Trekking Volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai (2.960m or 9.710ft)

Ol Doinyo Lengai, means “The Mountain of God” in the Maasai language. It is an active volcano in northern Tanzania, rising over 2000m or 6.560ft above the ground. This volcano spews the coldest lava at around 550°C or 1000°F and the only natrocarbonatite lava in the world. The panoramic view from the summit is exhilarating: located in the Great Rift Valley, one has a unique view of the structural forms of the Ngorongoro region created by volcanism, as well as Lake Natron, which is highly alkaline and saline. This inhospitable looking, very shallow lake provides a habitat for millions of birds.

Ol Doinyo Lengai: 3 days from Arusha

DAY 1: Lake Natron

In the morning we leave Arusha and make our way to Lake Natron. Wild and secluded, it lies at the foot of Africa’s only active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai, known as the “Mountain of God” by the local Maasai people. The region around Lake Natron holds one of the most inhospitable yet amazing landscapes in Africa. It is breathtaking!

Together with your local Maasai guide you will hike to the waterfalls of Engero Sero. You will ford the stream a few times until you reach a beautiful natural pool surrounded by steep rock walls over which spring water falls. Here you will have the opportunity for a refreshing swim.

Overnight – full service campsite, Lake Natron

Upgrade your accommodation: Moivaro Tented Camp, Natron Lake


After breakfast we drive to the shore of Lake Natron before the heat sets in, where we observe the various bird colonies. Often a carpet of dried fish spreads out at our feet in the shore area. The irregular rainfall and the great heat lead to lake level fluctuations, parts fall dry along with the fish, natron crusts are formed, which are collected and traded by the local Maasai.

This alkaline salt lake, as beautiful as it is inhospitable, takes its name from one of its chemical constituents: Natron (soda ash), which is supplied to it by the sodium carbonate lava of the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. Its colors range from pink to blue and change depending on the season and rainfall. The lake is only up to three meters deep, reaches temperatures above 40°C or 104°F, it has no outflow, resulting in high concentrations of salt and soda, and yet algae and brine shrimp thrive here, and even a small species of cichlid in the mouth of the few streams. Storks, Greater Flamingos, pelicans and other waterfowl are found by the thousands in the estuaries of the creeks, while the rest of the lake, which reaches as far as Kenya, belongs to the approximately two million Lesser Flamingos alone, which are able to live on the algae and brine shrimp. Animal carcasses left in the water form a bizarre scenery, because within a short time they are preserved by salts and calcified, i.e. fossilized, by the sodium carbonate contained in the lake. Near the lake, there are fossilized footprints that are 100,000 years old.

The area around the lake is dry, hot, desolate and at the same time of beguiling beauty. Walking back, we look at Ol Doinyo Lengai, which dominates everything here and which we will climb during the cool of the coming night.

We return to camp in time for lunch and a relaxing afternoon, after a leisurely dinner we retire to the tent and gather our strength.


Around 11pm we will wake you up, after a small snack you will start the ascent to Ol Doinyo Lengai with your mountain guide.

Overnight – Full service campsite, Lake Natron

  • Upgrade your accommodation: Moivaro Tented Camp, Lake Natron


Ol Doinyo Lengai

Our ascent lasts until the early hours of the morning, we reach the summit in time for sunrise, which illuminates the Great Rift Valley below. The view is breathtaking. To the north you can see the salt pans of Lake Natron, with the Kenyan border in the distance. To the east, your gaze falls on Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley. To the south are the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Ngorongoro Crater.

At the summit, we visit the crater and the Hornitos, cone-shaped local lava outcrops. After a morning refreshment we start our descent, lunch is already waiting for us. We return to Arusha where your tour ends.

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