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.
Ol Doinyo Lengai means “The Mountain of God” in the Maasai language of the native people. The volcano is the only active volcano in this part of the Rift Valley and is often mentioned to as strangest volcano on Earth. The Mountain of God for the Maasai tribe, altitude 2886m Ol Doinyo Lengai is a volcano located in Tanzania and is a part of the volcanic system of the rising majestically from the Great Rift Valley. Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only active volcano on a planet that erupts carbonatite lava.
Ol Doinyo Lengai is unique among volcanoes in that it produces nitro-carbonatitic lava, an unusual type of carbonatite. The most recent eruption took place on the 27th of March 2006. This type of lava is unique because temperatures of these lavas are only around 5000c, about half the temperature of normal basalt lavas, and its lava flows with a viscosity and almost as fluid as water. Described by other as a scientifically precious and geochemical shrine. Ol Doinyo Lengai is quite a physically demanding climb. Its steep slope makes it a challenge to climb up as well as to climb back down and daytime heat is unbearable. The best time to climb the mountain is at night when the temperatures are lower.
This allows the climber to witness the amazing sunrise at the summit and come back down before the scorching heat kicks in.