They are located in the Afar Region, northeast of Ethiopia (Semera capital), southern Eritrea and throughout Djibouti.
In Ethiopia there are more than a million and a half people, the majority of the population are found in the Afar region, where they have been since pre-Christian times.
At some points in their history they created powerful kingdoms and political structures such as the kingdom of Adal that came to rule a large part of the northeast part of the Horn of Africa.
The Afars are divided into two subgroups: Asaemara (“red”), formed by the nobility who live mainly in the Assayita area; and Adaemara (“white”), made up of the lowest social class living in the Danakil desert.
Most of the Afars are nomads and are dedicated to grazing animals such as goats, cows and camels. Others settled in the desert and work in the extraction of salt.
They live in camps surrounded by barbed wire fences that protect them from attacks by wild animals. Their oval houses, called ari, are built with palm mats.
Although most of Afars are Muslims, they maintain some pre-Islamic beliefs and customs. They believe that some trees have sacred powers. They hold religious rituals like anointing their bodies with ghee (a type of butter). The remains of the dead are believed to be very powerful, celebrating “the Feast of the Dead,” called Rabena every year. They make annual offerings to the sea to ensure safety for their peoples. Many people wear protectionist leather amulets containing herbs and verses from the Koran. Marriages are normally monogamous.