Experience the spectacular scenery of the Ngorongoro Highlands where indigenous Maasai people live in their traditional ways and climb the Maasai Mountain of god, an active volcano.
Oldoinyo Lengai is an active volcano. It is very dangerous to climb this mountain even though it is regularly done. The volcanic activity cannot be predicted and the volcano is continuously erupting. As a result it is always possible that your climb of Oldoinyo Lengai must be cancelled. Furthermore Soaring Flamingo declines all responsibility due to volcanic hazards despite the knowledge of its guides of the mountain.
Day 1: Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast our driver guide will pick you up at your hotel. We transfer to the Ngorongoro Crater where we embark on a game drive across the crater floor. Against the backdrop of a spectacular scenery, the crater hosts an abundance of wildlife, among them all Big Five. Expect to see zebras and wildebeests, meet lions and with some luck get a glance at the rare rhinos.
Overnight we are camping at Nainokanoka Camp.
Day 2: Nainokanoka to Empakaai Crater
Duration: 8h | Ascent: moderate | Endurance: ★★★☆☆ | Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
After breakfast we take off for a full day’s hike through the Highlands of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Ngorongoro Conservation Area. On our trek we get a good look at the traditional Maasai way of life, their bomas and their cattle herds. If you look close enough, you may see some cattle herds that are actually mixed with wild zebras.
In the late afternoon, we arrive at the forested slopes of Empakaai Crater where we set up camp over night.
Day 3: Empakaai Crater to Acacia Camp
Duration: 8h | Ascent: moderate | Descent: Moderate
In the morning we descend to the floor of Empakaai Crater. On the shores of its soda lake we will find large flocks of flamingo adding to the magic of this lush area. With a little luck we also see various wild animals or discover at least their tracks. After scaling back on the rim of Empakaai Crater, we continue our trek through the bush and over grass lands to Acacia Camp. Along the way we can enjoy stunning views of Oldoinyo Lengai, the mountain of god, an active volcano.
Overnight we are camping at Acacia Camp.
Day 4: Acacia Camp to Ngare Sero
Duration: 5h | Descent: -1000m | Endurance: ★★☆☆☆ | Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
In order to avoid the heat of the day, we start today’s journey early in the morning. Soon, we reach the edge of the rift valley. On our way down, we get fantastic views of the landscape all the way to Lake Natron. Once we reach the lower plains, our driver picks us up and will drive us to NgareSero, thereby saving us an arduous walk through the savanna under the scorching sun. The rest of the day is at our free disposal, e.g. for a visit to Lake Natron with its innumerous flamingos or for visiting a Maasai cultural boma.
Overnight we are camping at the River Side Camp in Ngare Sero.
Day 5: Ngare Sero River
Duration: 2h | Ascent: Very little | Endurance: ★☆☆☆☆ | Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
In the morning, we can go for a short hike to the waterfall of Ngare Sero River. It is a short, refreshing hike along and through the river in the river’s gorge.
The afternoon is at your free disposal, in particular to relax.
Overnight we are camping at the River Side Camp in Ngare Sero.
Day 6: Climbing Mt Oldoinyo Lengai (optional)
Duration: 10h | Ascent: +2100m | Descent: -2100m
Endurance: ★★★★★ | Difficulty: ★★★★☆
If you choose to climb OldoinyoLengai, we will be woken up in the middle of the night. Our driver takes us from Ngare Sero to the base of Oldoinyo Lengai. From there we immediately start climbing under the stars in the light of our torches. At first, we walk gently uphill through the savanna, but the path becomes increasingly steep. We continue the steep climb until we reach the summit after a very steep final leg on volcanic rock and ash.
Arrived on the summit, we will be stunned by the moonlike landscape and the volcanic activity. At the same time we can enjoy an incredible view over the Ngorongoro Highlands and the plains. Shortly after sunrise, we descend in order to avoid the great heat of the day. From the base of the mountain, our driver will take us back to Ngare Sero to take some rest.
In the afternoon we head back to Arusha from where you can start your next adventure or return back home.
Best Time to Travel
Generally, the best times to go on this tour are from June to February. Occasional rains in November may prevent ascent to Oldoinyo Lengai.
While climbing Oldoinyo Lengai does not require particular mountaineering skills it does require good physical fitness. Consult with your doctor before you sign-up for this adventure.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.
Oldoinyo Lengai is unique among active volcanoes. Whereas most lavas are rich in silicate minerals, the lava of Oldoinyo Lengai is a carbonatite. It is rich in the rare sodium and potassium carbonates, nyerereite and gregoryite. Due to this unusual composition, the lava erupts at relatively low temperatures of approximately 510 °C (950 °F). This temperature is so low that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas, often less viscous than water. The sodium and potassium carbonate minerals of the lavas erupted at OldoinyoLengai are unstable at the Earth's surface and susceptible to rapid weathering, quickly turning from black to grey in colour. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world.
Feel like more adventures?
If you would like to gain a more comprehensive experience of Africa’s nature on a driving safari or extend your stay in a game lodge in the Northern Circuit or on the glistening beaches of Zanzibar, do not hesitate to contact us.