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“The saltiest place on earth”
Review of Lake Assal

Lake Assal
Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Djibouti
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Attraction details
Owner description: Lac Assal is 150m (492ft) below sea level, and is an aquatic wilderness surrounded by dormant volcanoes and black lava fields. The lake is a one-day trip on the tarmac road west from the capital. You will pass Lac Goubet on the way, a seawater loch known locally as 'the pit of demons', then pass a stark, apocalyptic volcanic neck separating the two lakes.
Reviewed 23 August 2017

We came here as part of a packaged tour. Lac Assal was one of the strangest places I have ever been to. The lake is so large that the end looks like it's part of the horizon and believe me, the lake is very very salty.

It's often sweltering hot and difficult to stay outside for very long so do bring sunscreen and water!

Try soaking your feet in this salty water, but bring water to rinse off, as the heat will dry the salt and dry you to your core .

Pick up some salt crystals as a souvenir! The crystals tend to group around foreign matter such as sticks and stones. You will also find cool bones from animals who may have died in the lac.

Thank 241mcf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"lowest point"
in 13 reviews
"dead sea"
in 6 reviews
"salt crystals"
in 5 reviews
"day trip"
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"bambu tours"
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"land cruiser"
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14 - 18 of 128 reviews

Reviewed 22 February 2017

We visited here in early February. It was hot with a strong wind blowing and the visibility was limited due to it being very hazy. That said it is a strangely beautiful spot. The vast array of colors that the water takes on - the greenish tint to the shallow water over the salt and the strange shapes that the salt takes on when deposited by the water all add to the appeal. I loved walking out on the salt and taking in the view of the surrounding hills and mountains and seeing the salt formations. We ate lunch on the salt and were visited by a very entertaining young boy who was selling salt (and looking for treats). While here you should visit the hot springs nearby - the vivid greens of the algae in the water are spectacular. If you make it to Djibouti you should definitely see Lac Assal

2  Thank GeofJx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2016

A must see destination. Apprx 2 hours from Djibouti city...depending on traffic. Majority of the time spent will be travel to and from this attraction.

Colleagues from work decided to go to Lac Assal. The first part of the trip was a bit slow since there are A LOT of trucks on the main road. Until you get to a turn-off...you'll be fighting to go around these guys.

The views were breathtaking. It was hot but we had a nice breeze keeping us cool. I can't imagine what the summer heat would be like...I'm glad I came in December. There are NO facilities or restaurants so make sure you pack some snacks, food and drinks. We brought a big jug of water so anyone who swam could rinse off all the salt.

Most of us waded in the water, two floated. Make sure you bring some kind of feet protection because the salt is rocky and sharp. Also something that you don't mind getting ruined with salt. This is a nice place to visit but there is no shaded areas, benches or amenities, you can explore around the lake and there are souvenir vendors so be prepared to haggle!

We also stopped at a hot springs close by and then BBQ'd at a beach, it was a wonderful day with colleagues! Adding 5 photos.

4  Thank ldjhns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2016

Lac Assal is the second saltiest lake in the world save for another in Antarctica. It has a fascinating color palette due to the salt content and is surrounded by an amazingly bizarre and beautiful volcanic landscape. Locals sell salt by the bag which make a great gift for anyone who loves to cook.

Swimming in the lake is a must as the extreme buoyancy is an incredible experience. You can float on your stomach with both hands and legs in the air and still have no trouble keeping your head above water. It's also quite difficult to put your feet down on the ground when you want to stand. For those planning to do this, bring a bathing suit (obvious), some heavy sun cream (the sun here is brutal), and some water shoes (the salt crystals on the lake floor are like razor blades).

This area is also where the African and Middle Eastern tectonic plates meet, and it's possible to see where they have gradually been pulling the ground apart.

Highly recommended for anyone who visits Djibouti.

3  Thank krspencer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 December 2016

Together with my husband we decided to spend 7 days in November visiting Djibouti. Having a few days to plan the trip and knowing the difficulty of driving in the desert around lake Abbe we decided to contact Bambu Service Touristik. Daniel, the boss, was very fast in reply and professional in the coordination of the trip by e-mail. We take from him only the excursion booking the Atlantic hotel on line. Prices in Djibouti are higher than European prices. At the arrival, some time is necessary to clear immigration because after the passport check, some time is necessary for the Visa on arrival payment which costs 80 Euro or 90 US dollars. The Bambu representative was waiting for us (with an aged but in very good condition Land Cruiser) for the short transfer to the hotel. Atlantic hotel is a new hotel in the center of Djibouti which price is around 150 Euro per night for a double room. The fact that this hotel was a good solution, considering the prices in Djibouti, was confirmed by the fact that it was complete all days we stay there. The following day with a private boat we reached the Moucha Islands for a short tour in the mangroves where we saw some birds including the big goliath herons (Ardea goliath). The snorkeling in Maskali island was on a beautiful reef, but the visibility was pour making the underwater picture of poor quality. No mosquitos or flies at all. During the return to Djibouti a group of dolphins went close to the boat and Daniel offered us the possibility to stop and take several marvelous pictures of these animals playing next to us. The following day we had an hour transfer by boat to Arta Plage for snorkeling with Whale Sharks. Till a few years ago, to see the whale sharks was granted due to the large feeding on the plankton present in the gulf, but nowadays these animals are rare. The strong wind made the 3 hours of searching difficult due the masking impact of the waves. Daniel insisted in extending the search and finally a shark was seen. We jumped in the water. It was a 4-m long whale shark which started to circle around us showing a very relaxing attitude. These situation lasted more than 20 minutes offering excellent opportunity for underwater videos and pictures. The transfer to le Sable Blanc resort was realized with the same private boat. The Sable Blanc resort is a simple but very nice resort. The room was excellent and the food was good. The beach is really beautiful, but at low tide it is necessary to pass the coral reef for swimming and snorkeling. A challenging activity. With high tide (2 m) the swimming and snorkeling is simply perfect with the opportunity to see sea turtles and colorful fish. The following morning Daniel reached us with the land cruise and the road to Goubet gulf was good. The Goubet gulf is a very wind and an absolutely desert area of incredible beauty for the contrast of the deep blue of the sea and the dark lava plateau of the Ardoukoba region. The vulcan together with the Devil’s Island are a paradise for pictures even if the Chinese have built a pier for export the salt of lake Assal. A short drive take us to lake Assal. The beauty of this lake is incredible and pay you for the cost of the trip in this country. The salt along the coast of the lake make it appears as a beautiful tropical sea while approaching the lake. This is the lowest point of Africa, 155 m below the sea level.The following day we left Djibouti very early in the morning to reach lake Abbe. Four hours were necessary, two of them in a poor visible track in the desert where we have seen gerenuk Litocranius walleri and dorcas gazelle Gazella Dorcas. Before to reach the lake, there is a plateau with several limestone chimneys some as high as 40 – 60 m giving the impression to be on the moon surface. The hot springs create the condition for the presence of grass: some small green spots in a desert scenery of incredible beauty. It is very dangerous to drive in the area from the chimneys and the lake because the surface looks like as hard and compact but it is soft mud were even a 4WD can get stocked with no chance to come out. In the area there is a small camp where you can stay during the night sleeping in very basic accommodation. This can offer the possibility to see the sunset and to walk to the lake to see the flamingos at sunrise. Simply a fantastic trip!

12  Thank bluebay06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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