OL DOINYO Lengai is the only active volcano known to emit natrocarbonatites, a rare type of volcanic rock that is rich in sodium, potassium and calcium carbonate, but low in silica.
Lava with less silica has a lower viscosity, leading Ol Doinyo Lengai to have some of the fastest flowing lava in the world.
Its lava is normally cooler than other lavas. It is located in northern Tanzania, lying just south of Lake Natron in the Rift Valley, in the heart of Maasai country and locally regarded as a sacred mountain as it is used by the Maasai natives for their prayer to their God known as Ngai.
Looking north from its summit crater, the hot barren salt flats of Lake Natron stretch into the distance. To the south stretch the crater highlands and the Ngorongoro.
The eastern horizons dominated by Kilimanjaro and to the west the forested escarpments and hills comprising the western slopes of the Rift Valley.
Every seven years Lengai erupts and plumes of smoke billow out of the crater. Oldoinyo Lengai” means “The Mountain of God” in the Maasai language.
The summit of this strato-volcano is 2962 metres above sea level, and affords direct views into the caldera of Tanzania’s only officially-certified active volcano, and the world’s only carbonatite volcano; records of eruptions have been maintained since 1883, the largest of which deposited ash 100 kilometres away in Loliondo on the Kenyan border to the north west.
It erupts after every seven years. The Mountain frequently does minor eruptions and form cone like structures to its crater base.
In addition, while on the summit of Mountain Ol’doinyo Lengai one can sight clearly the Soda Lake Natron which accommodates and consist of good nesting sites for different bird species especially the Flamingos, pelicans and geese more than 350 different types are recorded to date.