Lake Natron Wildlife Area
Like you are outside to the moon, Lake Natron is a surprisingly remote and magical area of stupendous Rift Valley scenery, with a good range of cultural, paleontological and active experiences, notably the epic hike up the active volcano Oldonyo Lengai. Guest accommodation is in just a handful of simple camps. Accessed via a fabulous trek or a very long and bumpy drive.
Here the dry, desolate and hauntingly beautiful landscape and flamingoes are the attraction. The breeding site to 2.5 million Lesser Flamingo, Lake Natron is the birds only breeding ground in East Africa. The soda lakes alkaline nature and caustic environment protects the important breeding ground for the birds by preventing predators trying to reach their nests. The beautiful deep reds of the open water of the lake, and pink and orange colors of the shallow parts of the lake are due to the salt loving microorganisms that thrive in the spring water. These microorganisms turn surface of the lake into an alkaline salt encrusted fusion of color.
Ol Doinyo Lengai, the sacred Maasai Mountain of God, provides a striking reminder that the earth’s forces are still very active in this area. The mountain is the only active volcano on planet that erupts carbonatite lava. This lava ash can turn into a calcium rich hardpan as tough as cement after being rained upon. Tree roots cannot penetrate this layer, and the essentially treeless plains of the Serengeti, which lie to the west and down wind of Ol Doinyo Lengai, are the result.
Best Time to Go: September through to December for wonderful displays of flamingos and best weather to climbing Oldonyo Lengai. High Season: September through December. Low Season: April and May – peak of the wet season. Best Weather: July and August as it is cooler. Worst Weather: April and May can be very wet and the road in bad conditions.
Best Activities at Lake Natron
Climbing Oldoinyo Lengai Active volcano Mountain
Ol Doinyo Lengai, the sacred mountain of Maasai people. If you are up to the challenge, we can organize a trek with a experienced guide, to climb to the edge of its crater.
The climb of this active volcano takes place at night. Departure from the camp around 11 pm. You will start climbing around midnight, and so will be at the top around 5am. You can rest while waiting for the beautiful sunrise to finally admire the wide plain of Serengeti that will stretch in front of you.
The descent must be done before it gets too hot, because the sun heats up very quickly the slopes composed of volcanic ash. The round trip takes 10-11 hours. Proper shoes, a headlamp, pair of hiking sticks and good jacket are highly recommended.
Trek to the Escarpment of Leparekashi
You will leave around 6am with the sunrise, to get to the foot of the mountains of the rift valley. There, you will begin the ascent to reach the place called “Leparakashi”, place of transhumance of the semi nomadic Maasai, who graze their herds in these pastures of altitude during the dry season.
You will meet warriors with their animals but also families who live up there temporarily. They call these houses “temporary bomas”. Your Maasai guide will have plenty of time to explain his culture, local rituals and traditions.Change of scene guaranteed. The climb lasts about 3 hours, just like the descent. We will will prepare you a good picnic. Good pair of shoes advised.
e off on an exciting hot air balloon flight in the early light of dawn.
Ascend to the heavens as the sun rises, painting the dim sky with bright orange and blue hues, as you glide over the amazing landscape.
Delight in a scenic flight in the comfort of a massive, weaved basket, securely attached to a billowing, colour lined balloon. Float across the open African sky, past plump clouds and above green bushlands.
Pass over the Tarangire River, surrounded by granitic rock, dense swamps, and the deep river valley, all within Tarangire National Park. The Park stretches across a vast area of 2 850 square kilometres (1 100 square miles).
Hiking to Lake Natron Shores
Easy guided walk from the Eco Lodge. In one hour, you will have reached the Southern part of Lake Natron to explore the ecological diversity and discover the magnificent breeding sites of flamingos. Around two million of these large birds migrate each year to nest on the salty pack ice, forming in the dry season in the middle of the Lake.
Your guide, will talk to you about the flora and fauna of the lake but also about the Maasai culture, rituals and customs. These local populations live in a semi nomadic way of life around the lake shores.
Your walk will then be extended to admire one of the oldest footprints of Homo sapiens believed to date back almost 120,000 years. During this walk you will cross a forest where you will have the pleasure of meeting our neighbors the giraffes.
Wonderful sunset to admire if you go there at the end of the day.
Explore The East Part Of The Lake Natron
Your guide will drive you with 4X4 to get on this side of the lake with We offer tours with a Maasai guide., +/- an hour drive to go.
The landscapes are breathtaking. You will cross a very arid area, the land has been desertified by salt residues, and then as you get closer to the foot of the mountains, rivers come and flow into the lake, everything becomes a swamp of mosses and greenery.
Huge concentration of birds, pelicans, marabouts, flamingos etc… nest on this side. You will also observe zebras, giraffes, ostriches, gazelles, wildebeests, etc.. You will be able to swim in a natural spring water pool by the lake and visit Maasai families living on the lake.
Traditional Maasai Village Experience & BBQ
By staying at the Maasai Giraffe Eco Lodge, you will be right next door to the Maasai families of Engaresero. You will be able to discover the traditional life of the Maasais, their culture, their traditions and visit their bomas (grouping of huts of an extended family).
You will be able to participate in the milking of animals when they come back from the pastures. Maasais women will offer you the purchase of their handmade Maasai jewelry. The children will be happy to escort you.
You will have to ask for their permission and expect to have to buy jewelry to photograph them. The guides work in shifts, each one will take you to his family of origin.
Special Maasai BBQ: Discover with Maasai how they choke a goat, drink the blood and meticulously cut each piece of meat that they will then roast around a wood fire. During the cooking, the warriors will sing and dance their traditional songs for you.
One Night in A Maasai Boma & Experience Some Daily Activities Of The Maasai
Spend a night in a Maasai hut in the heart of a boma surrounded by other Maasai families at the foot of the majestic Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. Enjoy your meals prepared by a Maasai chef, observe the beautiful starry sky and enjoy this moment alone in front of nature.
Comfortable hut : double bed, shower, western style toilet, solar electricity. No wifi.
Wake up morning and Put yourself in the shoes of a Maasai by spending some time with them. They will make you discover their culture, their beliefs and their daily gestures. They will show you how to load a donkey (good luck to the one who will try, these animals are real mules), how to carry a baby, how to make fire or how to carry firewood and water cans on your back. It’s up to you to try !
You will also discover how they draw blood from their cows by shooting an arrow through the jugular vein in the neck and collect it in a calabash. The precious liquid is mixed with the milk as a source of protein, without having to kill the animal.
They will also teach you to count in Maa by sign, which is very different from our way of counting. They will also spend some time showing you their skills in handling their spears. You will finish by singing, dancing, jumping (there is a very particular technique that they will be happy to show you) all together.
Unforgettable moment guaranteed.
Lake Natrona Wildlife Area
Dream with Us
We tend to recommend the Lake Natron area to guests who really appreciate getting off the beaten track and who appreciate the unusual range of activities on offer down here.