Ol Doinyo Lengai

To the Masai people, the name Ol Doinyo Lengai means “The Mountain of God.” A part of the volcanic system of the Great Rift Valley, Ol Doinyo Lengai is an active volcano located in the Eastern Rift Valley, north part of Tanzania. It is interesting to note that in this part of the East African Rift Valley, this “Mountain of God” is the only active volcano.

To live up to its name, Ol Doinyo Lengai baffled scientists from all over when it produced natrocarbonatite lava, the only volcano in the world ever to do so. Another interesting fact is that the temperature of the lava oozing out from it is only around 510 °C (950 °F), the lowest temperature among all the other volcanoes. If we can associate God to the word miracle, then this natural occurrence is nothing short of miraculous.

Unlike Mount Olympus, it does not reach the heavens, as it is only 2,960 meters high. But despite its shortcomings, the uniqueness it brings makes it “The Mountain of God.”

Ol Doinyo Lengai may not be the dwelling place of the Greek gods, but to the Masai people, it is the home of their very own god, Eng’ai. Given this information, one can truly say that we truly have copied everything from the Greeks. They believe that their gods are housed on top of Mount Olympus, and so the Masai fashioned their religion out of the very same belief. Whereas the almighty Zeus releases his anger through bolts of lightning, Eng’ai unleashes her wrath through eruptions and drought. One cannot deny the similarities here.

The earliest known volcanic activity of Ol Doinyo Lengai dates back in the 1880’s. Since then, it has erupted several times already, the most recent being the year 2008.

Little wildlife is to be found in Ol Doinyo Lengai. There are the occasional antelopes and reptiles. En route to the volcano, however, bird life is quite abundant.