Lake Natron

Sometimes it is amazing if I look at all the places in Tanzania I have not seen. Amazing in a bad way then of course. And in a humbling way because the country is huge! But an expat of course tends to spend most free time (and money) in going home so we only spend the odd long weekend in the bush really.

So I really wanted to do something during mid term break that we had not done before. And preferably something that we would remember forever (why not have high standards, right?). For a second I contemplated going to Zanzibar to have the kids do their PADI but I am sure there are tons of destinations in the world that have better diving so not a priority. Then I heard about the gorillas in Congo (most people go to Rwanda or Uganda but Congo is promoting tourism very enthusiastically) but Celeste will need to wait until she turns 12. So then I thought about hiking.. There is a gorgeous walk from Empakai Crater (East to Ngorongoro Crater) to Lake Natron that goes around Oldonyo Lengai. That is an impressive walk in many respects. So off we went.

The walk itself was long but surprisingly neither the girls nor me had any difficulty, not in terms of fitness, or with the altitude. I think the steady but slow pace of the Maasai, as if he is having a leisurely stroll, helped. The second day however, some parts got rather technical and some were rather steep – some both –  so my joints did remind me of my age. The sun was harsh but nothing that tons of sunscreen and a hat couldn’t fix. But then the views! Oldonyo Lengai, ‘the mountain of God‘ in Maasai, on the right and the Serengeti on the left, Lake Natron in front of you (as a far goal).. I do not have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to do it justice. Stunningly beautiful, amazing, mind-blowing.. ? I will let the pictures speak below.

Finally reaching Lake Natron camp was a reward in itself but what a cool place that camp is! The girls swam for hours in a natural pool, formed by a stream that runs through the camp, with fish and all. We walked closer to the lake to watch the flamingos, we enjoyed the lounge (and cold drinks!!), and kept on taking in the views. The place is so desolate, remote and quiet, it can’t but affect you.

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