Ethiopia

The Afar People

The Afar People, sometimes referred to as Adal, Teltal, and Danakil, are a Cushitic-nomadic ethnic group that inhabits Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea in East Africa. Since the Arabic term "Danakil" is derogatory to them, they would prefer to be referred to as the Afar. They are proud people that value a man's courage and power.

The Afar people come to mine salt at Lake Assal. It is their only means of living. The salt lakes boast a vastness of raw beauty. The effects created when the salt is covered with water are an outstanding masterpiece of unbelievable formations. The Afar miners mine the salt by hand and then it is transported by the famous Salt Caravans that stretch for miles as they travel.

The camels baring heavy loads of 6 to 6.5 pounds, blocks strapped to their bodies on either side as they walk through the desert for 3 days. Whole families are involved in this salt trade and transporting of the salt from salt deposit sites to the road which accommodates motorized vehicles.

Afar people are predominantly Muslim. They have a long association with Islam through the various local Muslim polities and practice the Sunni sect of Islam. The majority of Afar had adopted Islam by the 13th century due to the expanding influence of holy men and traders from the Arabian peninsula. The Afar mainly follow the Shafi'i school of Sunni Islam.

Sufi orders like the Qadiriyya are also widespread among Afar. Afar's religious life is somewhat syncretic with a blend of Islamic concepts and pre-Islamic ones such as rain sacrifices on sacred locations, divination, and folk healing.