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Erta Ale, Afar Region

3.8
#10 of 40 in Parks in Ethiopia
Get close to one of the world's most active volcanoes at Erta Ale, a mysterious basaltic shield volcano with two active caldera lakes. Centered over the East African Rift in the Afar Depression, this 613 m (2,011 ft) tall "smoking mountain" as locals refer to it features the longest-existing lava lake--known to exist since 1906. See forested highlands, salt lake deposits, a boiling lava lake, and surreal landscapes of colors, geysers, and fumaroles. One of the main attractions in the Danakil Desert, the volcano has an elliptical 1.6 km (1 mi) long summit crater--access it only with an experienced professional guide. Use our Afar Region trip itinerary planner to add Erta Ale and other attractions to your Afar Region vacation plans.
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Erta Ale Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
118 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • The Danakil escarpment displays some of the most spectacular examples of erratic landscapes in the world, with a difference in altitude of 2500 mssl to some 120m bsl Danakil, one of the driest and tec...  more »
  • If you don't do the tour with great expectations, you will be satisfied. Since the eruption in 2017, the mirror of Lake Lava fell off, and it is now deeper. Only smoke comes out of the crater and you don't see anything at night or during the day. The volcanic landscape itself with its caldera and the smoking lava lake is nevertheless beautiful and interesting, especially at sunrise ... And when descending in daylight you can see interesting lava formations The 3-hour ascent in the darkness was boring, because we could not see anything from the landscape; The hike itself was not strenuous (about 9 km at about 500 hm). By day it was bad to see the plastic waste (mainly mineral water plastic bottles) everywhere: A plastic pile of waste in the caldera, plastic waste in the camp and plastic waste lined the way on descent. The local community is seemingly overwhelmed with the plastic waste of increasing tourism. If each tourist would regain his own garbage, the problem may have been reduced.
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  • Nice wilderness experience but the Afar people's greed will inhibit tourism and eventually no one will go there
  • Absolutely mesmerising spectacle. We trekked to the summit on Jan 3rd 2019 and were greeted with spectacular views of the molten lava flows. It pays to walk around the summit and be prepared to wait a couple of hours for the smoke to clear in order to get the best sights. The sounds can be terrifying and the smell is sickening, however well worth the wait.
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