Lac Abbé

Djibouti Travel Blog

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The alarm clock went of at 05:30. Had a cup of tea and set off for the lake.

The sunrise was amazing, so beautiful. It made this lunar landscape look magical. The shadows of the chimneys made it a bit spooky too. We walked across the plain and down to the lake. On the way we passed boiling, sulphureous smelling springs, while in the distance jackals were looking for food. The lake is the feeding ground for both greater and lesser flamingos. The banks immediately surrounding the lake are covered in strange geometrical pattern created by the drying mud. This muddy ground showed the foot prints of hyenas, jackals, antelopes and flamingos.

Lac Abbé is at least 6000 years old. It used to be 100 meters deep, but is now only 7 meters deep. Many fossils have been found in the vicinity, including elephant, antelope and hippo remains, and shells and fish.
Other finds such as grinding stones, suggest that the area was once marshy and fertile. Today the landscape of Lac Abbé is thought to rate among the most desolated on Earth. The hundreds of calcareous chimneys that march across the plain have made the lake famous. And the sulphureous gas emitted from the chimneys has given the lake its name: Abbé means "rotten" in the local Afar dialect.

Described as "a slice of moon on the crust of the Earth", the lake is an extraordinary place. Part of the film "Planet of the Apes" was filmed here. The landscape is truly lunar, apocalyptic and other worldly.

Until recently the lake was fed by the Avash River from Ethiopia. Because water from this source seems to be dwindling, it is thought that the vast lake of Lac Abbé may be in the process of dying!

We went back to the camp site for breakfast before setting off back to our boat, which was a 4-hour drive.
Again we made a couple of stops to look at the chimneys and the hot springs. In one place we came across a young jackal which had died that morning. He had drunk from the hot sulphureous water in the spring. So young and so inexperienced. How sad!

After lunch on the boat, it was time to swim with whale sharks again. Once again, it was an extraordinary and amazing experience. They are so big, but still so elegant in the water. A mysterious creature it is know so little about. On the three occasions we went swimming with them, we probably saw 25-30 whale sharks. They all have different markings, a bent fin and some have different types of scars. I really felt I knew some of them.

After swimming with the whale sharks, a few of us went closer to the coast, to some colorful reefs, for the last snorkeling. This was a different place than where we had snorkeled before. It was excellent. Saw some new fish, such as needle fish, clown fish and lion fish. Back on the boat, we also saw three dolphins. Funny to see how the light from the boat attracted the fish at night. The funniest thing was the swimming crabs, which swam back and forth beside the boat. It sounds strange, but they really were swimming.
Glynnes says:
Congratulations on being Today's Featured Travel Blog.
Posted on: Oct 29, 2012
sarahsan says:
I agree Ian! It was amazing, magical and little bit creepy at the same time!
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012
Dr_Seuss says:
Sounds a bit like a scene from a thriller movie, with the light and shadows and jackals :D
Posted on: Oct 27, 2012
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Lac Abbé from the air
Lac Abbé from the air
Dead Jackal baby
Dead Jackal baby
Kori Bastard
Kori Bastard
Mosque along the road
Mosque along the road
Houses along the road
Houses along the road
Fishing boat
Fishing boat