Travel Blog • Ben Keene • 08.26.06 | 9:32 AM ET
Coordinates: 14 14 N 40 18 E
Elevation: -157 feet (-48 meters)
If avoiding the heat is your goal, then Death Valley, California—the hottest location in the United States—might be one spot to avoid in late August. Dallol, Ethiopia is another. A small settlement in the
state of Afar near the Eritrean border, Dallol holds the record for the highest average annual temperature for any inhabited place on the planet. In addition to plenty of sweltering sunshine, this part of the African continent also offers an opportunity to see the first signs of a new ocean basin forming. Not far from Dallol in the Danakil Depression north of the Great Rift Valley, the only volcanic crater below sea level has remained silent since 1926 as the seabed it will one day occupy gradually widens.