In a remote corner of Tanzania stands an astonishing mountain called Ol Doinyo Lengai, where lava fountains harden in midair then shatter like glass. Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Mountain of God for the Maasai.
It’s a harsh desert there, and visiting the mountain is recommended only for fit and determined people in excellent physical condition. Climbing the mountain requires 4-5 hours moderate exertion. The ascent is quite difficult and challenging because the mountain is steep and climbers are exposed to the hot sun as there is hardly any shade. The best time to climb the mountain is early in the morning, before the sun gets too hot. Herds of zebra and wildebeest can sometimes be seen on the trip. A trip to the mountain can also encompass other nearby areas of interest like Lake Natron. Lake Natron is a breeding ground for flamingos and other birds. There are several Maasai bomas (homesteads) which can be visited, and one can also visit the nearby Mount Gelai, which has geysers and a spectacular waterfall.
ITINERARY – OL DOINYO LENGAI AND LAKE NATRON (3 NIGHTS/4 DAYS)
Day 1: Arusha – Lake Natron
Pick up in Arusha and transfer on rough road to one of the campsites or tented lodges at Lake Natron. The final part of the drive is through fascinating scenery with mini-calderas punctuating the landscape. The camps are located at the base of the Great Rift Valley, with the Ngorongoro Highlands above.
Day 2: Lake Natron
Early morning short drive and walk to the shores of Lake Natron. Here you will see many flamingoes and maybe a jackal on the prowl for its breakfast. After lunch there will be another short hike to Engaresero Waterfalls with a naturally formed, incredibly convenient Jacuzzi! Dinner will be early as it is important to get a few hours’ sleep, before being roused at 23.30 hrs. to make the final preparations for the hike.
Day 3: Lake Natron – Ol Doinyo Lengai – Lake Natron
At 24.00 hrs. leave the campsite and make the short drive to the base of Ol Doinyo Lengai – and begin to climb the Mountain of God. The path itself is quite difficult underfoot and steep the whole way. Towards the rim it turns into powdery ash – like trudging through deep soft snow! Arriving at the summit in time for sunrise, the perfect reward! This volcano is active and glowing rock can often be seen bubbling out of the numerous ash cones on the top. Descend late morning in time for a good lunch, dip in the stream and a celebratory beer! Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day 4: Lake Natron – Arusha
After good sleep and relaxing you can optionally do a game drive to Lake Natron to learn more about the local culture; or you can go for a swim in the waterfall pools. After hot lunch transfer to Arusha.