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Djibouti: Lac Abbé

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Lac Abbé | Djibouti | Africa

[Visited: October 2006]

Unfortunately, unreliability of several people caused us to leave late from Djibouti town. On the way to the south west, we crossed the two desert plains of Petit and Grand Barra, ancient lakes that have now become enormous dry plains. The drive further south of Dikhil was getting always more beautiful as we saw the sun sink behind the horizon, but we drove the last part of our way to Lac Abbé in darkness. The next morning, we were very eager to see the place we had arrived in. After a very early start, we waited in the plain off the shore of the lake for the sun to rise. When it did, we were amazed. As the sun was lifting the curtain over the landscape, enormous pointy shadows appeared all around us.

Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Lac Abbé: limestone chimney with clouds

Black shadows pointing towards the sky, in which we could discern small clouds colouring grey, pink, and finally white. The black limestone chimneys coloured orange-brown as soon as the sun appeared, throwing long shadows over the eerie landscape and dwarfing us in the meantime. As we further explored the area, we realized that these chimneys were everywhere. We saw the hot water running freely from many sources, in small streams, towards the lake. Their steam gave an even more mysterious look to the landscape.

Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Chimney of Lac Abbé

Actually, Lac Abbé is exactly on the spot where three tectonic plates meet, which explains some of the activity in this area. The chimneys area actually all born on fault lines, where the hot water from below has formed the 50 metre high pinnacles. Lac Abbé is Afar territory, and Abbé actually means rotten in the local language, describing the smell emitted by the chimneys. Walking among the chimneys is amazing, looking at the landscape from a distance gives you even more the impression of an otherworldly area. So much so, that the original Planet of the Apes movie was shot right at this location!

Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Shepherd in the plains of Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Chimneys of Lac Abbé appearing from darkness at sunrise
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Sunrise over typical Lac Abbé landscape of chimneys
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Chimneys and clouds appearing just after sunrise at Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Lac Abbé: chimneys
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Sunrise at Lac Abbé: chimneys appearing from a dark night
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Rising sun over the landscape of Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Chimneys at the horizon, clouds on the ceiling: Lac Abbé landscape
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Surrounded by chimneys at Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Landscape with steam and chimneys at Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Lac Abbé: chimneys
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Chimneys near Lac Abbé
Picture of Lac Abbé (Djibouti): Herd of camels traversing the plains of Lac Abbé

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Lac Abbé (Djibouti). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Lac Abbé.
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