[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Africa's Danakil Desert
Feature Main Page
Photo Gallery
On Assignment
Learn More
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Content Jump Links:
 Did You Know?  
 Related Links  
 NGS Resources  

Did You Know?Did You Know?

You probably didn't know that Afar men dress their hair with clarified butter. The butter, known as ghee, conditions their hair and protects it from the sun's brutal rays. Afar men's hair is often worn teased out in large Afro-style hairdos, or else woven into tight curls and liberally applied with ghee. Women wear their hair carefully combed and arranged in a series of shiny hanging ringlets.
Ghee is also a very important food and commodity among the Afar. The selling of milk and butter products is a job for women and children, and women retain the income earned from dairy product sales. At weekly markets in the foothills of the Ethiopian Highlands the Afar trade milk, ghee, salt, and livestock with Tigrayan and Amharic people in exchange for eggs, spices, vegetables, grain, fabric, and luxury items like soap, aluminum cooking utensils, and jewelry.
—Taryn Salinas


Related Links

Afar Friends
Afar Friends is a nongovernmental organization whose aim is to spread information about the Afar people living in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. Learn about the Afar people and their harsh but beautiful homeland.
Global Vulcanism Program
Access a database of volcanoes from around the world and see amazing photos from the Global Vulcanism Program of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
Asheten Tours
Learn about Ethiopia and interesting travel facts from this reputable travel company, used by our author to plan her visit to the Danakil Desert.
Red Jackal Tours
Explore more of Ethiopia's geographic wonders and history from this respected tour operator.



Englebert, Victor. Wind, Sand & Silence: Travels with Africa's Last Nomads. Chronicle Books, 1992.
Kalb, Jon. Adventures in the Bone Trade. Copernicus Books, 2001.
Kassa, Getachew Negussie. Among the Pastoral Afar in Ethiopia. International Books, 2001.
Nesbitt, L. M. Hell-Hole of Creation: The Exploration of Abyssinian Danakil. Alfred A. Knopf, 1935.
Thesiger, Wilfred. The Danakil Diary: Journeys Through Abyssinia, 1930-34. Harper Collins, 1996.


NGS Resources

Fraser, Sean. African Adventure Atlas. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Lovgren, Stefan. "Into Africa: Culture." National Geographic Traveler (September 2001), 44-5.
Caputo, Robert. "Tragedy Stalks the Horn of Africa." National Geographic (August 1993). 

Stager, Curt. "Africa's Great Rift." National Geographic (May 1990), 2-41.
White, Peter T. "A Little Humanity Amid the Horrors of War." National Geographic (November 1986), 646-79.
"Suau, Anthony. "Eritrea: Region in Rebellion." National Geographic (September 1985), 384-405.
Caputo, Robert. "Ethiopia: Revolution in an Ancient Empire." National Geographic (May 1983), 614-45.
Kaplan, Marion. "Djibouti, Tiny New Nation on Africa's Horn." National Geographic (October 1978), 518-33.
Englebert, Victor. "The Danakil: Nomads of Ethiopia's Wasteland." National Geographic (February 1970), 186-211.

E-Mail this Page to a Friend