would be the only two passengers to continue the two day journey from Khartoum, across the Ethiopian border to Gondar, where we would pick up 11 new passengers. Until then, George and I would have all 24 seats in Amelia between us. We joked about fighting over who would get the window seat.

I must be candid in saying the Sudan loop had been a bit physically taxing, starting with Continue reading

Sudan Loop Part Two: Meroë Back to Khartoum

Note, this is the second half of my loop through Sudan with Dragoman Tours. In case you missed the first half, you can find it here.

At this point of the tour, Day Five, we had now arrived at the main tourist attraction of Sudan, and the main reason the majority of travelers take this tour…the Meroë Pyramids, reportedly the finest example of Nubian pyramids in existence. Continue reading

Sudan Loop: Khartoum to Meroë

Dear Friends and Followers. Please note, I am once again having continual service issues with IONOS, the company that hosts the blog. My “tech support,” dear brother Don, is helping to get it resolved. But meanwhile, if you attempt to comment and receive “access denied”, please let me know via email at suzanne@taketothehighway.com, wait a few hours, and please try again. Sorry for the frustrating circumstances, but thanks for sticking with me. ~Suzanne

I booked my overland trek through Sudan and Ethiopia with a UK-based company, “Dragoman.” They’ve been in business since 1981, still owned by the original founders, specializing in overland travel all around the globe. They have a fleet of 30 purpose-built overlanding trucks built in Suffolk, UK, and shipped around the world. They are billed as active tours that get off the beaten track and interact with locals in the more Continue reading

The Contrasts of Khartoum

The country of Sudan has never graced my travel “bucket list,” not once. In fact, if I had to list all countries that I still would like to visit in numerical order, Sudan would likely have been in the bottom five percent. So why on earth did I spend a week there?

When I went online shopping for an overland trip that covered all the highlights I wanted to visit in Ethiopia, I found one that offered a “side trip” of sorts, looping through Sudan. I could add it on for not much more money, and since I was using Frequent Flyer miles, airfare would not be any different. So why not see what was there? Continue reading

Happy New Year from the 2020 Departure Lounge

Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and followers! I send you all the happiest, healthiest best wishes for the coming year, as well as the coming decade! What a fast and furious time to be alive. But the promise of a new decade in the year 2020 feels like a great step toward restoring some balance to our lives. As a Libra who needs everything to balance, I can’t think of a better year to offer the promise of hope than “2020!” Continue reading