Lake Natron and Oldonyo Lengai
Journey to the Mountain of the Gods
Oldonyo Lengai, the Mountain of God in the Masaai tradition, cannot be done justice in words. The conic shaped active volcano is an ancient site responsible for the unusual geographic formations nearby – such as one of the most caustic lakes in the world, Lake Natron. Heated by hotspring inlets from underground, record temperatures in the lake have hit 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Farenheit). The alkaline soda lake is home to millions of flamingos, transforming the entire lake landscape into a bizarre myriad of pink.
The volcanic mountain continues to spew out ash, slow moving black lava, and a thunderous rumble. Those who have ventured to this other-worldly refuge often say that this destination left them with the most memorable impressions. On a 3 day safari to Lengai and Natron, have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to climb an active volcano in under 24 hours – summiting at daybreak to see an unbelievable view of the mouth of the volcano and the many craters in the verdant landscape below.
Take a long walk out to into the lake shallows to get close to flamingoes. Watch the thousands of flamingoes feeding, courting, and preening in impeccable silence and calm.
The untouched and scattered villages in view of Lengai are hidden gems, where modernity has not encroached upon the respected balance between nature and humans. The Masaai believe that God himself set foot upon this otherworldly Eden and left his mark here. Even the air around Lengai contains a sense of wonderment.
The lake is located in northern Tanzania on the border with Kenya, lying in the East African Rift Valley 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Arusha. The soda lake’s warm water is an ideal breeding ground for the Rift Valley flamingos.
The landscape of Oldonyo Lengai is unlike any other active volcano because its lava composition is made of rare sodium and potassium carbonate. The lava is black in color and emerges at a lower temperature of 510C (950F), not the usual red molten lava often seen on other volcanoes. The last eruption was in September of 2007, and tremors were felt in Nairobi and Arusha. Activity continued until August 2008 and has been quiet since then.
Climate & Weather
Lake Natron is at the lowest altitude of all Rift Valley Lakes. Oldonyo Lengai rises to 2980 m (9777 ft).
At night temperatures drop to 20s Celsius, and are at a comfortable low to mid 30s in the daytime.
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