Mt Oldoinyo Lengai which locally regarded as the sacred Mountain of God by maa speaking (Maasai) lies on the south of Lake Natron the soda lake in the eastern rift valley of North Tanzania. At 2878 meters above the see level Mt. Oldoinyo Lengai is an active volcanic Mountain globally known for its natrocarbonatite lava which is mostly a highly fluid lava and much cooler than other lavas. (See our Tanzania safari package which includes Lengai Trekking – Camping Safari Oldoinyo Lengai Trek 6 Days )
Natrocarbonatite lava contains almost no silicon and during the day most of this lava flows resembling black oil but sometimes looks mud like-flows. This lava turns white when contacts with moisture. At the beginning of the rainy season the lava turns white right away and it maintain this whiteness much longer during the dry season.
Mt Oldoinyo Lengai also has phases of explosive activity during which the composition of the lava may contain much more silicate material. With this type of eruption, initial phases of the eruption may include strong lava fountains but usually there is no fluid lava and ash eruptions accompanied by ejection of rocks and explosions occurs.
The two most recent eruptions of this type occurred during 1966-1967 and 2007-2008. Almost without fail, about every seven years Mt Ol doinyo Lengai erupts and plumes of smoke billow out of the crater. At other times it is possible to walk down into the crater, almost to the edge of the molten lava flows. 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 a breeding grounds, nesting on the salty surface on upraised mounds. The view on the east is dominated by Mt Kilimanjaro and to the west the forested escarpments and hills comprising the western slopes of the Great African Rift Valley. To the south stretches the Crater Highlands, Ngorongoro being one of the prime wildlife conservation areas in Africa.
The ascent of Mt 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.
We mostly combine our Tanzania wildlife safari package with Mt Oldoinyo Lengai climb. Please tell us if you wish to include this in your safari package. Asante Sana!