Mount Oldonyo Lengai "The Mount Of God"
Known by the Maasai people as the “Mountain of God”, Oldonyo Lengai is nothing short of spectacular. In South of Lake Natron in the eastern rift valley of North Tanzania, lies Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai (locally regarded as the sacred Mountain of God in the Maa Language), an active volcano. At 2878meters, Mt. Lengai is the only known volcano in the world that sometimes erupts natrocarbonatite lava, a highly fluid lava that contains almost no silicon. Natrocarbonatite lava (most fluid lava) is also much cooler than other lavas. During the day most of this lava flows look like fluid black oil. Some feel the lava flows resemble mud like-flows. Natrocarbonatite lava turns white when in contact with moisture. During rainy periods, the lava turns white almost immediately whilst this whitening takes longer during the dry periods.
Views in the north from its summit crater lies the hot barren salt flats of Lake Natron stretch into the distance, beyond lies the Kenyan border. The day temperatures by the lake often exceed 40°C and a few animals survive here with the flamingo making its home here as breeding grounds, nesting on the salty surface on upraised mounds.
To the south stretches the Crater Highlands, Ngorongoro being one of the prime wildlife conservation areas in Africa.
The ascent of Oldoinyo Lengai is demanding on account of the day time heat, lack of water, steep and unstable slopes of ash and crumbly rocks. An early start is recommended and the best approach is from the west where the morning sun can be avoided for a while
Given the long transfer distance, it is best to trek Oldonyo Lengai as part of a 3 day tour. Below is a standard 3 day itinerary for Oldonyo Lengai but keep in mind this climb can be an addition to a longer safari tour depending on your preference.
Depart Arusha early in the morning and drive to Lake Natron Camp (the transfer is around 6hours). Here you will be able to freshen up then visit Ngare Sero Waterfalls which descend from the Nguruman Escarpment west of Lake Natron. After your tour of the waterfalls you will head back to the camp for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Lake Natron, an alkaline lake that serves as the principal breeding site for three-quarters of the world’s population of Lesser Flamingoes. After your tour of Lake Natron you will head back to the camp so as to get enough rest before your trek up the mountain at midnight.
Your climb will start at midnight and it will take around 5 to 6 hours whereby you will reach the summit in time to witness the amazing sunrise as it illuminates the Great Rift Valley. During your climb you will be escorted by an experienced masai guide. After exploring the peak you will head back down the mountain to the base where your driver will be waiting for you to take you back to the camp to rest and freshen up. You will then be transferred back to Arusha via Ngare Sero Maasai village where you will be able to visit the Maasai bomas and experience their ways of life.