A group of tourists stand watching the lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano in the Afar Region in Ethiopia

A group of tourists stand watching the lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano in the Afar Region in Ethiopia

AFAR REGION, ETHIOPIA – NOVEMBER 25: The expedition group watches the lava lake on the Erta Ale volcano on the evening of November 25, 2010 in the Afar Region of Ethiopia.

Pictures show how fearless tourists are paying thousands to take part in a new holiday to one of the world’s most extreme environments. Just like one of the solar system’s harshest planets, the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia, is known as the cruellest place on Earth. In stark contrast to top destinations like the Caribbean, the location is a dangerous destination full of violent volcanoes, blistering temperatures, toxic gases and land masses being ripped apart by enormous planetary forces. These images show paying holidaymakers coming face-to-face with an alien world. The trip takes customers right into the Afar Triple Junction – one of the most geologically active places found anywhere around the globe, where the Arabian tectonic plate is pulling away from a new rift dividing the African tectonic Plate in two. Despite the savage powers at work – and the weird surroundings created by them – adventurous holidaymakers are paying to go right into the heart of it to witness the spectacle for themselves. Holiday firm VolcanoDiscovery offers a three week tour for around £3,000 that begins from capital Addis Ababa. Visitors like retired civil servant Kwame Ofori, 67, from London, are taken to active volcano Erta Ale, the sulphuric lakes of Dallol, and the Danakil salt flats.

PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM PFEIFFER / BARCROFT MEDIA LTD

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