Lake Natron Off The Beaten Path Tips by Bonobo2005
Lake Natron Off The Beaten Path: 7 reviews and 7 photos
A minor Eruption
Once on the craterfloor you may witness the mountain spitting out some lava every -say- one minute.
Although it were only minor eruptions -of course otherwise we weren't able to explore the crater- still a quite impressive sight.
This is the only place in Tanzania where you can spot this!
Looking down 1200 meters on the bare slopes
After we watched the view from the other side of the rim -we could even see Kili in the distance- and explored the crater a bit, we went down.
This is another breathtaking thing to do as now -in the daylight- I fully realised how steep it was. I have a little fear of height, and with shaky knees I set off for the descent.
It took another 2 hours before we reached the waiting car. The burning sun just appeared from behind the mountain...
It had been a hard, a weird and an amazing climb - probably incomparable with any other mountain on earth- experiencing the crater was a great reward!
summit shot by Javed Jafferji
This beautifully shaped 2886m free standing mountain is Tanzania's only active volcano.
Oldonyo Lengai's higher slopes are coloured white from chemical substance of former eruptions. From a distance it looks like an icecap or snow, a weird sight.
For Maasai it symbolizes "the beard of God".
*** For 1 time, only 1 time, I want to share a postcardpic as it's an absolutely perfect shot ; all credits are for Javed Jafferji - Zanzibar ***
Final somehow steep 300 meters of the ascent
At first we hiked on pleasant buffalotrails, high grass, solid surface. But soon that changed.
Vegetation disappeared, replaced by loose stones, gravel or sand. It was very steep and demanding, Kili was an easy stroll compared with this!
On the last 400 meters of altitude gain there was nothing anymore, just a steep wall of white solid lavarock, and however no technical skills were needed, because of it's steepness and height it was a thrilling experience!
view from the rim on the crater
After about 4 hours we reached the crater rim. While our guide fell asleep immediately we tried to stay awake in order to see sunrise.
At first we thought it was too dangerous to go down and explore the craterfloor, so we were staying on the rim.
The views were majestic, Lake Natron seemed just a little pool and the Rift valley was a barren, unearthly landscape from the top, full of craters and deep, dry riverbeds.
no this is not the arctic!
Around 7.30AM we decided to go down and we woke up Jonah, our guide. He was surprised that we didn't go down the crater to watch sunrise from the other side.
So he took us down and we crossed the craterfloor. The surface was soft like sponge so that we sank a little in it when we stopped or walked to slow. Here and there were steaming cracks and - foolish enough- I was afraid that it all would collapse.
Superb view on the Rift Valley from the crater
Climbing Oldonyo Lengai is a must for the views over the Rift Valley are superb and the crater is one of the weirdest I've seen.
But it's not a casual hike, oh no...The ascent is done at night because of the heat of the day, so that fortunately you can't see what you're doing. Just proceed. Don't look back; don't look up. That's all.
Together with our Maasai guide and armed with torches and poles we started the climb around 1AM. We had to ascent from ca. 1400 to 2900 m
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