Oldonyo lengai , Mountain of God in Maasai language is a unique and extremely fascinating strato volcano that towers above the East African rift valley in North Tanzania just south of lake Natron.
Oldonyo Lengai stands at 2,920 amsl, it is the only volcano on earth that sometimes erupts Natrocarbonatite lava, a highly fluid lava that almost contains no Silicon. Natrocarbonatite lava is also much cooler than other lavas being only 950 degress F (510 deg C) compared to the temperatures over 2000 degrees F for basaltic lavas. The carbonatite ash spread over the surrounding grasslands and leads to a uniquely succulent enriched pasture.This makes the area a vital stage on the annual migration of the wildebeest, where it becomes the nursery for the birth of several thousand calves.
The natrocarbonatite glow at night, but it is not nearly as bright as silicon based lava since it is not as hot.A dull reddish glow that does not illuminate anything visible.Also because of its peculiar chemical composition, the lava is extremely fluid and behaves much like water with exception that it is black like oil. After it has cooled down, it quickly alters and becomes a whitish powder.
Last eruption was in 8 July 2013, effusion of Natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater.
Located nearby lake Natron the drive from Moshi takes atleast 7 hrs, 4 on the highway (Tarmac) and 3 on the usual dusty African road.
Seasons: The mountain can be climbed throughout the year with exception of the rainy season, long rains March – May and the short rains of November- December.July and August are the coldest months.
Climbing Oldonyo Lengai: The climb starts in the night due to the much cooler temperatures and the summit is planned to be at sunrise, this will well depend upon the climber pace. Expected time to be down at the base is 9am.
Hiking: In this area there is a water fall fresh from the Ngorongoro highlands,this is the main source of water for the locals and the various lodges at this remote place. The trail to it takes 1.5hrs, here you can cool down, swim and relax before hiking back.
Visit to the Lake: The most alkaline lake in the world and the largest breeding ground for the flamingoes, your guide will drive you close to the lake and you can experience it up close.
Accommodation: For the high end travelers there are a number of tented camps around the area , and for the budget travelers camping is the solution .
Accessibility: The roads are accessible throughout the year
What to Pack:
If you are planning a climb, here are some things to take with you: