Ol Doinyo Lengai (2890 metres) is located some 240 kilometres to the northwest of Arusha town, along the western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, overlooking Lake Natron on the border with Kenya. Ol Doinyo Lengai, or Mountain of God in Maasai, is the only active volcano in Tanzania.
The mountain can be climbed in 6 hours, affording breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley and volcanic formations in the Ngorongoro highlands as you get to the summit. It is an adventurous hike starting at dawn. Remember this is an active volcano, the mountain remains closed for climbing when we have eruptions.
Lying on the base of the mountain, Lake Natron is said to be the only breeding area for the endangered Lesser Flamingoes that live in the Great Rift Valley and it is believed to be the world’s most important breeding site for the Lesser Flamingoes, accounting for 75 per cent of the global population.
The soda lake sits on the lowest point of the Great Rift Valley part in East Africa and is quite shallow, less than three metres deep, and varies in width depending on its water level. The temperatures in the lake mud can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius where evaporation causes high alkalinity. It is said the lake’s high alkaline environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach the flamingo nests.
The area around Lake Natron is often described as having a desolate and almost lunar landscape beauty. Walks around the lake and to the streams and waterfalls along the nearby escarpment, make for a fantastic adventure off the beaten track.
Day 1: ARUSHA - LAKE NATRON
Our driver will pick you up at your hotel in the morning and drive you to Lake Natron. The drive is fairly long and you will reach Lengai Safari Lodge some time after lunch. At the same time, the scenery on the way is picturesque and you will have an opportunity to see the local people, including Maasai tribesmen, as well as some African wildlife. After your check-in a guide will take you on a walking tour to Ngare Sero waterfall. The trail runs through a gorge and you will sometimes need to ford the stream, so we recommend that you wear sandals or the like to avoid constantly having to take your shoes off. A drive to the lakeshore, where you get a chance to capture its great scenery on camera takes place before you return to the Lodge for dinner and some rest.
Day 2: TREKKING TO OL DOINYO LENGAI VOLCANO – ARUSHA/ CONTINUE WITH SAFARI
At 1:00 a.m. driver takes you to the foot of Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano for the start of your climb. The footing on the slopes of the volcano can be treacherous, especially in the dark, so follow your guide without overtaking him. The trek is strenuous and takes between 7 and 12 hours depending on your fitness and resultant pace. The gradient is steep, so it is best to make a short stop with every 100 m or so of altitude gained in order to get acclimatized.
It is best to make a break for breakfast on the way to the top in order to regain some strength for the remainder of the climb. At the edge of the crater you will have reached the altitude of 2,960 m. Here, you can actually hear the lava flow inside the Mountain of God crater.
The descent is easier and you may be tempted to move faster. This is, however, the time when most injuries happen, so mind your step! It is also advisable to change your fleece for a sun hat after dawn in order to avoid heatstroke.
Our driver will be awaiting you as you return to the foot of the mountain with cold drinks, ready to drive you back to the town of Arusha.
Region: Lake Natron