As i arrived in this unassuming place, i realised that what dominated my very being was the incredible “Mountain of God” Ol Doinyo Lengai, that rises out of the dust of this desert landscape.
Below there is a waterfall and river that flows into the Lake, flamingoes and animals abound here, from desert dwelling giraffe that seek shelter in amongst the acacia that dot the riverbeds, to the migratory wildebeest and zebra that come and go.
To get to work in a beautiful yet almost bedouin style camp at the base of the lake, with hot springs around was something out of a dream.
Flamingos squawking and hooting on the lake shores, masai cajoling cattle to move across a barren landscape, are embedded in my soul.
This is my version of Paradise regained. Milton would be proud.
Lake Natron is a salt lake located in a dry and dusty area of the Great Rift Valley.
It’s a very remote place, one of the harshest i”ve ever been, and the climate is extremely hot. The scenery is sublime with one of the dramatic landscapes i”ve ever seen.
The active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai is sacred to the Masai people, they called it “the Mountain of God” and it raises above the plain of the South part of the lake. It’s 878 metres high and it has explosive eruptions every twenty to forty years. Ol Donyo can be climbed up to the peak. From the top the view is breathtaking, it’s possible to see lake Natron in the North, the Great Rift Valley in the West and the Mount Kilimanjaro in the East.
Nine miles from the volcano have been found very well preserved homosapiens footsprints left in the mud between 5000 and 19,000 years ago.
Lake Natron that is isolated and undisturbed is the most important breeding site for the flamingos in the world. It has a fascinating eco-system, being home of a microorganism, the Cyanobacteria, that create its own food through photosynthesis, and the blue green algae with red pigments, the Spirulina.
They subsist upon the blue green algae held in suspension of the water, grazing on the top. inside the bill they have an incredible filtering mechanism. When feeding the flamingo submerge its bill in the water upside down and a rapid pulse of water comes out of the beak
The amount of food they extract from this smelling fluid is amazing and they always manage to be clean and beautiful in their pink Tutus!