Erta Ale (“Smoking Mountain”)

Located on the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points in Africa), Erta Ale is an active volcano with one (and sometimes two) lava lakes. Referred to as the “Gateway to Hell,” this destination is one of the world’s most hostile environments on Earth. Not an excursion for the timid, Erta Ale has seven active peaks with lava flows and fountains, rising and falling lakes, and is one of the hottest places in the world. The fact that it is the most physically challenging site in all of Africa, has increased its popularity. The chance to see an active volcano at close range is unparalleled and, while not to every traveler’s taste, Erta Ale does provide the rare, adrenaline-rich adventure that many desire. Visitors must be prepared for an arduous climb, where even basic necessities (water, shelter from the sun) are unavailable and must be provided by the experienced guides.

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