Well all safaris should be ‘the road less travelled’ – that should be part of the definition of what a safari is! Sometimes, however, one just stumbles onto something that is so different that you feel like you’ve stepped onto another planet.
Two friends from Arusha who have the well established Kilimanjaro Climbing operation called Summits Africa have recently opened a camp on the shores of Lake Natron. This is a different part of the lake to our side. We have a huge private concession which comes onto the eastern shores of Lake Natron. My friend’s camp is on the South Western shore.
This is where I went on my last safari and stepped into this other worldly experience. We drove in from the cool highlands of Ngorongoro Crater, down into the rift valley and then turned North up the rift valley floor towards lake Natron. The further we got, the hotter it became until we were literally baking. The short rains however have been fantastic this year, so although it was stinking hot, I have never seen Maasailand showing such rich verdant greens.
And the scenery is spectacular. The active volcano of Oldoinyo Lengai is the constant companion looming over everything we do; the light on the Salt Flats of the lake is a constant changing pastel; and the swimming hole – well the swimming hole is a life saver. It is rich in minerals, perfectly cool and the fish nibble on you while you relax with a gin and tonic.
Then when its cooler you can walk down to look at the flamingos, or climb through the gorge to the icy cold waterfall, visit the old footprints fossilized in the rock or even climb the huge volcano. All of this with a constant smattering of interesting wildlife – we saw Zebra, Wildebeest, giraffe, Lesser Kudu and Grants Gazelle.
Definitely a place to go back to…Soon.