Ol Donyo Lengai, 2878m (9650ft),
Note: On 30th March 2006 Lengai erupted. 3000 people have been evacuated from nearby villages and there was a temporary ban on visiting the area. The ban has now been removed and the area and Lengai are open to visitors. However we now only arrange trips to Lengai on special request if conditions allow.
This is an active volcano in northern Tanzania lying just south of Lake Natron.
It is located in the Rift Valley, in the heart of Masaai country, and locally
regarded as a sacred mountain. Looking north from its summit crater the hot
barren salt flats of Lake Natron stretch into the distance. To the south
stretch the Crater Highlands and the Ngorongoro Game Reserve. The eastern
horizon is dominated by Kilimanjaro and to the west the forested escarpments
and hills comprising the western slopes of the Rift Valley. About every seven
years Lengai erupts and plumes of smoke billow out of the crater. Almost
always it is possible to walk across the crater floor, often to the edge of the
The ascent of Lengai is demanding on account of the day time heat, lack of
water, steep and unstable slopes of ash and crumbly rocks and considerable
height gain, 1600m. or just over 5000ft. Starting at midnight from Lake Natron it is just possible to
reach the summit by dawn at a gentle pace. Although shorts and a warm jacket
are suitable for the ascent, long trousers might be more pleasant as the summit
just before dawn can be cold. Our access route from the north-west allows an early descent to be made from the summit in the morning shadow.
Read a full account of an ascent.
From Moshi it is best to allow three days for the trip, but it could just be done in 2 days (it takes about 7 hours to drive from Moshi to Ngare Sero). We
offer a fully guided climb, the trip is suitable for a fit mountain walker with
some scrambling experience. A suggested minimum itinerary could be:
- Drive from Moshi to Lake Manyara, game drive, camp at Twiga.
- Drive to Ngare Sero campsite. Walk up to the Ngare Sero source - a magnificent
rock amphitheatre with springs gushing out of the rock faces.
- Midnight start, drive to the base of the climb, walk to the summit (allow 5
hrs). If possible descend into the active crater then walk down. Lunch at
Ngare Sero. Drive back to Moshi.
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warming up on recent lava flow