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Ol Doinyo Lengai


africapurohit
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africapurohit

Here are some photos of a trek in the Lake Natron area of Tanzania in 2006. A small group of friends decided to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai, led by some local Maasai. The Lengai trek started at midnight and we were all told to get some sleep beforehand (which didn't happen). Despite being a tough trek for the sleep deprived group, the most concerning moment was at around 2am when we heard a leopard close to our narrow trail. The scariest part was that we could hear it growling very close to us but could not see it. The Maasai guides instructed us to stand still and close together without making any noise whilst they kept their spears ready. This stand-off lasted 15 minutes before it was safe enough to proceed.

 

Ol Doinyo Lengai and some of the surrounding landscape.

 

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Fantastic views of the Rift Valley escarpment from the base of Ol Doinyo Lengai. In the second photo, you can see Lake Natron in the background.

 

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Crater cones at the top of Lengai and the view from the top making the Rift Valley escarpment look smaller.

 

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Beautiful

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Rainbirder

A stunning place and a very interesting report!!!

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This is such a fortuitous TR for us, AP! Thanks a lot for posting. We won't be doing the actual trek but your photos make it abundantly clear that the landscapes alone are well worth the detour.

 

Do talk a bit about the route you took to get to Natron/Lengai and your general itinerary, accom. etc. on that trip. Also time of year. And wildlife, if any. Thanks.

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Quite a hazy day, but your pictures still show an amazing place. Fabulous views, and especially the "small" Rift Valley escarpment and "tiny" Lake Natron. Serious concern with the leopard - bet you're glad you had guides with you! :o

 

Edit: You should put this in Trip Reports - it'll get lost too quickly down here in Your African Photos and it's really worth making it easy to find. Certainly worth looking at for the photographs alone, but the pictures do tell a story.

Edited by pault
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COSMIC RHINO

yes great pics but I am not up to mountain climbing and would have been warry about active volcanoes.

 

why was the midnight start suggested ?

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Game Warden

Yep, have moved this to trip reports. Was the midnight start so as to see the sunrise from the summit?

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COSMIC RHINO

the area around here was a favourite of the renown wildlife photographer hugo van lawrick

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africapurohit

Happy for this to be in trip reports if it helps.

 

Rainbirder and pault......we had no idea where the leopard was, we had some brief eyeshine from our torches but it disappeared into some thickets close to our trail. The three Maasai were all pointing their spears in the same direction and were confident regarding where it was. There was a point when it was so silent that we could hear the leopard breathing but still could not see it. I understand what they mean by the unseen predator being more dangerous than the one you can see. But this adrenaline rush definitely woke us up and gave us that boost we needed.

 

Sangeeta and a former member....... this was a tough road safari I arranged for a group of friends from work. We travelled in February 2006 (2 nights Tarangire, 2 nights Natron, 2 nights NCA, 2 nights Southern Serengeti, 2 nights Central Serengeti, 1 night Southern Serengeti). The drive from Tarangire gate to Natron was approx 7-8 hours on very dusty roads via Makayuni, Manyara and on to the rift escarpment through the town of Mto wa Mbu. It was a time of drought and northern Tanzania was completely parched, so all roads were in excellent condition. We got to Lake Natron camp at around 5:30pm, washed the dust off, had dinner and then just sat around talking. At around 9pm, four of us stupidly decided to climb Lengai that same night despite the long day and lack of rest. This was easy to arrange at short notice with the local Maasai and assistance from the camp. The area around Lengai and Natron seemed very harsh and there was very little wildlife apart from a few zebra, wildebeest and the odd jackal or hyena. There were flamingos on the lake and baboons on the land surrounding the lake - apparently some of these baboons have become specialist flamingo hunters. The next day we also walked to the Ngare Sero waterfalls where you're allowed to have a splash and a swim.

 

CR and GW.......the midnight start is to avoid the heat of the day. The plan is to reach the summit by 6am and be back down by 10-11am, thus avoiding the afternoon sun and heat. I am definitely not a climber or trekker but others in my group were, so the itinerary was designed with them in mind. I'd rather sit under the shade of a tree watching the animals pass by.

 

During this trip, we also camped at the base of Mount Makarot and undertook another less gruelling trek the following day. After breakfast, we set off for the summit of Makarot, came down on the other side after lunch, passing through small Maasai villages, before making our way to Olduvai. During the Makarot climb and descent, we required an armed NCA ranger to accompany us because the thick motane forest on Makarot is home to some disgruntled buffalo bulls. We did come across one of them but after a short stare-out he decided to run in the opposite direction.

 

Because of the drought, the migration had not reached southern Serengeti and was still in central Serengeti where more water sources were available.

 

I will find the photos from the Makarot trek and post some here.

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Super LEEDS

Wow, some amazing images; mental and photographic.

 

Thank you for sharing.

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Great pics and story.

I am also not a climber, would rather watch it from far away when it is live and active. Saw pictures of it from 2008 - I would have loved to film it.

Sometimes thinking that when I get to know about a really beautiful, active volcano I would have the possibility to just go there, wherever on the planet is is ...

Edited by Sverker
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africapurohit

Thank you for the comments but this was my first and last climbing safari - especially since having knee surgery following a football injury. The knee's never felt the same since.

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africapurohit

Here are some more photos of the area surrounding Ol Doinyo Lengai

 

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More green in the picture when photographing the volcano from Lake Natron

 

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Ngare Sero waterfalls

 

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The stunning views of the plains from the summit of Mount Makarot

 

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During the descent, we passed numerous small Maasai villages

 

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africapurohit

Hi 

 

Ngorongoro crater is not too far from the base of Makarot, so we spent the day in the crater and then camped that night at the base of Makarot. It was a basic camp but comfortable enough (dome tents, camping beds etc). It was nice to spend the night outdoors around a fire and this meant we could start our trek at around 8am straight after breakfast. The trek finished at around 5pm, so it's quite a long day. This camp was staffed and set up by Olduvai Camp and it was all arranged by Africa Travel Resource.

 

All 9 members of our group completed the trek and included quite a few that had no experience of previous trekking. As long as you're reasonably healthy and take it at a slow pace (not the pace set by the Maasai guides!!!), it should be fine. I would recommend a good elasticated sports support for your knee. Going up is the easy part, coming down is tougher and that's when you need to pace yourself and take surer steps.

 

I enjoyed this trek more than Lengai as it was much more scenic and you have a better chance of encountering wildlife (especially if the migration is in the area).

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Stunning photos, AP. I see you caught the wildflowers too! I am hoping that some of this luck rubs off on us as well...

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What a beautiful place - more lovely photographs.

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  • 11 months later...
africapurohit

@@Sangeeta did you end up visiting this part of Tanzania?

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@africapurphit

 

No, unfortunately I was not able to join in this safari at all. But did some good driving around in the NCA and I can't imagine a more beautiful backdrop than this to a rainy season safari. On my bucket list, but have to get fit first!!

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madaboutcheetah

EDITED FOR CONTENT

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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africapurohit

From speaking with people who have climbed both Lengai and Kilimanjaro, the majority say that Lengai is tougher than the final summit hike on Kilimanjaro. Bwindi will be a good place to test the knee before making a decision to climb the other mountains.

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