Ol'donyo Lengai

Photo of Ol'donyo Lengai
Photo uploaded by Robin Paschall

The only active volcano in the world that erupts a rock called Carbonatite. When the volcano erupts, the

lava rapidly solidifies and after a day or so, turns a gray white colour, and the peak looks like it is capped

in snow. The mountain borders on the western edge of the great rift valley, about 10km from Lake Natron.

From the summit, you can see Kilimanjaro to the east and Ngorongoro crater to the west. Start the climb

at 3am and you get to see the sun rise, and the shadow cast from the mountain goes as far as the eye

can see across the Serengeti plains. Once you get to the top, you see why the local Massai tribe

believe it is the home of their God, Ngai. A shallow crater filled with recently solidified lava that has oozed

like molten chocolate, with cracks and fumaroles emitting blasts of scorching, sulfurous air. The time I

climbed the Mountain of God, we fronted the rim of the crater, and at that moment, a blast from deep within

the mountain shook the ground and smoke came out of a fumarole. Ngai was telling us to walk with

respect. The lava was so fresh, it melted the soles of my boots. Someone once remarked that because

the lava on Lengai was so unusual on Lengai, it came out at a temperature of 700 degrees

Celsius. If you

broke through the surface and fell in the molten pool that was under your feet, you would have time to

scream before you died !

Elevation (feet): 9,500
Elevation (meters): 2,896
Continent: Africa
Country: Tanzania
Latitude: -2.764444
Longitude: 35.916111
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
First successful climber(s): Unsure
Nearest major airport: Kilimanjaro
Convenient Center: Moshe

Thanks to Paul Cameron and Terrill Thompson for contributing to these details. (View history)

Trip Reports

There are 12 trip reports for Ol'donyo Lengai.

  • Log #15000 - by Frank Oliver Lehmann on Mar 06, 20043.00 stars
    I travelled from the UK with no better purpose than to go and climb this mountain; I do believe, it is a magical and a very unique place to be; with WWW.vulkanexpeditionen.de / a company run by Chris...
  • Log #15001 - by Barmy & TC on Mar 05, 20043.00 stars
    Very hard. Left the riverside camp at 3.30 and started walking 4.15 which is about as late as you'd want to leave it and could easily have left earlier. Walking in the dark makes it a bit easier as...
  • Log #15002 - by Michael Good on Sep 19, 20033.00 stars
    Climed Ol'donyo Lengai together with Bluemli Schneider, Fredi and my father Roman. Reached the peak exact at sunrise, no more earlier or later - what a timing! What a fantastic feeling looking down...
  • Log #15003 - by Richard Johal on Aug 18, 20033.00 stars
    This stunning volcano becomes very steep as you ascend, however, it is well worth it in the end. Teh descent is very dangerous as their are many loose rocks which easily fall and cause a risk for...
  • Log #15004 - by Ruth on Aug 07, 20033.00 stars
    Wisdom - don't stop to much. Take it one step at a time. Make sure you take alot of water and good shoes...DON"T under estimate this mountain.
  • Log #15005 - by Juan Ramon Morales on June 04, 20033.00 stars
    We ( Baraka, Avon and me ) began from one of the Natron camps around 2 in the morning. The aire was fresh and the sky perfectly clean. WE followed a lava ridge until a steep wall, where we have to...
  • Log #15007 - by Melissa Havens on Jan 29, 20023.00 stars
    I went with a group of students during our semester abroad program. None of us knew anything about the mountain or exactly what the climb entailed; some had never even been hiking. We began our...
  • Log #15008 - by Neil Heller on Jan 26, 20023.00 stars
    I climbed the steep south-eastern slope of L'Engai in 1968 with the Brathay Exploration Group and the Kenya Schools Exploration Society. Since the volcano had only erupted some two years earlier, our...
  • Log #15009 - by Yoshi Feldmeier on Jan 18, 20013.00 stars
    I was 16 years old when I stood in front of this wonderful mountain. And I was tired too. My twinbrother and a friend of our family, we three trecked with a guide and some donkeys through the Rift...
  • Log #15010 - by Paul Cameron on Dec 26, 20003.00 stars
    Hard climb up the dusty slope , but we saw sunrise across the Serengeti plains. The volcano gave rumble as we crested the crater rim, and there was fresh carbonatite lava everywhere - it looked like...
  • Log #15011 - by Stefan Tomm on Oct 24, 20003.00 stars
    It was a hard, hot and dusty climb to the top (8 hours) but i will never forget the view from the top down to the caldera. Unbelievable!
  • Log #20574 - by Maureen Anders on Jan 04, 20073.00 stars
    What a wonderful experience, still feel it is one of my great achievements and often brag about it. I grew up in Kenya but never even heard about this mountain until I was envited by a girlfriend to...