Hell on Earth: Tourists Visit The Danakil Desert in Ethiopia

Tour company VolcanoDiscovery offers tourists a two-week tour of the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia – one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.

  • VolcanoDiscovery founder Tom Pfeiffer, 40, a vulcanologist from Germany, said: "People are happy to pay for a two-week tour of one of the strangest places on Earth." Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comVolcanoDiscovery founder Tom Pfeiffer, 40, a vulcanologist from Germany, said: "People are happy to pay for a two-week tour of one of the strangest places on Earth." Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • The expedition group watches the lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comThe expedition group watches the lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Multicoloured salt crusts form bizarre shapes. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comMulticoloured salt crusts form bizarre shapes. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Green acid salt ponds - Dallol volcano, Danakil desert. Bizarre green and yellow acid salt ponds and miniature geysers at at Dallol volcano, Ethiopia. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comGreen acid salt ponds - Dallol volcano, Danakil desert. Bizarre green and yellow acid salt ponds and miniature geysers at at Dallol volcano, Ethiopia. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Erupting Semeru volcano at first light: Semeru volcano, a perfect stratovolcano and Java's highest mountain, belches smoke as the first light illuminates its top. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comErupting Semeru volcano at first light: Semeru volcano, a perfect stratovolcano and Java's highest mountain, belches smoke as the first light illuminates its top. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Miniature salt terraces at Dallol volcano: Thousands of bizarre structures of salt and acid sulphur deposits characterize the Dallol hydrothermal area - a volcano hidden beneath the salt lake in the Danakili desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comMiniature salt terraces at Dallol volcano: Thousands of bizarre structures of salt and acid sulphur deposits characterize the Dallol hydrothermal area - a volcano hidden beneath the salt lake in the Danakili desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Hot spring at Dallol volcano, Danakil desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comHot spring at Dallol volcano, Danakil desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Strombolian eruption of Anak Krakatau in twilight. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comStrombolian eruption of Anak Krakatau in twilight. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Erosion gullies in the Ambrym caldera: View over the flat caldera of Ambrym volcano with its thousands of small and large erosion gullies in the upper ash deposit. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comErosion gullies in the Ambrym caldera: View over the flat caldera of Ambrym volcano with its thousands of small and large erosion gullies in the upper ash deposit. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • He said: "This is much more interested than a week by the pool. But people who visit here should remember they are not getting a luxury beach-side hut. It's a harsh environment full of strange smells and sights. But it's like nowhere else and an amazing and different thing to see. The whole place is made up of colours and views you get to see on a scale like nowhere else. The heat can be almost unbearable. But it was all worth it. I just wanted something different." In this photo the sun rises over the great salt lake in the northern Danakil desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comHe said: "This is much more interested than a week by the pool. But people who visit here should remember they are not getting a luxury beach-side hut. It's a harsh environment full of strange smells and sights. But it's like nowhere else and an amazing and different thing to see. The whole place is made up of colours and views you get to see on a scale like nowhere else. The heat can be almost unbearable. But it was all worth it. I just wanted something different." In this photo the sun rises over the great salt lake in the northern Danakil desert. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Adventurous holidaymakers are paying to go right into the heart of this savage environment. VolcanoDiscovery offers a three week tour for around £3,000 that begins from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Retired civil servant Kwama Ofori, 67, from London, holidayed with the firm and several other paying tourists in November. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comAdventurous holidaymakers are paying to go right into the heart of this savage environment. VolcanoDiscovery offers a three week tour for around £3,000 that begins from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Retired civil servant Kwama Ofori, 67, from London, holidayed with the firm and several other paying tourists in November. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • An orange salt "cake" in the midst of a green acid salt pond. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comAn orange salt "cake" in the midst of a green acid salt pond. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • unpleasant conditions recently saw it labelled the 'cruellest place on Earth'. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comunpleasant conditions recently saw it labelled the 'cruellest place on Earth'. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Large lava fountain in the middle of the lava lake of Erta Ale, Danakil desert, Ethiopia. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comLarge lava fountain in the middle of the lava lake of Erta Ale, Danakil desert, Ethiopia. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Small salt geyser at Dallol volcano in Danakil desert. Dallol is a volcano hidden beneath a kilometer-thick layer of salt in the Danakil depression in the Afar region, Ethiopia (at ~120 m below sea level). It manifests itself by an incredible variety of colorful springs and fumaroles in an alian landscape of salt, sulphur and other mineral deposits. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comSmall salt geyser at Dallol volcano in Danakil desert. Dallol is a volcano hidden beneath a kilometer-thick layer of salt in the Danakil depression in the Afar region, Ethiopia (at ~120 m below sea level). It manifests itself by an incredible variety of colorful springs and fumaroles in an alian landscape of salt, sulphur and other mineral deposits. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com
  • Tour company VolcanoDiscovery offers jaded tourists a two-week tour of the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia - one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The landscape is so unusual you'll almost believe you're on another planet. In this photo people watch the bright red glow from the lava lake from the camp on the caldera rim. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.comTour company VolcanoDiscovery offers jaded tourists a two-week tour of the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia - one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The landscape is so unusual you'll almost believe you're on another planet. In this photo people watch the bright red glow from the lava lake from the camp on the caldera rim. Photo: Tom Pfeiffer/Volcanodiscovery.com

Tour company VolcanoDiscovery offers tourists a two-week tour of the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia – one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.

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