Dispatches from Ethiopia: Mek’ele Camels

Jun 27, 2014

We recently traveled to Ethiopia is East Africa and would like to share some amazing images we captured there. We hope you enjoy!

Camels are the main method of transport in the Afar region. They can carry heavy loads in hot weather for long distances on small amounts of water, all necessary requirements for survival in the Danakil where difficult conditions make it hard for anyone and anything to survive. After being loaded with 400 pounds of salt blocks the camels and their drivers have a long trip to market. The walk to Mek’ele is 5 days, though today they only walk to the small town of Berhale where trucks now transport the salt from there. But the trip is still arduous.          

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Using a 400mm lens for this shot I was able to compress the distance and show the camel train seemingly close to the mountains, which in reality are still quite a long way off, as is their destination.

After being relieved of their load the camels make their way back in the early morning to the Danakil to pick up another yet another load of salt and do it all over again. As seen here the desert is rocky and difficult terrain to navigate. I made this shot at 6:22 in the morning before the heat of the day became overly oppressive. The key for me on this shot was to keep the tops of the camels below the horizon line created by the hill behind them in order to create a single unbroken line of camels.

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