Geoparks Africa
World Heritage Sites

Lake Assal: Lowest place in Africa with waters that change colours three times a day

Lake Assal in Djibouti is the lowest point in Africa, and lies 155 meters below sea level.

As it happens, Lake Assal is also the third lowest place in the world albeit hottest plate.

With no outlet, and a high evaporation rate; the salinity level in the lake is nearly 10 times more than the sea.

This therefore causes Lake Assal to be the fourth most saline water body in the world.

While other lakes are full of marine flora and fauna, Assal is too salty to allow marine life to thrive.

Lake Assal derives much of its water content from subsurface geothermal springs with aquifers linked to sea water from the Ghoubbet El Kharab bay

Assal is a crater lake within the Danakil Desert in the central parts of Djibouti, some 110 kilometres west of the nation’s capital, Djibouti City.

Also known as Lac Assal this strange water body is located at the western end of Gulf of Tadjoura in the Tadjoura Region, touching Dikhil Region

Dormant volcanoes and black lava fields back its emerald water. It is one of the saltiest lakes in the world.

Assal also happens to be a magical lake, which is usually changing the surface water colour depending on the variation of light during the day.

The colour may vary from the blinding white of the salt deposits and sodium chloride crystals, to the turquoise and emerald green of the shoreline, before transforming to the blue and azure of the deeper waters with their gradual shades.

This and other factors make the lake a popular tourists site.

The lake’s maximum length is estimated to be nearly 20 kilometers while its maximum width is pegged at 6.5 kilometers.

On the other hand Lake Assal’s deepest point is 40 metres although the water body’s average depth is seven Meters

The lake which is located within the Afar Triangle, experiences extreme hot weather, with temperatures rising to as highs as 52 degrees during summer and lowering to just 34 degrees during winter’

Lake Assal is a source of salt and geothermal power for Djibouti.

Despite the rather hostile condition surrounding the Lake, Assal remains a favourite residential area to the Afar nomads, the only people have adapted to the torrid climates and what seems like a totally inhospitable environment.

The nomads continue to make a living on the extraction and trade of salt, which they transport across the desert using camel caravans to Ethiopia, where they barter for sorghum and charcoal.

 In the past salt was also traded with southern Abyssinia for coffee, ivory, and even slaves.