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Lake Natron Tented Camp



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Location

Lake Natron

Country

Tanzania

Description


A simple yet well-situated and friendly camp near the Maasai village of Engare Sero. This is a permanent tented camp on the floodplain of the lake. The tents are on raised platforms with twin or double beds, washbasin, shower and toilet. There are also clay houses based on the design of the Maasai manyatta’s, also with similar interiors. And there is a big campsite with shade, good showers and toilets. The central area of the lodge where everyone gathers looks out over the plains with the lake in the distance. The water level fluctuates continually so it is never possible to say how close the lake will be. The area round Lake Natron is appreciably hotter than during the rest of the safari. There is a restaurant and bar, and dinner is often served out in the open. There is a most welcome swimming pool and the water supply itself is something of an achievement. The region is extremely dry and the lake so salty that its water cannot be used. In the mountains around there are fresh water sources and so water is piped from here (several kiometres) to the lodge. The pipes lie on the rocky slopes so the water requires no further heating. In fact the water is always luke warm. It is of course far from the power grid here but there is a generator to provide electricity. In the evening when it cools down the Maasai make a fire according to the traditional methods and then it’s time to sit around the fire in a big circle under the stars. Some Maasai staff speak English well and you can ask them all about their interesting culture.

The next day there is time to discover this unique area. You can visit the lake itself with a local guide as well as a beautiful waterfall in the mountains. This is quite a walk/ clamber so if you are not up to it rather stay at the camp. It is best to wear shorts that can get wet and sandals suitable for wading through water. These excursions are included. It is also possible to go into the village (not included, you pay there, also suitable for the less mobile). Be prepared for many people trying to sell you things but it is still much less touristy than along the main roads.

The more active can try to climb Ol Donyo L’Engai with a guide (not included, arrange when there). With the exception of the periods when the volcano is active, it is possible to get right up to the crater, almost to the lava flow. It is a very tough climb because of the height (the rim is 2000m above the Rift Valley floor), the heat, the steep gradient (almost continually 45 degrees) and how slippery it is at the top (caused by smooth ash and old lava). Departure is thus of necessity very early - just after midnight with the aim of reaching the top by sunrise. The climb takes some 5 hours and the descent another 2 hours. In the heat of the day a siesta is more then welcome… Of course you don’t have to go all the way to the top - from the slopes on a clear day you get a great view of Kilimanjaro in the east, the forested slopes of the Great Rift in the west and in the south the Ngorongoro Highlands. But one can also discover the area by simply walking about nearer the lodge…




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