The dangerous and not recommended road to Erta Ale volcano

Located in Ethiopia's Afar Region, the road to the Erta Ale volcano is one of the world's most dangerous drives, passing through some of the harshest terrains on Earth. Due to landmines, terrorism, malaria, extreme weather, kidnapping, banditry, and armed attacks, the drive is not recommended.

Erta Ale volcano

Why is Erta Ale volcano famous?

Erta Ale is a 613-meter (2,011 ft) high basaltic shield volcano, known as the "Smoking Mountain" and the "Gateway to Hell." Located in the central northern Danakil Depression, one of the driest, hottest, and lowest places on Earth. Erta Ale is the most active volcano in the country, erupting continuously since 1967.

Is the road to Erta Ale volcano unpaved?

Located in the northeastern part of the country, the road is completely unpaved, made of sand and rough lava, and often obscured by dust. Unexpected sandstorms can reduce visibility to just a few meters, making it difficult to see the road.

How long is the road to Erta Ale volcano?

The road from Afdera to Erta Ale is 80 km (49.70 miles) long and can take about 6 hours to travel. The landscape includes solidified lava, rock, sand, and occasional palm-lined oases. You can drive within 4.3 miles of the volcano. Due to the unstable political situation in the area, hiring armed guards or police as guides is recommended.

Risks & Cautions

Extreme caution is essential. Potential hazards include:
- The area is heavily mined with fatal incidents occurring each year
- High threat from terrorism
- Mosquitoes and malaria
- Extreme weather: temperatures during the year range from 77°F to 118°F
- Kidnapping and banditry occur often in the region
- Ongoing armed assaults with some attacks targeting tourists and convoys. In December 2017, a German tourist was fatally shot while descending the volcano.
Pic: asturKon