Ol Doinyo Lengai – Conquering The Geochemical Shrine

When you visit Tanzania, most of the experts would recommend you to go to the famous mountainous tourist spots like the Mount Kilimanjaro or the Mount Meru. However, there is one such bumper mountaineering spot in Tanzania that has many mysteries to unfold. It would not be astonishing to know that each day you would find just a dozen of people or even less and few curios scientists and trek lovers, conquering this Midas touched mountain – the Lengai. The Old Doinyo has been a rarely visited strato-volcano because of it being an active volcano and a very long journey time to reach the spot. The Ol Doinyo Lengai is scientifically very precious and hence it is also known as the geochemical shrine.

Ol Doinyo Lengai – Conquering The Geochemical Shrine

Getting there

Once you reach Arusha, you must head towards the west to reach the Mto Wa Mbu or River of Mosquitoes which is about 116 km away. From here, head towards the North or Lake Natron, to reach the Ol Doinyo Base Camp in about 6 hours. While on your journey towards the Natron, you can also visit the Ngare Sero Waterfalls. Take the help of guides and ride the donkeys to pass over the highlands within half an hour and then finally, climb Lengai!

Best time to climb Lengai

Lengai is open to all its visitors year round. However, one should avoid visiting in the wet seasons, that is, in the months of March to May and October to December.

The climb

The Old Doinyo Lengai is not very hard to climb as it has a steep of just about 45o on higher slopes and around 30o on lower slopes. However, it is a tedious one and would usually take 6 to 7 days (counting right from the arrival at the airport) to fully conquer the 2890 meter high mountain, by an average mountaineer. Since the mountain has a hot environment, you should bring with you enough water resources to keep yourself hydrated during the climb and not fall sick. Whenever you feel tired, you can mount your camps anywhere on the Lengai except the restricted NCA. Do not forget to hire a well skilled Maasai Guide when you plan to climb Lengai.

The climb typically starts every midnight and it will take approximately take 5 to 6 hours to reach the summit, depending upon your speed. The midnight journey would let you experience a view of the spectacular sunrise that illuminates a magnificent view of the Great Rift Valley. The lower slopes are quite slippery and also contain some very weak crevasses from which you must stay away as they can be as deep as 6m. The higher slopes are studded with stones and hence form a good grip and are easier to climb. As you pass through the pearly gates, that mark a recent lava eruption in the Holocene period, you would proceed to the lip of the caldera from where you can get the view of the beautiful Ngorongoro Highlands, Mount Gelai, Lake Natron and Mount Kitumbeine and of course, the beautiful sunrise. Descending down the Lengai could be as lengthy and tiring as the former.

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