Hotspot Erta Ale: fireworks in their purest form

Text: Angelique van Os | Photography: Henk Bothof

The Danakil Depression in the northeastern Afar region of Ethiopia is one of the hottest (average 34.4C), driest (100 to 200mm of rainfall per year) and lowest lying (125m below sea level) places on earth. Above all, the volcano Erta Ale is active here. According to Henk, the active volcano with its boiling lava lake is one of the most impressive phenomena he has seen in the country. He has been visiting Ethiopia for over twenty years and has been there fifteen times. Henk: “To reach the volcano you have to drive over 80 kilometers on one of the worst roads in the world, but you quickly forget the conditions thanks to the beautiful, almost extraterrestrial landscape. This is followed by a tough trekking of three to four hours, arriving in the dark so that the experience of the boiling, luminous and exploding lava is even more intense. You can stand for hours at the edge of the volcano to observe this fireworks in its purest form from close up, but at an appropriate distance.”

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