Within the framework of the SNF-funded project ‘SERENA : SEdimentary REcord of the Northern Afar’, the carbonate sedimentology lab team (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) in cooperation with colleagues from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and the University of Granada (Spain) are currently doing fieldwork in the Danakil Basin (northern Afar, Ethiopia). During the first part of the expedition, the team was operating from the basecamp set-up around the hypersaline lake Afdera mapping Holocene gypsum microbialites and hot spring deposits. For the second part of the expedition, the SERENA team moved up to the Dallol area to map Pleistocene coralgal reef deposits at the eastern margin of the Danakil Basin. Core sections from the evaporitic deposits in the central part of the Danakil Basin have been sampled and described. Those preliminary core studies will pave the way towards an international drilling proposal ‘ADD-ON: Afar Dallol Drilling- ONset of sedimentary processes in an active rift basin’.