LAKAGIGAR VOLCANO AND LAVA TOUR
BY SECRET ICELAND
Book Lakagigar Volcano Expedition
Duration 8 hours. Departure from Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Join the full day tour to Lakagigar Craters in Vatnajokull National Park. You will travel on a Super Jeep specially modified in Iceland to be able to deal with the tough surroundings in the highlands and on glaciers. The main focus is on individuals on these guided small-group tours with a maximum of 11 passengers.
Iceland, the land of Fire and Ice
Ever since the first settlers, the Norwegian Vikings, came to Iceland around the year 874, people have lived in the shadows of volcanoes and glaciers. Icelanders have learned to deal with extremes in weather, floods from the glaciers and volcanic eruptions over the past 1000 years.
Iceland is a young country geologically speaking. It is located on the so called “Iceland hotspot” and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that runs through it. It’s known worldwide for its immense geological activity and large glaciers, and has therefore often been called the land of Ice and Fire
In Iceland, you can expect a new volcanic eruption every 3-5 years. Most of them are small and occur in volcanoes far in the highlands. Usually it doesn’t affect many people. But in 1783 on June 8th, a volcanic eruption becan that changed life in Iceland and the whole world for many years. In fact, the devastation from the 1783 eruption was far more widespread than Iceland. In Iceland, the fallout from the eruption was known as the “Móðuharðindin” (Mist Hardships) as the poisonous gases released by the craters were so deadly that 80% of sheep and 50% of horse and cattle perished, as did 20-25% of the human population.
The gases released by Laki contributed to years of unusual weather patterns across Europe, North America and Africa. North America experienced longer, colder winters. In Europe, the weather remained erratic, with the impact on crops in France greatly affecting poverty, spurring the French revolution in 1789.
All in all, millions of people around the world died in the aftermath of these historic Laki eruptions.
This was the largest eruption since the settlement of Iceland and the accompanying lava flow (Eldhraun) was the third largest on earth since the last Ice Age. Eldahraun lava is estimated to be around 600 square kilometers and up to 15 cubic kilometers.
The stories from when Laki was erupting, only 240 years ago, come alive when Trausti and Guðmann tell you about their own experience in the Grímsvötn eruption 2011. Although it is not comparable to the Laki eruption, they share with you their experience on how waking up in total darkness and not seeing your own hands because of the ashes falling from the sky. About the total silence because the ash was so thick it suffocated all sound. It is perhaps difficult to compare with the farmers in 1783. They lived in turf houses and of course there were no information available about the situation. Except, of course when they went to church on Sundays to get some comfort by listening to the pastor. It is hard to compare to today’s people in modern houses with radio, internet and TV to get the latest news. Lakagigar eruption lasted for 8 months comparing to Grímsvötn only 8 days.
Lakagigar is part of Vatnajökull National Park. On July 5th, 2019 Vatnajökull National Park was listed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The decision, was made at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was confirmed that the natural environment of the Park and the Nature Reserve at Lónsöræfi have a unique value to humanity.
You will travel in a specially modified huge super jeep with experienced local guides.
Super Jeep is a four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicles equipped with massive suspension systems and tires ranging from 38″ to 46″ size. Besides using enormous tires, these vehicles have reshaped bodies to house the larger wheels, extended suspension, and a special lift kit to increase the ride height.
What are the benefits of taking guided super jeep tour to Lakagigar with Secret Iceland?
Lakagigar, also known as Laki Craters, is a volcanic fissure in Iceland that erupted in 1783-1784, causing one of the most significant volcanic disasters in history. Here are af few reasons why taking a super jeep tour to Lakagigar with Secret Iceland can be a good idea:
- Access: The area around Lakagígar can be challenging to access without a super jeep due to the rough terrain and rivers to cross. Super jeeps are specially designed and modified in Iceland to handle difficult terrain, so they can take you to places that other vehicles can’t. This means you can explore more of the area, including some hidden gems that you may not be able to access otherwise. A big benefit is to be able to start your hike on one spot and end at another as your guide will move the car to the end of the trail.
- Scenic beauty: The Lakagígar area is incredibly scenic, with vast lava fields, volcanic craters, and other geological formations. The unique landscape is of an almost breathtaking otherworldly beauty with its rugged beauty and barren landscapes. Your local guide will make sure you will not miss out any of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring spots in the area, making it an unforgettable experience.
- Educational experience: The Lakagigar eruption had a significant impact on Iceland’s history and the world’s climate. A guided super jeep tour with Secret Iceland will give you the opportunity to learn about the eruption’s effects, the geology of the area, and Iceland’s volcanic history. You can also learn about the efforts of the locals to restore the area’s ecosystem after eruptions.
- Personalised tour: Super jeep tour with Secret Iceland are with just a few people per vehicle, so you can get a personalised experience. The tour guides are locals and are knowledgeable and passionate about the area, so you can ask questions and learn more about the place you are visiting.
- Adventure: Taking a super jeep tour with Secret Iceland to Lakagigar is an adventure in itself. Driving the narrow and bumpy track with several rivers to cross can be a tricky thing, especially if you are not experienced to the drive in the wilderness and landscape is unfamiliar. The ride in the super jeep is super smooth and safe thanks to both experienced driver and the modified super jeep with specially designed suspension system and huge 46″ tires with extra low air pressure that makes the ride super soft. You can relax and enjoy and explore some of the most remote and untouched landscapes in Iceland. It’s an experience that you will remember for a long time.
Overall, a super jeep tour to Lakagigar with Secret Iceland is a great way to explore the area, learn about its history, and experience the Icelandic wilderness in a unique and exiting way.
The founders of Secret Iceland are the brothers Trausti Ísleifsson and Guðmann Ísleifsson.
They were born in the small southern village Vík í Mýrdal. They moved later to Reykjavík with their mother but always kept a strong bond to Vík and their aunts farm Efri-vík in Kirkjubæjarklaustur were they often spend the summers as kids.
In 1992, they started their successful business together as contractors for the City of Reykjavík. The main work was the construction of roads and sidewalks. The business started small but soon grew to be quite large by Icelandic standards with more than 35 employees.
In the year 2008 everything changed when the bank crisis began in the United States. Icelandic banks had become far too big for the Icelandic economy and as a result they all collapsed all as one. The brothers had a bad feeling about the Icelandic banks and started to retract the sails in their business two years earlier. Many companies got bankrupted and many families lost their homes and saving in the banking crisis. The brothers managed to keep their company afloat but Reykjavík City, were they got all their work almost went bankrupted and stopped all construction, meaning the company lost all work. While waiting for things to get better something happened that changed the game.
On March 20th, 2010 an eruption began atFimmvörðuháls between the Glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. The eruption was rather small and if you got a well equipped super jeep and had the experience crossing glaciers, you could easily get there by crossing the glacier Mýrdalsjökull. People were eager get there to see the eruption, so just a few days later the brothers had the idea of taking tourists to the eruption using the specially modified super jeep they owned together. It was very successful and people loved to see an active volcanic eruption. In general, most volcanic eruptions are dangerous but this one turned out to be quite “harmless” and “tourist friendly” were you could see it up close and people even tried to barbecue food in the hot lava.
The brothers had found a light in the darkness for their company. Going into tourist business with “tourist friendly” volcanic eruption in progress was a blast start. This eruption lasted for several weeks but slowly faded out and stopped. Just two days later, Eyjafjallajökull volcano started to erupt. Completely different in size and power and was definetely not tourist friendly. The dark ash soon covered large part of Iceland and even caused problems in international flights. The fun was over. Airplanes were grounded all over the world and people were stuck on airports everywhere like in Iceland. Maybe going into travel business wouldn’t be so good idea after all. Maybe people would hate Iceland for all the problem it caused and Iceland was already not on the top ten list in many countries after the Icelandic banks went bankrupt.
Fortunately, It turned out to be the opposite. People were interested and wanted to visit this small volcanic Island in the north that caused all this problem, especially after seeing pictures of the scenery.
The brothers decided to proceed the project. In 2010 they decided to start a guided tours to the site that one of the biggest volcanic eruption on Earth in historical time took place. After all, you could say it was in their backyard. They know the area of Lakagigar as their own hand as they started to going there with the farmers when they were only 12-13 years old. Icelandic farmers have put their sheep on the highlands since the settlement and must bring them back before winter comes. During the tour, they tell stories about the old days when they helped herd the sheep on their horses and the how their father and uncle made the road to Lakagigar in 1964. Today the the road is maintained by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. It is still a rough track and is not suitable for smaller 4×4 cars.
Secret Iceland is a licensed tour operator, authorised by the Icelandic Tourist Board since 2010.
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