It’s one of the coolest volcanoes in the world, and its name in Masaai means the ‘home of God’. And I mean the ‘coolest’, as being the world’s only volcanoes to exude snowy natrocarbonatite, a highly fluid lava at 510 degrees Celsius, which is half the temperature of the molten basalt all other volcanoes eject. The unique composition of Ol Doinyo Lengai remains mysteriously fascinating to geologists, and climbing it is as highly challenging as it is mystically unforgettable. This god is alive, it breathes and it rumbles as it challenges adventure seekers to conquer it.
But there’s far more to be explored here than simply tackling a volcano. The easterly branch (Gregory Rift) of the East African Rift System reveals spectacular landforms that include iconic escarpments and alkaline lakes. The geotourism of some of Africa’s most famous parks and conservation areas – Arusha, Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and the wilderness area around Lake Natron – is unparalleled. The Archaean rocks of the Tanzania Craton and Oldupai Gorge, the important hominid site, for example, Homo habilis (1.9-1.6 Ma) and Paranthropus Boisei (1.8-1.2 Ma), Lake Natron teeming with thousands of pink flamingos and the great plains of the Serengeti beckon those with a yearning to explore and discover more. More understanding as to the origins of the human race, more connection to arguably the best game viewing in Africa and more spectacular photographic opportunities.
Yet I still have not arrived at the reason I call this trip iconic, unique and enticing. To be led on this exploration by none other than Dr. Roger Scoon, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading geologists, shifts everything to a whole new level. The journey becomes that much more captivating, intriguing and awe inspiring when guided by such knowledge and experience. Oldupai Gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world and comes to life as we further our understanding of early human evolution. Exploring the crater at Mount Meru with it’s ash pit, and picnicing in the largest unbroken caldera in the world, Ngorongoro Crater are a few memorable experiences that will remain forever etched in your mind.