South of Lake Natron in the eastern rift valley of North Tanzania, lies Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai (locally regarded as the sacred Mountain of God in the Maasai Language), an active volcano. At 2878meters, Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only known volcano in the world that sometimes erupts natrocarbonatite lava, highly fluid lava that contains almost no silicon. Natrocarbonatite lava (most fluid lava) is also much cooler than other lavas. During the day most of this lava flows look like fluid black oil. Some feel the lava flows resemble mud like-flows. Natrocarbonatite lava turns white when in contact with moisture. During rainy periods, the lava turns white almost immediately whilst this whitening takes longer during the dry periods.
Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai also has phases of explosive activity during 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 two most recent eruptions of this type occurred during 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
Reasons to hike mount ol doinyo lengai
Ol’doinyo Lengai is the only active volcanic mountain in the East African Rift Valley Region, this makes it special if you are keen on learning more on volcanic activities
Great stunning Views, in the north from its summit crater lies the hot barren salt flats of Lake Natron stretch into the distance, beyond lies the Kenyan border. The view on the east is dominated by Mt Kilimanjaro and to the west the forested escarpments and hills comprising the western slopes of the Great African Rift Valley.
Great detour or safari extension, when going on a Tanzanian northern circuit safari you can make an extension to lake natron where you can do several activities and hike mount ol doinyo lengai which takes several hours.
Cultural exploration, the mountain is surrounded by the Masai community which is one of Africa’s popular tribes, known for strong cultures and living a life outside of civilization. You can even have a Masai guide as you take on the hike
Best time to hike Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai
Ol Doinyo Lengai can be trekked all year round, though the best time to tackle this mountain is during the dry season, from June to October and from January to March, April & may be avoided as it is the rainy season
It takes 6 to 9 hours to hike Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai
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