TREKKING ON OLDOINYO L'ENGAI, 2890 m.
The Maasaï hold this to be a sacred area, where the presence of the Maasai god is palpable. It is a very impressive climb but very steep and difficult– so not to be undertaken lightly. As the volcano was quite active recently, many of our guests had the chance to see the lava flow. Carefully exploring the actual crater area is a highlight.The ascent is a one day trek but leaving in the early hours. Some more hardy visitors spend a night at the top, in the secondary crater to take advantage of the volcano being tinged with bright pink in the dark. At the start, it is a very steep trail in the inky dark (or if lucky, by moonlight) so we recommend a head-torch for this trek.
Midway up the slope, the trail disappears and gives way to a path through boulders and volcanic ash. This is much like Mount Kilimanjaro up through a scree / ash mix and is painfully slow and arduous (one step forward, one step back!) Just before the summit, the slope becomes very steep indeed and the guides are equipped with ropes which the trekkers can tie up to their harness included, if they wish, to help on this last stage. It is like rock scrambling in that hands are used to clamber and keep balance. Shortly before reaching the actual summit, the yellowish sulphuric fumes can be seen. The interior of the crater is breathtaking and unreal - even dreamlike: the heart of the volcano is covered with white lava and there are some smaller cones which erupt occasionally with a very impressive gurgling roar. The god of the Maasai is very much there...