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23 Dec 17 - 5 Jan 2018: Desert, salt and volcanoes - Danakil desert (Ethiopia)
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13-26 Jan 2018: Desert, salt and volcanoes - Danakil desert (Ethiopia)
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Erta Ale Volcano Special

- in response to recent high activitiy with lava lake overflows (Danakil desert, Ethiopia) -

A fresh pahoehoe lava makes its way from the overflowing lake across black lava flows that only recently covered the caldera floor (Nov 2016; image: Hans en Jooske)
A fresh pahoehoe lava makes its way from the overflowing lake across black lava flows that only recently covered the caldera floor (Nov 2016; image: Hans en Jooske)
A large lava bubble explodes at the surface of the full lava lake (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
A large lava bubble explodes at the surface of the full lava lake (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Boiling hot and overflowing Erta Ale lava lake (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Boiling hot and overflowing Erta Ale lava lake (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong nighttime glow of the active lava lake as seen from the caldera rim (bluish lights to the right are observers at Erta Ale camp site) (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong nighttime glow of the active lava lake as seen from the caldera rim (bluish lights to the right are observers at Erta Ale camp site) (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Closer view of the large volumes of fresh pahoehoe lava flows that cover the caldera floor and are still red hot and liquid beneath their thin crusts (Nov 2016; image: Hans en Jooske)
Closer view of the large volumes of fresh pahoehoe lava flows that cover the caldera floor and are still red hot and liquid beneath their thin crusts (Nov 2016; image: Hans en Jooske)
Strong spattering from the boiling lava lake that is about to overflow (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong spattering from the boiling lava lake that is about to overflow (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Overflowing ´perched´lava lake of Erta Ale in November 2016 (image: Hans en Jooske)
Overflowing ´perched´lava lake of Erta Ale in November 2016 (image: Hans en Jooske)
Nighttime impression of lava flow and spattering from the overflowing lava lake (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Nighttime impression of lava flow and spattering from the overflowing lava lake (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
The Dallol salt dome amidst dark green acid ponds with yellow ´salt cakes´ (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
The Dallol salt dome amidst dark green acid ponds with yellow ´salt cakes´ (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dallol´s hydrothermal system creates an ever changeing alien landscape of colourful salt deposits, acid ponds and miniatyre geysirs (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dallol´s hydrothermal system creates an ever changeing alien landscape of colourful salt deposits, acid ponds and miniatyre geysirs (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bizarre miniature geysers or salt springs at Dallol (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bizarre miniature geysers or salt springs at Dallol (dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Photographing the abundant green acid ponds amidst the white-yellow-orange salt deposits (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Photographing the abundant green acid ponds amidst the white-yellow-orange salt deposits (Dec 2010; image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Erta Ale volcano has been in spectacular activity during the past weeks, probably the most intense phase in decades: the lava lake has been overflowing almost daily and been covering the caldera floor with fresh lava flows.
For those quick to decide, we offer this Volcano Special tour in order to stay 4 full days / 4 nights on the volcano!
  • 4 full days/nights on the summit of Erta Ale active volcano
  • Excellent Ethiopian volcanologist as main guide
  • Small international group
  • Dedicated supply vehicle with experienced cook
  • Experience - we organise Danakil adventures since 2007
  • Competent and friendly local team and drivers
  • Interaction with local people, introduction into local customs
  • Optional: 3 extra days to explore Dallol, Assale salt lake and surroundings

Erta Ale Volcano Special

Day 1: Arrival in Mekele
Arrival in Mekele, pickup at airport and transfer to hotel, group meeting at welcome dinner
Acc.: hotel in Mekele (D)
Day 2: Mekele - Erta Ale
Morning start of the 4X4 drive into the Danakil to the base camp of Erta Ale, first on asphalted road but last part off road over old lava flows.
Acc.: camp at Erta Ale basecamp (B, L, D)
Day 3: Early morning ascend - daytime exploring of Erta Ale´s caldera
Early morning ascend to Erta Ale´s summit (ca. 3 h, 10 km, 500 m height), breakfast on the rim and morning group tour around Erta Ale´s caldera. After lunch, free to relax and explore.
Acc.: camping on the caldera rim of Erta Ale (B, L, D)
Day 4-6: 3 full days / nights on Erta Ale
We have 3 full extra days and nights on the shield volcano´s summit area to explore its caldera and observe/photograph the ongoing and ever changing volcanic activity.
Acc.: camp on Erta Ale (B, L, D)
Day 7: Erta Ale - Mekele
Early morning descend from the volcano bact to base camp and jeep drive back to Mekele (or 3 day extension to Dallol).
Acc.: hotel in Mekele (B, L, D)
Day 8: Transfer to the airport, end of service
Our service ends with transfer to the airport or another nearby destination.
You could also start an additional tour from Mekele (e.g. Highland tour, Lalibela, Axum, Simien National Park, etc.).
Acc.: none (B)

Erta Ale Special + Dallol extension

Note:
You can add three more nights of camping in the Danakil dessert to also explore the colourful hydrothermal system of Dallol, Assale salt lake and the camel caravans.
Day 1-6: as D1-6 in Erta Ale Special
Days 1 to 6 are the same as those described in the Erta Ale volcano special itinerary.
Day 7: Descend from Erta Ale to basecamp, drive to Hamed Ela
Early morning descend from Erta Ale back down to basecamp, breakfast, 4X4 drive to return to the main road and continue our journey to the Afar village of Hamed Ela.
Acc.: camping in the Afar village of Hamed Ela (B, L, D)
Day 8-9: 2 Full days to explore Dallol and surroundings
From our base in Hamed Ela we undertake a number of morning and afternoon expeditions to explore the colourful hydrothermal system of Dallol, the vast salt deposits and saline Lake Assale, the traditional way of salt cutting and transport by camel caravans.
Acc.: Camping in the Afar village of Hamed Ela (B, L, D)
Day 10: Dallol - Mekele
After breakfast we break up our camp in Hamed Ela and make our way back to Mekele.
Acc.: hotel in Mekela (B, L, D)
Day 11: Transfer to the airport, end of service
Our service ends with transfer to the airport or another nearby destination.
You could also start an additional tour from Mekele (e.g. Highland tour, Lalibela, Axum, Simien National Park, etc.).
Acc.: none (B)
Tour code: ETH_EAS
Tour type: Volcano expedition: active volcanoes - photography - adventure
Difficulty: Moderate
Group size: 3-10
Duration: 8 - 11 days

Dates:

Custom and group dates
no scheduled dates at present

Price (p.p.): $ 3700  ? 

Included:

  • Accommodation in double rooms / tents
  • Full board from dinner on the first day until breakfast after last hotel night
  • Drinking water, up to 8 liters per person per day
  • Professional Ethiopian guide who is an English-speaking geologist
  • Private transport in 4WD vehicles
  • Experienced 4WD drivers and cook
  • Full camping equipment
  • Camels, camel drivers and porters to and from Erta Ale´s summit
  • Armed Afar guards and guides on Erta Ale
  • Tips for local staff (camel drivers, guards, local guides, ...)

Tour guide:

Enku is the main guide on all our Danakil volcano expeditions. After obtaining a Diploma in Travel Organising and completing his BSc in Geology at the University of Addis Ababa, he spend 10 years traveling through Ethiopia whilst working both as free-lance travel guide and a contracted mining geologist for different oil and gold mining companies. Since 2006 he specialised in geological travel guidance for the Danakil depression and hence has lots of experience and competence in organizing expeditions to Erta Ale and Dallol. He likes to share his vast knowledge on the geology of the Danakil but will also gladly answer any questions you might have regarding Ethiopia´s fauna and flora, culture, history, food or traditions!
Our excellent Ethiopian main guide and geologist Enku!

Arrival info:

To allow for maximum flexibility for individual participants travel plans, this volcano special expedition starts and ends in Mekele, which is the capital city of the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The airline company that service this airport (MQX, Alula Aba Nega Airport) is Ethiopian Airlines. One can easily book this domestic flight from and to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia´s capital, as there are 5-6 daily connections. Your international flights to and from Ethiopia are not included as default since we have participants from all over the world. However, please do feel free to contact us if you would like any assistance with finding the best flight connections for you!

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