Mountain Lenkai (normally known as “Ol’doinyoLengai”) rises about 2,100 meters above the East African Rift Valley floor to a height approximately 2,880 m. The name Ol’doinyoLenkai which means “Mountain of God” originates from the Maasai language (the Maasai’s language) from Ngorongoro area. The Maasai people conduct prayers to God “Enkai” or “Engai” whom the Maasai believe is the Creator of all things on this active volcanic mountain.
Ol’doinyoLenkai is the only active volcanic mountain in the East African Rift Valley Region which attracts many geologists from all over the world who come for research. Scientifically, carbonated lava is dark brown upon extrusion, but reacts very rapidly and turns into moisture to hydrate, then to secondary alteration minerals that impart a white colour to the rock.
The Maasai believe that the “white rock” symbolizes the white beards of “Enkai”. Many tourists visit and climb this mountain which is located in Northern Tanzania every year. One should not underestimate this 9,442 feet long mountain, as it needs much determination to climb because of the steep walking.
However, climbing Ol’doinyoLenkai doesn’t require technical skills to get to the peak. At the summit, the small cones formed by lava can be seen on the crater rim. Despite the fact that Ol’doinyoLenkai’s volcano erupts frequently there are no records of injuries or deaths. Geologists tell that Ol’doinyoLenka’s lava is not as hot as other volcanoes lava recorded in the world. It takes three days to the summit of Ol’doinyoLenkai.
After a climb to Lenkai, the company advices tourists to spend sometime and take a tour around Lake Natron. Lake Natron is the largest lake in East Africa which accommodates numerous flamingos and other birdlife.
Zebras, elephants, giraffes, can be viewed on the walking safari from Ngare-Sero, Engaruka to Loliondo accompanied by armed rangers.
A suggested minimum itinerary could be:
Drive from Arusha to Lake Manyara, game drive, camp at Twiga.
Drive to NgareSero campsite. Walk up to the NgareSero 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 NgareSero. Drive back to Arusha.