A pilgrimage to the cradle of humanity should not be missing on the bucket list of every traveler who wants to define himself as such.
A sort of journey back in time in search of one’s origins: nothing to do with family ones or with the reconstruction of one’s family tree.
When we say origins, we mean origins: the point where man’s adventure on our planet began, where scientists have identified and recovered the first traces left by beings possessing the same identical characteristics that we can still boast today.
Random discoveries, which however allowed us to rewrite the history of the planet’s evolution. It all happened in the so-called Afar triangle, in the middle of Ethiopia, known by the locals as the “gateway to hell” due to the presence of truly impressive volcanic phenomena.
There in 1974, the American paleontologist Donald Johanson came across a piece of bone sticking out of the ground: he didn’t even need to dig to make one of the most important discoveries in the history of humanity. Around he also recovered pieces of the skull, a jaw, the bones of the arms and legs: she was the one who has baptized shortly thereafter Lucy, the first woman with her three million years of age, so named in honor of the Beatles song ” Lucy in the sky with diamonds” which was repeatedly streamed on the radio at that time.
Few people know that the locals preferred to baptize it Denkenesh, or “you are wonderful”, but that matters little. If it all began there, sooner or later we must therefore go, a sort of purifying and apotropaic journey, full of meanings that transcend the beauty of the places, which are also very fascinating.
Yes, because in those parts it is also possible to approach some traits of primeval nature, a sensational pendant with the remains of the ancestor of humanity. Erta Ale volcano, “the smoking mountain”, is the most fascinating and significant attraction of the place, a black rock caldera more than six hundred meters high that contains one of the largest and oldest permanent lava lakes in the world.
Reaching that uninhabited area of the planet is not easy, but there are more and more agencies that organize trekking up there: the bravest can thus climb its steep walls and look out on the edge, from which you can admire one of the most powerful views of the globe, that is an enormous expanse of incandescent magma that varies along all the shades of red and black in perennial boiling; it could not be otherwise, given that the temperatures measured by the technicians far exceed a thousand degrees.
This is why from time to time flares of incandescent lava rise up in the blue of the sky, real reddish fountain jets accompanied by puffs of ammonia gas from which it is good to stay away.
Also in the Danakil desert are the Dallol volcano, characterized by the presence of a vast field of multicolored geysers that puff steam at regular intervals, and the Gada Ale volcano, which hosts an incredible lake of mud and sulfur, also in perennial boiling.
On the other hand, it is one of the most tectonically active regions on the planet, and it could not be otherwise, since everything, absolutely everything started from there.