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Lake Natron

A lot of people skip Lake Natron and I'm really glad I included it.  Natron is hard to get to.  It took us 4 hours of driving to get between Tarangire and Natron.  Only about 45 minutes of that is on pavement, then it's a dirt road the rest of the way.  The first two hours on the dirt road was decent for us. The last hour and a half was ROUGH, even by backroads Montana standards.  It's also very hot most of the year.  I was there in December and the daily high temperatures were well over 95.  

The payoff is in the stark beauty, the remoteness, the lack of tourists.  I was the only person at Lake Natron Camp the first night I was there. The second night there was one other traveler, a French photographer who was shooting the night sky and the tens of thousands of flamingos.  Most people come here for the massive number of flamingoes, up to 200,000 by some counts.  They are a short 10 minute walk from camp.  

Flamingos at Lake Natron
Flamingos at Lake Natron (Kassandra Magruder)

Lake Natron Camp has a natural spring that flows into the lake.  They have built a swimming hole and an awning provides shade.  It's a fantastic place to relax, read a book and have a beverage.  Zebra graze along the banks of the spring and provide a picturesque backdrop.  

Lake Natron Camp
Lake Natron Camp (Kassandra Magruder)

The guides at Lake Natron Camp are Masaai and I was matched with Lemburis.  Just out of college and from the local community, he was a great companion for my 2 days at Natron.  He took me hiking to a splendid waterfall, where we escaped the scorching mid-day heat.  
Ngare Sero Waterfall - Lake Natron
Ngare Sero Waterfall - Lake Natron (Kassandra Magruder)

Lemburis guiding a hike in Lake Natron
Lemburis guiding a hike in Lake Natron (Kassandra Magruder)

He taught me about the local culture and community. I was shocked that someone from such a remote village had gone to university and come back to his community to work as a guide.  As a female traveling solo, I sometimes find myself in situations that could go bad.  I never worried when I was with Lemburis and my main guide, Charles.  These gentlemen not only were fantastic guides, but made me feel 100% safe 100% of the time.  

Lake Natron Camp
Lake Natron Camp (Kassandra Magruder)

The road from Natron heads northwest and into the Serengeti.  There are plans to pave it, which will make it a faster drive. I'm hoping more people will visit Natron in the future.  There is also an airstrip here, so it's possible to fly in and out.  For serious hikers, this is where you climb Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano.  You leave at midnight, to be on top at sunrise.  I was tempted, but not with temperatures in the high 90's.  Maybe during dry season :)

View of Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano from Lake Natron
View of Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano from Lake Natron (Kassandra Magruder)


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