Desert, Salt and Volcanoes
- 14 days expedition to Erta Ale volcano and Dallol hydrothermal field (Danakil desert, Ethiopia) -
Curious to know what our previous participants thought of this tour? Below we list just some of the many positive feedbacks we received over the past years!
"... at times I felt genuinely sorry for those tourists travelling with other operators"
Anastasia and our Danakil expedition leader Enku at Dallol
Close up of the surface of actively flowing lava at the new fissure eruption site (image: Anastasia G.)
I wanted to express my sincerest gratitudeto Volcano Discovery for organizing such an amazing trip.
Everything was so wonderfully arranged and to such a high standard that at times I felt genuinely sorry for those tourists travelling with other operators.
Once again Volcano Discovery has proven that they are the best at what they do.
Enku is everything one wants in a guide: he is professional, extremely knowledgeable, helpful, well organized, but also he is a wonderful human being - nice, considerate, attentive and very kind.
I would also like to thank you personally for your invaluable contribution to this trip, for always staying in touch, answering every little question and making arrangements to suit our needs. Thanks very much for this.
I hope that I will be able to travel with Volcano Discovery again in the future and who knows, maybe meet you in person someday!
- Anastasia G (from Russia) about her participation on our Desert, salt and volcanoes expedtion to Erta Ale and Dallol, Ethiopia in January 2018.
"As a feed back for the tour: just perfect!"
just returned from the tour. It was fantastic. Very well organised and interesting with lots of impressions!
Enko is a very good guide with detailed information and also emphatic.
I can only recommend your company and the tour!
As a feed back for the tour: just perfect!
- Uwe S (from Germany) about his participation on our Desert, salt and volcanoes expedtion to Erta Ale and Dallol, Ethiopia in January 2018.
"one of the most memorable trips I have been on - all for good reason!"
my wife and I had a great time in Ethiopia and developed a great understanding of the people and country. Lalibela - especially at that time of year - was simply spectacular. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Enku, Tami and Lulu were fantastic and their knowledge (especially Enku) helped us gain a great understanding of Ethiopia. Even though we lost our logistics truck, Enku was able to make alternate arrangements so all was good there. Tami and Lulu were both wonderful and a pleasure to be around.
This will stay as one of the most memorable trips I have been on - all for good reason. Even with all the unexpected things that happened, we had a great time and those things are what makes the journey and memories. Enku and crew were fantastic and I think he is probably the best guide in the country.
- Mo V (from Canada) about his participation on our Desert, salt and volcanoes expedtion to Erta Ale and Dallol, Ethiopia in December 2017.
"we had a perfect trip!"
Jens visiting the Erta Ale lava lake for the second time in his life
we – Andrei, Cris as well my person – have had a perfect trip! It was interesting for me to compare the lava level in 2009 when making my first journey to this volcano with Tom and the situation now. It was amazing and an unbelievable experience to stay 1,5 m aside the boiling molten rock.
Enku and his staff had done an absolutely perfect job and with my colleagues I have had so much fun like never before!
With best regards,
- Jens (from Germany) about his Desert, salts and volcanoes expedition in over Christmas / New Year 2016/2017. You can also see some of his Erta Ale volcano photographs as well as read the
eye witness report on Erta Ale´s activity during this expedition
The overflowing pearched lava lake of Erta Ale (image: Hans en Jooske)
Rejuvenated Dallol was larger and more colourful than ever (image: Hans en Jooske)
Pele´s hair and tears are scattered all around Erta Ale´s caldera (image: Hans en Jooske)
Thanks for your email! We had a great time and Enku took very good care of us and was a very enjoyable companion/guide with lots of stories and information to share on all kinds of topics. Demis was a wonderful and very careful driver who seemed to have an eagle-eye for wildlife, and of course Meski was such a lovely and cheerful lady, very warm and welcoming to everyone. So we had a wonderful crew with us. And yes the nature was spectacular. Even without Enku's enthusiasm (he couldn't wait to get to Erta Ale and was so happy when we got there and it was even beyond his expectations) we could see that Erta Ale was doing something very special, and we thoroughly enjoyed the many day- and night-shows it gave us. Dallol was stunning, we were immediately immersed by the colours, and amazed to hear from Enku that what we were raving about was normally not active ground, and that the
whole area was far bigger than normal! He was shocked to see that the rocky non-active area where the Flemish crew had done their interview was now bubbling away in white, yellow and orange, such a change in two weeks time..."
- Hans en Jooske about their Desert, salts and volcanoes expedition in November 2016 of which they shared some photographs with us
Observing Erta Ale´s lava lake after sunset (image: Jay Ramji)
Sunrise over Erta Ale´s south crater with lava lake (image: Jay Ramji)
Market day in the Tigray town of Wukro (image: Jay Ramji)
"Dear Ingrid And Tom,
Just a quick note to let you know that the Erta Ale/Dallol trip was absolutely superb. Spending time at Erta Ale and Dallol were the highlights, but I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects.
I love wildlife and bird watching which I wasn't expecting on this trip and was pleasantly surprised at how much of this I was able to do. I found Enku to be an excellent guide; very knowledgeable about the area and as a volcanologist. Him and his team looked after us as very well and please convey my thanks to him.
4 in the group was just the right number and the dynamics worked very well. Thanks goes to you too to set this up at the last minute. The recent overflow that happened about 10 days before we arrived at Erta Ale had changed the landscape somewhat (looking at past photos) such that we had get close to the rim of the crater to get good views.
The lake was particularly active and we enjoyed the spectacle. Also, at Dallol it was a little cooler than I was expecting and I was able to cope with the heat. I'm currently going through my photographs which eventually I'll put on Flickr (however, no photos can ever capture the images I have stored in my mind!)"
-Jay R. (UK) about the Danakil Expedition in February 2016
"Many thanks indeed for allowing the Danakil trip over Christmas to run with just two clients. I am so very grateful to you. It was a terrific experience, and more than met my every expectation. Karen and I got on famously, and Enku rounded out the trio with his own understated but terrific personality.
Everything went well. For so many years I've wanted to visit the Danakil, and you made this possible for me. The highlight of course is Erta Ale which is an experience unlike any other I can imagine. To be able to get so close to a lava lake is stunning in itself; to see the Cauldron boiling and bubbling in front of you is indescribably mesmerizing. The rain we encountered there was both a nuisance and a blessing. Two cold nights with a wet sleeping bag and mattress, bah. But hey, you have the world's best clothes dryer on your doorstep. However the consequent flooding of the salt pans resulted in a surreal experience when apparently driving across the ocean on the way to Dallol. Pure magic. Khellem produced throughout the trip first rate fodder, with the most unusual Christmas Day pudding: three layers of injera sandwiched with marmalade and Nutella. Yum. Plus firework sparklers for all! A Christmas to remember.
You've probably had a report from Enku. The night of our arrival, the lava lake was close to one metre from the rim; we were able to gather some splendid samples of lava-splatter, solidifying in front of us. The level fell with oscillations over the next three days to maybe three/four metres below the rim, but with good bubbles and fountains. My sole regret of the trip: not to witness an overflow!
Thanks again to you and the local support team for making this spectacular trip possible."
-Andrew B., US, about the Danakil volcano expedition of December 2015)
Our small group at the lava lake
Green salt ponds at Dallol
Camel caravans on the salt lake
Good to hear from you! Yes the trip was totally fabulous and I will be uploading some of the pictures which came out brilliantly I am so pleased.
I will certainly be booking future trips with you and I would love to go on another trip with Enku - I think we wore him out doing extra walks & we even took ourselves up the big hill surrounding Wukuru as I am not one for sitting around in hotel & neither was he - I think we were both rather fitter than his normal clientele!
I am aware the groups are normally bigger so many thanks for not cancelling the trip - it certainly has been a 20 yr wait for me to go there and I am pleased to have found your company when I was searching around for how to get there! The itinerary was spot on & as I mentioned I could have easily spent another day at both volcanoes - Andrew & I were actually rather keen to do a climb up one of the sandstone rock churches even if just for the view but we couldn't fit that in as well!"
-Karen A. from UK, about the Danakil volcano tour in December 2015)
"I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and had great experiences" (Danakil volcano tour 2015)
I received your calendar gift just after Christmas. It was a very nice surprise. ...
I was able to tell many people of our adventure over the Christmas and New Year break. I think it was wildly apparent to those that I told that I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and had great experiences.
Most people thought we were crazy, but everyone was impressed.
I saw Tom’s video on TV before Christmas – It was on one of the science channels – it was really impressive and such a buzz to see the things we experience firsthand.
I think the way you ran the tour was great. There will always be unforeseen challenges and they will probably always be different. I think when the “heat was on” people got a little stressed and that will always create some interesting reactions. Being involved with Volcanoes you know that – turn up the heat and anything can happen!!!
All the very best for 2016. I wish you all the best success in the Volcano world and beyond!"
-Paul W. from Australia about the Danakil volcano expedition from November 2015)
Crocodile in Awash river
Ingrid's selfie at the lava lake
"I find it very difficult to express my feelings and thoughts about this trip, which was by far the most adventurous experience I have ever done.
Although I had prepared it as well as possible and had seen many photographs of this area and read feedback from previous participants, it was really still a surprisingly big and unique moment when I stood next to the lava lake, traveled through the Danakil Desert, saw the giant salt planes, spotted for the first time crocodiles, vultures and orex in their natural habitat,
swam in a salt lake under a star-filled night sky, camped for three days on the crater rim of a volcano without any running water or electricity, ...
(Ingrid Smet, Belgium about the Erta Ale lava lake and Dallol expedition in November 2015)
Rückmeldung zur Danakilreise im Feb. 2015
"...wieder einmal hat es VolcanoDiscovery / Volcano-Adventures geschafft, eine faszinierende Reise zu liefern, diesmal nach Äthiopien.
Hochachtung und vielen Dank gegührt dem Team vor Ort, das die Tour bestens organisiert und zu vollster Zufriedenheit und sicher durchgeführt hat."
-Dietmar B. über die Danakil Expedition im February 2015
Dietmar's Bilderauswahl zur Reise
eine so perfekt durchdachte und organisierte Reise, die meine Erwartungen in diesem Maße erfüllt hat." (2011 Reise in die Danakil Wüste)
nach der wirklich tollen Reise in die Danakil Wüste möchte ich mich bei Euch und dem äthiopischen Team nochmal ganz herzlich bedanken. Ich habe selten eine so perfekt durchdachte und organisierte Reise erlebt, die meine Erwartungen in diesem Maße erfüllt hat. Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Reisenden, die wir dort getroffen haben, hatte ich immer das Gefühl, auf Reisen zu sein, nicht auf der Jagd oder auf der Flucht. Bitte ändert nichts am Ablauf!
Schade ist dass die Sicherheitskräfte verhindern, dass man in der blauen Stunde am Dallol oder auch am Salzsee sein kann. Die Aktivität am Erta Ale war mehr als sehenswert, der Lavasee hat einen sehr hohen Stand und war sehr aktiv. Der Nordkrater hat mich wirklich überrascht.
Liebe Grüsse, Tom" (2011 Reise in die Danakil Wüste)
"Alex, Beleta, Reinhard,
First of all I would like to express again my most great full thanks to Beleta. You did an excellent job to organize and manage this splendid trip to a fascinating part of your country: the Afar with its amazing people, the active volcanoes and it’s harsh but vast landscape of salt lakes.
You must have had some hard time to satisfy all the wishes of us crazy individualists: Two Germans and even a Bulgarian! And all those additional demands imposed on to you by your fellow countrymen like the Afar police men, the soldiers, the militia and all the administrators we run into together.
Beleta, you helped us to come to a closer understanding of your country and your people. I can’t imagine to have had a better ambassador of your country than you!
Please transmit my thanks again to our drivers among them Tsigaye and last but not least to Sancho, our cook during this trip, who took care about our well-being.
Last but not least, I must have some words about my very well esteemed fellow travelers, Alex and Reinhard. Without you I can’t imagine to have done this travel. You lifted me out of that valley of ignorance of handling an expensive camera and both of you taught me how to shoot decent pictures with my camera. I would like to express my gratitude to both of you for the many tips and hints you gave me. If there would be an opportunity to travel again with all of you I would certainly do so.
I am also indebted to Tom’s Volcano Discovery and his dedicated colleagues. This travel was unique and exceptional.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year."
- Daniel F. (Saudi Arabia)
Spattering of Erta Ale lava lake around dusk (image: Roland Gerth)
Sunrise at shore of Afdera salt lake (image: Roland Gerth)
... Die Äthiopien-Reise war Abenteuer pur und hat meine Erwartungen weit übertroffen. Ich möchte mich noch für deinen Einsatz bedanken, dass wir ausreichend Zeit bekamen am Dallol zu fotografieren. Die Fotos sind toll geworden und du findest eine Auswahl auf meiner Homepage."
-Roland G., Schweiz (2010)
L'expédition dans le Danakil du 21/11 au 03/12/2010 restera pour moi une voyage inoubliable : un excellent timing, une bonne organisation, un petit groupe constitué de gens sympatiques, ta présence parmi nous, du soleil tout le temps, des paysages magnifiques, beaucoup d'aventure, sans oublier bien sûr l'Erta Ale et Dallol qui méritent à eux seul le voyage.
Félicitations pour l'organisation.
Bien à toi."
Michel H. - Bruxelles, 2010 (Expédition au Danakil)
"...thank you for a fantastic trip. I enjoyed it and got a clearer understanding of the rift system in East Africa and the process of the triple junction there. It was also great to meet Thomas, Michel, Michael and Rowland."
- Kwame O. (UK) on our 2008 Desert, salt and volcanoes tour
Any (future) trip that is off the beaten track...I am in ( 2008 Danakil expedition)
Panorama of Dallol (photo: Jorge Santos)
"Hi everybody, ... Just to tell you that was pleasure having you guys and gals on this trip, I believe we had good fun moments and maybe we will meet again in another trip. Any trip that is off the beaten track, requires lugging 15kg of photo gear up the mountain, no toilettes, a reasonable amount of risk, etc, but could deliver good shots...I am in." - Jorge Santos
|"Hello Tom, Ines, Nicola, James, Steve|
Time passes by very quickly...
but i managed to sort out the highlights of my 650 photos of our trip
in Sicily and the Eolian Islands.
Here it is:
It was really a pleasure to travel around with you and watching all
those photos reminds me of those great days.
Hope to see you some day on a Volcano or in Switzerland or somewhere
else on this beautiful planet...
Daniel" (Stromboli to Etna tour Oct 08)
"I have had a great time in Indonesia, enjoyed almost every minute of the trip. It was a great adventure in good company - a lot of fun. Be sure to look me up when you're next in NZ, I'll show you some local ignimbrite. Hope you like the attached pic. Cheers Jim." (Jim Cummings, NZ)
4-Day Kilauea Volcano Special Group Tour, December 2008:
"Hi, ... I just viewed the DVD I bought and thought I could hear the sounds and smell the smells! I really had a great time on our trip and appreciated your knowledge and experience and your company! It was, for me, an experience of a lifetime
! Mahalo, once more, and all the best! Fondly -- Regina"
"Tom Pfeiffer proved to be a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide throughout our trip. He communicated not only a wealth of information and his passion for the subject of volcanology, but also his delight in the drama and beauty of the world of volcanoes. Respectful of individual needs and interests, he made the experience both educational and most enjoyable. Regina Bringolf, Hancock, New Hampshire, U.S.A."