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The lowest point in Africa is this salty lake in Djibouti

January 29, 2019 at 11:00 am | We Tour

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

January 29, 2019 at 11:00 am | We Tour

Lake Assal. Photo: Wiki CC

Djibouti is known for a number of things including its strategic position at the Horn of Africa. It is also known as the home of the lowest point on the continent. 

This point is Lake Assal, the second saltiest lake outside Antarctica.  It is situated in a volcanic crater in the country’s central-western part at 155 m (509 ft) below sea level, making it the third lowest point in the world after the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.

What makes the lake even more special is that it has two distinct areas: the dry part, thanks to the evaporation and the white plain dry lake bed, full of salt.

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A common view at the lake is a line of camels carrying heaps of salt extracted by natives of the area and transported via ancient caravan routes that connected Djibouti to Ethiopia, where they traded salt for sorghum, coal, ivory and sorghum among others. 

The area is open for tourists from all over the world, giving them a grand view of the mountains as they walk away from the city.  Along the way, they will see fascinating geological formations and hot sprigs. They can also buy 
carved items on the road side as souvenirs before or after floating in the salty lake.


Considered a national treasure in Djibouti, Lake Assal is a protected zone under the law  and the country has initiated a proposal to have the lake  zone and the Ardoukoba volcano as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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