BEST ERTE / ERTA ALE VOLCANO TOUR, Ethiopia, to World's only liquid lava lake, Salt camel caravans, Hot sulfur springs. Visit the Earth's geological playground


Erta Ale Volcano

Learn all about the spectacular Erta Ale lava lake and visit at night to watch the orange glow of molten lava sputter up and move about in a fascinating show of nature's force. The volcano is in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, where it is part of the Erta Ale Range. It is 1 of 4 volcanoes worldwide with a lava lake active since its discovery in 1969. A basaltic shield volcano with a 600 X 1700 m caldera or crater, the Erta Ale Volcano is only 613 m high, as it gradually slopes down to a 40 km diameter wide base with solid runs of many kilometers of lava left behind from outburst in the past.



Erta Ale means "smoking mountain" in Afar and is also referred to as the Gateway to Hell and is one of the most fabulous attractions of the Afar depression as the Afar like to call this region in the Afar Triangle.


Erta Ale is centered over the east African rift system which is a triple junction setting that is resulting in the formation of a pull apart basin or rift. May take 5 hours from the hamlet of Hamed Ela cross country.


Climbing can easily take 2 - 3 hours and should be done after 4 or at sun rise, when the temperatures are lower, arriving at the top at late dawn, where there is the top base camp.


ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Traversing the Afar Depression, Ethiopia ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  A temporary Afar hamlet near the Erta Ale Volcano in a lava dominated landscape.

Cross country en route on the Erta Ale Volcano Tour in the Danakil Depression.

A temporary Afar hamlet near the Erta Ale Volcano in a lava dominated landscape.

ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Base camp Erta Ale Volcano, Dallol Depression, Ethiopia ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Climbing the Erta Ale Volcano, Afar Triangle, Ethiopia

The Dodum visitor base camp at the Erta Ale Volcano.

Climbing the Erta Ale Volcano with an Afar guide from the Dodum base camp.

ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Crater of the Erta Ale volcano, Ethiopia ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Pahoehoe Lava, Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia

Inside the caldera of the Erta Ale Volcano with the edge of the volcano in view in the background.

Pahoehoe lava in the crater of the Erta Ale Volcano.

ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Erta Ale Volcano at night, Afar Depression, Ethiopia ERTA ALE VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA:  Glowing lava Erta Ale Volcano, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Mystified in the glow of the red hot lava during our Erta / Erte Ale Volcano Tour.

Erupting lava in the lava lake of the Erta Ale Volcano at night. It is blistering hot at the edge and the sulfur fumes smell terrible, but it is totally worth it!


After visiting Lake Assale and the Erta Ale Volcano, it is possible to continue to Lake Afrera and from there to the Lucy site at Hadar, but most people return to Tigray capital Mekele to continue from there to Lalibela.


This Travel module takes you to the Erta Ale Volcano:




Day 1 Mek'ele - Hamed Ale ?180km

  1. Berahile, visit the salt market and pay the entrance fee into the Danakil Desert;

  2. Hamed Ale base camp.

Day 2 Hamed Ale - Erta Ale ? 80km;

  1. Sulfur geysers at Dallol;

  2. Sulfur pool;

  3. Salt winning site of the Afar People in Lake Assale;

  4. hike up the Erta Ale after 4 o clock to benefit from the lower temperature;

  5. Make camp at the top of Erta Ale;

  6. Admire the glow of the Erta Ale Ale at night.

Day 3 Erta Ale - Mek'ele ?260km

  1. Walk down from Erta Ale;

  2. Depart from the Danakil Depression to return to Mekele.

Costs $595

. Included: meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals. Minimum number of  passengers is 2.

Ask for a group discount.


Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 1 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and then continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $40 - $70 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!


A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, all taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we have been everywhere when we researched all parks for the Ethiopian Wildlife Autharity, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. Read our PDF report to the Government on Parks an Culture! So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because only we combine the culture of Ethiopia with its nature. We don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale Volcano? We let you know. Just drop us a mail  and we will check it out for you.

Our tours take you to ALL famous cultural places of Ethiopia, and on top of that, you get to see up to 20 large parks accompanied by a conservation professional, not a mere guide. There is nothing similar on the market. Check out our tours in modules like: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eastern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa. BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines! Also: Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize.





What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.


Phone USA:

(++)(1) 304 - 901 - 0718


Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

(++251) (0) 911 440 915




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