“Oldoinyo Lengai” means “The Mountain of God” in the Maasai language. The summit of this strato-volcano is 2962 metres above sea level, and affords direct views into the caldera of Tanzania’s only officially-certified active volcano, and the world’s only carbonatite volcano; records of eruptions have been maintained since 1883, the largest of which deposited ash 100 kilometres away in Loliondo on the Kenyan border to the north west.

Ol Doinyo Lengai is an extremely fascinating volcano: it is the only active volcano known to erupt carbonatite lava, a sensational discovery scientists made as recently as in the 1960s: the lavas it erupts are NOT melts based on silica, but on natroncarbonate!
Thus, the temperatures of these lavas are much lower, “only” about 600 deg. C., and Lengai’s lava does not emit enough light to glow during day,- only at night, a dull reddish glow that does not illuminate anything is visible. Also because of its peculiar chemical composition, the lava is extremely fluid and behaves very much like water, with the exception that it is black like oil. After it is cooled down it quickly alters and becomes a whitish powder.

Geologically, the present-day cone of the volcano was constructed about 15,000 years ago. Historical eruptions have been moderate to small explosive events. In addition to its intermittent explosive activity at intervals of typically years or decades, numerous natrocarbonitite lava flows have been erupted from vents on the floor of the active summit crater.

The depth and morphology of the active (northern) crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep craters walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 uptill today lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.




Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Mto Wa Mto and enter the Great Rift Valley, passing via Engaruka basin and into a semi-desert area that is hot, wild and dusty with the extinct volcanoes of Kitumbene and Gelai off to the right and the Mountain of God “Oldoinyo Lengai” ahead. Around midday we arrive at Falls Camp on the banks of the Engaresero river, a welcome place to shower or bath in the river, or take a trek to the waterfalls hidden in the Western wall of the rift valley.

You will have a short rest at Kamakia camp while waiting for your dinner. Thereafter you will have a nap before being transferred at mid-night by your driver guide to start the climb of Oldoinyo Lengai (approximately 4 hours climb). Once at the summit you should be able to see lava glowing in the cracks in the earth.

Meal(s) : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 2: Enjoy the sunrise and the views up the Rift Valley as far as Kenya. Descending around noon we drive to the camp for shower, hot lunch and a complete rest. You may opt to do a small evening walk and thereafter retire to Kamakia campsite for dinner and overnight.

Meal(s) : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3: In the morning after breakfast you will have a walking safari around Lake Natron with your local guide. Lake Natron is one of the major flamingo breeding grounds in East Africa – en-route visit a Maasai “Boma” village. You will have time to meet Maasai people and learn their culture and day to day activities.

After visiting the Maasai village you will return to the campsite for a hot lunch and be driven back to your hotel for dinner or transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your flight back home.

Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch