Among the Afar

Tracing the footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger’s 1934 expedition into the heart of the desolate Danakil of Eastern Ethiopia.

The infamous Danakil is counted among the least hospitable lands on earth – a lawless, baking volcanic wasteland. And for the proud and resilient Afar, it’s home sweet home. Long feared throughout the Horn for their martial prowess, many still live the old credo that it’s “better to die than to live without killing.’ Dwindling herds of goats and cattle sustain them in the desert, where they endure ongoing threats from drought, scorching heat, raiding enemy tribes and wild animals, each danger faced with a spirit of resolute fatalism. Loyalty to the clan must be unwavering – it is widely considered that an Afar who has left the desert is no longer an Afar.