Lake Natron is a very alkaline lake formed within the Rift Valley, in the far north of Tanzania. The landscape is harsh and inhospitable, but of a rare beauty.
The lake is home to millions of flamingos who go there to nest and feed on the cyanobacteria present in the lake’s waters in very high quantities, especially in the dry season from June to October and which give them their characteristic pink colour. The Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano is very characteristic, the sacred mountain of the Maasai where the God Leng’ai lives.
This volcano is the only one in the world to produce a special natro-carbonatite lava which after eruption becomes white and it seems that the top of the mountain is covered in snow. The volcano is also popular with climbers, but in recent years climbing has become quite difficult.
The road that leads to Lake Natron is very scenic and gives the opportunity to meet the Maasai who are outside the tourist circuits. The visit to the lake is truly wonderful, especially in periods of greatest concentration of flamingos.
There are various activities that you can do, including an excursion to a beautiful waterfall. Lake Natron is suitable for all adventurous people who want to have a different experience and also visit less touristy places where nature is truly wild.
MANYARA LAKE NATIONAL PARK
This park, which is 130 km from Arusha, can be reached from the village of Mto Wa Mbu, which in Swahili means ‘river of mosquitoes‘.
It has a surface area of 360 square kilometres, mostly covered by the lake and is very rich in fauna, although more difficult to see than in other parks as it is covered by a dense forest fed by underground springs.
These springs also help the growth of many plant species including, to name just a few, mahogany, ficus and tamarind.
In some areas of the park there are also hot springs where flamingos that do not suffer from high temperatures can be found. The curiosity of this park are the so-called arboreal lions. They are so called because they have the habit of climbing onto the branches of umbrella-shaped acacias in search of fresh air and to free themselves from the parasites that attack them at ground level, activating a behavior that is not exactly usual for this feline.
The Hadzabe, are a tribe of hunter-gatherers who live by hunting, gathering berries, fruti and honey and follow a lifestyle that has remained unchanged for thousands of years.
The communities are made up of small groups of around twenty people. You can organize a hunting trip with them and experience a primitive lifestyle.
It is a very interesting excursion that puts you in direct contact with nature. The Datoga, polygamous blacksmiths, also live in the same territory.
The visit to the village also includes a visit to the workshop where these people produce jewelery and arrowheads from waste metal which they sell to the nearby Hadzabe from whom they receive, in payment, animal skins and honey.