'...Few holidays will be more memorable than a week like this in Ethiopia...'
Simeon enjoying the natural spa experience at Assale salt lake
Peak down to the actively churning lava lake in the south crater of Erta Ale's summit caldera (image: Simeon B)
Danakil expedition leader Enku at the hydrothermal deposits of Dallol (image: Simeon B)
thanks for putting together this excellent 8-day itinerary! It is a perfect length of time to get a first feel for an amazing part of Ethiopia, a fascinating country well worth visiting for geology/tourism.
It was (very) hot, in the low to mid 40s C (100-110 deg. F), on most of the days but timing happened to coincide with full moon which was an advantage for the walk to/from base camp to Erta Ale and for the memorable short walk from the crater rim camp to the viewing cliff edge of the volcano at night. The varicoloured, amazing rock formations associated with salt and other halites influenced by hydrothermal activity near Dalol made a lasting impression and were an excellent photo opportunity even for amateur photographers.
Our guide Enku was great fun to be with and I appreciated hisbroad geological knowledge and enthusiasm for volcanoes. He has some key skills and experience of importance for negotiating with the Afar people to find a tailored solution within the constraints of the arduous conditions. His team was very capable and worked very hard to make our holiday a success. This included highly competent driving, at times over rough off-road terrain, in 2 well equipped vehicles, preparation of delicious food of very good quality for the hot conditions and in quantity that would suit the most healthy of appetites.
The information provided by Volcano Adventures was detailed and comprehensive. It is well worth reading through it all in advance to be prepared for a true expedition with hardships contrasted with delightful colourful experiences. Few holidays will be more memorable than a week like this in Ethiopia, in and around Erta Ale volcano. We went in the heat of the summer at the end of June - this time of year is recommended for the fit of strong constitution. The cooler time of year from November to March would appeal more to many but June, being the 'low season'had its own beauty.
All the best”
- Simeon B (from UK) about his participation on our 8 days Volcanoes of the Danakil Desert in June 2018.
'You have been great throughout the entire process with regard to communication and updates'
Again, thank you for all your efforts, but I have decided to withdraw from the entire trip and accept the full refund. You have been exceptionally helpful and diligent with your communications. I hope to make a journey with VolcanoAdventures in the future."
- Barbara O. (USA) regarding the cancellation of her Nyiragongo lava lake and mountain gorillas'expedition from 24 June to 1 July 2018 due to closure of Virunga NP.
"It was a wonderful experience"
I have not written you before because I came back home last Sunday.
IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPRECIENCE. Yashmin is am absolute incredible person, so helpful and patient and overall full of knowledge.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE GIVEN US."
(Guillermo R., from Mexico about the Stromboli to Etna tour)
"it was great to have a guide who was so knowledgeable and competent"
Just a quick note to say how much Gwyneth and I enjoyed our first tour with you: I don't think it will be our last! A very impressive 'product'.
Yashmin was very solicitous of my mobility problems and I managed to achieve more than I thought. Everything was organised very smoothly and it was great to have a guide who was so knowledgeable and competent.
- Dave E. (UK) about their From Stromboli to Etna in May 2018
parfaite organisation de ce magnifique et extraordinaire voyage
De retour en suisse, j'aimerai vous remercier pour la parfaite organisation de ce magnifique et extraordinaire voyage qui s'est parfaitement déroulé et dont nous garderons des souvenir inoubliables.
Encore un grand merci
Bien à vous"
- François T. (CH) about his private customised Nyiragongo lava lake and mountain gorillas expedition in May 2018)
excellent privately guided 3 days geology tour on Santorini Island
Stefan and tour guide Ingrid at Santorini's famous red beach (image: Roxana H.)
"Dear Dr. Tom Pfeiffer,
there was an excellent privately guided 3 days geology tour on Santorini Island (8-10 February 2018) of which tour guide was the geologist Dr. Ingrid Smet. It was a great experience for me and my wife. Thank you for proposing that Ingrid should join us in this geological tour, she has conducted the expedition correctly and efficiently. The gallery of pictures posted on the VolcanoDiscovery.com website, taken by Ingrid during this tour, contains professional photos that will complete our collection of Santorini photos.
- Stefan H. (Romania) about a privately guided 3 days geology tour on Santorini in February 2018
The organisation throughout was brilliant, in an area where its anything but straightforward.
At the end of January 2018 the southern hornito was active again, creating a lava flow that fed the lava lake (image: Mike W)
Observing and photographing the lava lake at night (image: Mike W)
I just wanted to thank you for a really great week last week. The lava lake was incredible - particularly at night, and while I hadn't been that fussed about seeing the mountain gorillas, they were pretty amazing so close-up and a real highlight.
Sam was outstanding throughout - he certainly had to put up with some slightly trickier times with his guests than I think he should have - but he kept an amazing sense of humour throughout and honestly did far more than anyone could reasonably have asked of him. Without doubt he's the best guide I've ever had on any trip and I learnt a huge amount about Rwanda from him.
The organisation throughout was brilliant, in an area where its anything but straightforward.
Thanks for giving me my first opportunity (definitely not my last) to see lava (and to hear it - particularly at night, which I thought was amazing!).
Can't wait to travel with you - and hopefully meet you in person - in the future."
- Mike W. (UK) about his Nyiragongo lava lake and mountain gorillas expedition in January 2018)
"... 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.
Nothing to complaint or suggest - just a big thank you!!!
this was a very nice tour, which i enjoyed very much. Nothing to complaint or suggest - just a big thank you!!!
Preparation and info in advance by you (incl. very quick and useful answer of any question) and your team was perfect. Driving and management in Ruanda and Congo was excellent thanks to Samuel. Food was excellent too - also the one cooked at Nyirangongo.
We were lucky with the weather and got dry up and down Nyiragongo as well as to the Gorillas and back. The views from the crater edge down to the magma lake were magnificent during all 3 evenings spent up there. And watching the gorillas was also very spectacular.
- Tobias F. (Germany) about his Nyiragongo lava lake and mountain gorillas expedition in January 2018)
The local staff were fantastic!
the local staff were fantastic. Sam - our main guide - was very reliable & handling local problems. The cook was excellent. The porters were very helpful when they saw people in trouble especially coming down Nyiragongo."
- Alan R. (UK) about his Nyiragongo lava lake and mountain gorillas expedition in January 2018)
"Thank you so much for such a wonderful 2 weeks in Italy!" (Ali & Gabriela about the the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2017)
I believe I speak for all of us when I say: Thank you so much for such a wonderful 2 weeks in Italy! It was an unforgettable experience, and it was so great to make new friends as well! We will definitely book another trip with you again, hopefully sometime next year.
It was great meeting you all and we hope to see you again in the future! If any of you plan to visit New York sometime, please reach out to us, we'd love to show you around.
Florian, thank you so much for making our time in Naples so enjoyable. Please let me know when you find out what the white lines mean.
Ali & Gabriela
(from New York, USA, about the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2017)
"thank you for an incredible trip in Iceland"
Just wanted to say thank you for an incredible trip in Iceland a few months ago, I've been working on the editing all the footage I took, so it kind of felt like I was still there. The weather was great, Chris is a great guide, and Iceland is just insane!
I put together a 45 min, day by day video of the trip, might serve as a good advert for others considering it, feel free to share :)
Many thanks, looking forward to next years trip with you guys!
(from UK, about his Colors of Iceland tour in August 2017)
"I have always been fascinated by volcanoes." (Robert B. about the the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2016)
I read your excellent article in today's Wall Street Journal this morning.
Last October, my wife Jenean and I did a grand tour of all of Italy's volcanoes through a group called Volcano-Adventures (www.volcanodiscovery.com). We began our two-week trip in Naples at Mt. Vesuvius, followed it up with Campi Flegrei, took a ferry to Stromboli, sailed to the other Aeolean Islands, and ended up at Mt. Etna. Our trip was guided by a volcanologist who explained all the natural phenomena to us. In between, we were treated to excellent restaurants and wine tastings. We also stayed in excellent hotels.
We spent several days in Stromboli. Our hotel was the Villaggio Stromboli, where we were able to look out over the water to Strombolicchio. Midway up the volcano is a restaurant called Osservatorio, where the only lighting is provided by candles, and each eruption of a lava fountain is punctuated by oohs and aahs from the customers just like during Fourth of July fireworks. From that point, my wife ascended the rest of the mountain to the summit crater. I walked back down to the hotel because my knees can no longer handle steep climbs and descents. She spent several hours at the top of the volcano and got some great pictures and videos of the eruptions. Jenean arrived back at the hotel several hours later, and she said that her leg muscles felt like jello.
We also spent some time at the islands of Lipari and Vulcano. Our small boat took us through places in the Tyrrhenian Sea that was bubbling with volcanic gases. The water was like seltzer, but the bubbles smelled like sulfur. The island of Vulcano is very active, with steam vents and mud baths everywhere. Lipari was enjoyable also. It goes without saying that all these places had excellent food. The Aeolian Islands are unknown to most American tourists, and we didn't see very many.
We have many pictures and videos from our trip. We would be happy to share them with you. Stromboli is but one of many volcanoes in Italy. It is relatively easy to hike to the crater of Vesuvius. Even I was able to do it. Of more significance is the city of Pozzouli, which sits atop Campi Flegrei (a.k.a Phlegraean Fields), a supervolcano above which live about two million people. Mt. Etna is the grand finale. In addition to the activity of the volcano itself, the surrounding area is filled with the marks and effects that the volcano has left upon it. You can truly appreciate the massive power of Mother Nature.
This was a bucket-list vacation for me. I have always been fascinated by volcanoes. ...
Keep up the good work." (Robert B., California, about the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2016)
Exciting and educational experience
Valle del Bove
Dear Emanuela (and Marco)
We all think that you where both fantastic yesterday and we are all very
great full for this exciting and educational experience you gave us
Personally I owe you both a big thank you for looking after Maria and
Rae when it went a bit downhill, Rae a lot, and Maria definitely learned
that she can enjoy things when they become a bit risky.
Marco, I think that you have helped Alex to reconfirm that Geography and
ultimately the volcano element will be a big part of his education over
the next 3 to 4 years.
Thank you so much for a great day and experience that we will all
treasure for many years.
Thanks for the pictures and thanks again for hosting us in Etna- Etna turned out to be the highlight of our Italian trip Please pass our thanks on to Marco as well
(Valle del Bove)
... it was such an exciting experience for us...
for me the best mountain-experience I have ever had!
Just wanted to say that Reinhard and I loved our Etna Tour and Marco was a great guide.
He really took good care of us and made it very special.
I want to thank you as well for always answering my questions in a very professional manner.
Thanks to your team for helping us make our dream come true.
Lori and Reinhard
"a wonderful experience with you"
Tom photographing the lava flows (image: Leland L.)
After spending the last 5 days together, our quick farewell seemed a bit anti-climatic. Please know that Mimi and I had a wonderful experience with you and we will treasure it for a very long time!
Your knowledge, guiding and patience makes you stand out as an exceptional volcano/geologist professional!
Mahalo, and please keep in touch, Leland and Mimi"
(Leland L., from L.A. about the Kilauea Volcano Special in March 2017)
"the trip was, simply said, excellent and super"
Lizard waiting for the rest of vegetables thrown away from kitchen... (image: Richard Pichl)
...and one happy camel (same as I was) (image: Richard Pichl)
the trip was, simply said, excellent and super including logistics, staff, food, geology, etc. Enclosed you'll find a short excursion debriefing :-). The staff was excellent and I've never met better one. Enku is really great and sensitive person, willing to do whatever for others, and loving geology. He showed us everything he could or we wanted. Demis (our driver) is an even-tempered man all time smiling and was my personal guide on fragile lava. Meski (our cook) is so good in cooking. First day I was a little bit startled of eating unknown meals but next days I was eating so much (big portions of very tasty meals) that my weight increased by 1.5 kg.
Thank you very much for the beautiful trip and I'm looking forward to the next volcano expedition.
Many greetings from freezing Prague.
- Richard (from the Czech Republic) about his participation on our first Erta Ale volcano special in from 14 to 21 January 2017. Fellow traveler Paul shared his photographs of this unique high activity at Erta Ale.