Erta Ale

Erta Ale is unique. Not only is it the world’s lowest lying volcano, it is also home to the world’s longest-existing lava lake, which is one of only six in the world. A lake made of lava is exactly as cool as it sounds. Standing at the edge of an active volcano and watching the molten rock bubble away is at once mesmerizing, humbling, and scary. And throwing rocks into the lava is wildly satisfying. Getting to Erta Ale in the Danakil Depression is no mean feat. After the sun goes down and takes a few degrees of heat with it – night time lows during my July visit were a chilly 35C (95F) – you’ll be asked to hike for 3-4 hours, including a steady climb up the ever-steepening curve to the rim. Here you can enjoy the show for an hour or so, then you’ll make a camp just a few hundred meters from the lava lake. Finally, you’ll get up a few hours later to take in the view from the edge as the sun rises.

Erta Ale is unique. Not only is it the world’s lowest lying volcano, it is also home to the world’s longest-existing lava lake, which is one of only six in the world. A lake made of lava is exactly as cool as it sounds. Standing at the edge of an active volcano and watching the molten rock bubble away is at once mesmerizing, humbling, and scary. And throwing rocks into the lava is wildly satisfying. Getting to Erta Ale is no mean feat. After the sun goes down and takes a few degrees of heat with it – night time lows during my July visit were a chilly 35C (95F) – you’ll be asked to hike for 3-4 hours, including a steady climb up the ever-steepening curve to the rim. Here you can enjoy the show for an hour or so, then you’ll make a camp just a few hundred meters from the lava lake. Finally, you’ll get up a few hours later to take in the view from the edge as the sun rises.

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