Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai is active volcanic mountain in 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 most recent eruptions occurred in 1966-1967 and 2007-2008. Almost without fail, about every seven years 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.
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.