Oldoinyo Lengai is a volcano in the Eastern Rift Valley, North Tanzania. Its name means ‘Mountain of God’ in the language of the Maasai people who inhabit this area. Oldoinyo Lengai is of particular interest to geologists because it is the world’s only active volcano that erupts natrocarbonatite lava. It is also the only active volcano in this part of the East African Rift Valley, though there are many older extinct volcanoes in this region. Oldoinyo Lengai rises about 2000 metres above the Rift Valley floor to a height of approximately 2886 metres.
As you will see from the following pages of this blog, Oldoinyo Lengai has been climbed, observed and photographed by very many people since it was first described in writing by German explorers towards the end of the 19th century. Much of the information we have about this volcano has been put together by the volunteer contributions from people who have climbed the volcano or flown over it, and the record keeping is an ongoing process I am always interested to get up-to-date reports, ideally with photographs, from people who have climbed, flown over, or observed Oldoinyo Lengai. With your permission, I would be happy to include them on this site, and in future publications, including reports to the Smithsonian Institution Bulletin of Global Volcanism. All material so used will be fully acknowledged, unless you specifically ask me not to use your name on this site or in the reports.
The top photograph is of me on the crater rim on 7 August 1990; Noel Kirkaldy took this photograph. The photograph below it is of me on the summit, looking northwards on 25 July 1999; Fred Belton took this photograph.
In November 1988 Jorg Keller took the photograph below of me jumping over a small narrow rapidly moving lava flow. Twelve years later (July 2000) my daughter Wanjiru decided to do the same thing before I joined her in the summit crater.