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“Once was enough!!!”
Review of Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ranked #12 of 60 things to do in Arusha
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The only volcano in the world to emit "cool" (950 degrees Fahrenheit) fluid lava.
Reviewed 18 September 2013

Having successfully summitted Kili the week before we thought little of climbing ODL with a Maasai guide. Well ....
DO expect a tough ascent, DO take warm clothes for when you reach the top and wait for sunrise, DO be prepared for a steep, hard, dusty descent. DO NOT, repeat NOT ever expect to see me up top again.
Would I consider doing Kili again? Yes.
Would I ever do ODL again? No thanks.
However, I am really, really pleased I've done it once. Challenging, interesting and fantastic views.

1  Thank AndyPlovesSwimming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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63 - 67 of 113 reviews

Reviewed 4 August 2013

There are several excellent reports already on what this mountain is like to climb, so I'll just briefly give our experience. We had already climbed Meru and Kili and ODL was our third climb on our visit to Tanzania.
This is without doubt a more difficult / technical climb than the other two. We got pass half way and the slope and sandy surface had us slipping quite a lot (even with good boots). The guide said it was another two hours, getting steeper and more difficult!
We decided to turn back (perhaps a little jaded of night time summits!), and even had difficulty turning around and making our way back down for some time. Another time, more refreshed, with more ambition, perhaps we would have continued. We enjoyed what we did, no regrets, ... but its definitely no walk in the park!

1  Thank DUBinNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2013

All the comments on the strenuous climb are correct and it is said that Ol Doinyo Lengai is the most difficult climb in Tanzania before Mt. Meru and Kili.

I did not really believe them all but it's really though.

It is very steep and the Massai guides that you might probably have are very well trained and climb really in a fast pace.

Temperature is really chilly and the dust and ash is not for everybodies taste !

I would not like to do it again, better watch it from the ground.

By the way we got up to approx. 1/2 of the mountain, then one of our group got really sick and we had to return.

I forgot to mention, we are from Austria and even if we are not the expert mountaineers were are rather used to climbing mountains.

Neverthelss I guess it must be a great adventure to reach the summit, maybe I will try it again next time !

6  Thank flokz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2013

I went to Lake Natron and the Serengeti through Nuru of Africa Tours and Safari(nuruofafrica@yahoo.com). I have to say that climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai on 10 April, 2013 was a highlight of my trip! You must pay $100 per person to climb and have one of the guides from the village at Lake Natron. I was so fortunate to have Nuru himself climb the mountain with me (he was our chief guide when we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer). Nuru set a wonderful "pole pole" pace, while our guide (Moongay) from the village ran up ahead of us, then slept on the trail. I am an experienced climber, so I thoroughly enjoyed the climb up; watch for sliding coming down in the scree as you will be tired. I am grateful to Nuru for having me well prepared with plenty of water, a boxed breakfast and for taking such good care of me! As for Moongay, you may want to request a different village guide.

5  Thank Bon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2013

I spent some time in the Lake Natron area in late February 2013. The landscape is unlike anything you will see in other areas of Tanzania and is well off the beaten track. If you are looking to see spectacular scenery, get away from the crowds of the Serengeti and visiting Maasai, then this area is well worth the bumpy, dusty roads. Ol Doinyo Lengai dominates the scenery and demands attention.

I climbed Lengai on our second night in the area and it was a night I will never forget. It is a more difficult climb than Kilimanjaro (I did that the week before), although shorter, and the remote area ensures that you will have a quiet climb. Despite starting the climb at midnight, it was still very warm to start. It does get cooler the higher you go but it is worth stressing the importance of bringing lots of water and good snacks. It is a challenging climb - all up with no switchbacks to speak of. I was thirsty for the whole ascent, no matter how much water I drank.

The climb gets continually steeper and more challenging. The loose rocks make for hard work. Of course, as difficult as the ascent is, it is hard not to think about how on earth you are supposed to get back down and start to question what you are doing on the side of this 2960m volcano in remote Tanzania!

But then you summit and it is all worth it. We got near the top in good time, which meant we could have a little nap before watching the sunrise. It really is breathtaking. I couldn't see any lava but we did pass over some smoking vents and went for a walk around the crater rim.

It really does get cold and windy at the top so if you plan on hiking, bring a warm layer and a wind breaker. There was one other group hiking the volcano that day and they did not bring extra layers so could only stay a minute at the top as they were too cold. It would be a shame to go all that way and not get to expolore the crater.

The descent took as long as the ascent but gets more firendly as you go. We also were just having lots of fun towards the bottom so that probably accounted for some of the time we took. The full trip was 10.5 hours from when we left our driver until we were reunited.

If you do plan on climbing, I would suggest good hiking boots and gaters. The others also did not have gaters and commented frequently how lucky I was to have them! I do not use hiking poles and for this climb, liked having my hands free as I used them constantly. For those with sensative hands, gloves might not be a bad idea. My hands were raw at the end from grabbing at the rocks and stopping the inevitable little slips on the way down. I also cannot stress enough the importance of an experienced guide. Lome, with Team Kilimanjaro, was a great guide who clearly knows the mountain and even knew all of the good resting spots with perfect shelter and veiws! The trail isn't always obvious and an experienced guide is essential, particulalry as this is a very active volcano.

For those who are ok with heights, like a good challenge and are active I would highly recommend an attempt to summit Ol Doinyo Lengai. If you have any knee issues, fear of heights etc. then I would suggest that this climb may not be for you. This climb was part of a safari I booked and I am amazed that such a challenging climb is part of a package that you can just book like any other Serengeti safari. Like others have mentioned, there is not a lot of information out there on climbing Lengai and it really is not for everyone.

15  Thank WestKirsty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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