Ol Doinyo Lengai
The active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai lies south of Lake Natron. Ol Doinyo Lengai, the “Mountain of God”, is a sacred site for the Maasai, who believe that their God Eng’ai dwells within the majestic volcano and causes eruptions and drought when he is displeased. The Maasai honor their God with a long pilgrimage up the mountain to receive his blessing for rain, cattle and children, and women who cannot have children are brought to the mountain by elders to receive the blessing for motherhood.
Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only active volcano in the world that produces carbonatite lava. This lava is very thin and has almost the viscosity of water. Recently solidified lava has a dark color like liquid black oil, but then turns white when it comes into contact with moisture. The natrocarbonatite lava of this volcano reaches a comparatively low temperature of between 491 °C and 590 °C, but it originates from the earth’s mantle. In July 2007, the last major eruption occurred with ash ejections several kilometers high.
Since the first description by German explorers at the end of the 19th century, the mountain has attracted many climbers, geologists and photographers. However, the volcano is rarely climbed due to its remote location and lack of infrastructure. The ascent is technically easy, but very strenuous, as it is pathless and in the upper part it runs in up to 45° steep lava channels on the western flank of the volcano. The trekking tour leads you to the 2878m high summit, which rises above the dry Rift Valley. From here you can look out over the hot, barren salt marshes of Lake Natron in the north. The view to the east is dominated by Mount Kilimanjaro.