Tanzania Horizon

Private Safaris in Tanzania

Lake Natron: Flamingos and Vivid Red Shores

Welcome to beautiful, rugged Lake Natron in Tanzania. If you are looking for a real adventure away from the regular touristic paths, then Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai are made for you!

This article will take you through everything to discover while on safari in Tanzania. Join us as we visit Lake Natron, hike to Ol Doinyo Lengai, and stand beneath the Ngare Sero waterfalls. We’ll even introduce you to some fantastic overnight camp options. A little nervous about being on a walking safari? Don’t worry; you’ve got the best tour operator in Tanzania by your side!

Tanzania Horizon Safaris – Visit Lake Natron as a daytrip from Ngorongoro Crater or on a Private Safari starting from Arusha inside the Northern Safari Circuit.

Where is Lake Natron located?

You can find beautiful Lake Natron at the border of Tanzania and Kenya at the foot of Ol Doinyo Lengai. This holy mountain of the Maasai looks over the lake’s intense red shores. The lake’s name comes from its intensely alkaline water, which has a pH of up to 10.5. Haloarchaea, microorganisms that flourish in salty wetlands, create the deep vermillion shade the lake is so well known for. The mineral deposits left behind by the water are known as natron or sodium carbonate. The corrosive water can burn the skin and eyes of animals that haven’t adapted to its high pH. You won’t want to take a dip to cool off here!

While deposits of sodium carbonate do lead to animal mummification, the lake supports a thriving, beautiful ecosystem of salt marshes and freshwater wetlands. 

Wait, did we say mummification? When the circle of life takes its toll, and an animal dies and somehow ends up in the water, the minerals in the lake will calcify their bodies and seemingly turn them to stone. Medusa has not been at work here, but it can be an eerie sight. Carbonate minerals are the same materials that ancient Egyptians used in their ceremonial mummification. It’s fascinating to see this phenomenon in the wild. 

Some media likes to make it sound like Lake Natron is one stop on the way to the underworld. That is far from the truth! Look out over the lake, and you will see flocks of flamingos calling Lake Natron home. The vivid flamingos create a masterful array of colors against the backdrop of Lake Natron’s red shores. Take a look into the water, and you will see tilapia fish delighting in the water. Once a species has adapted to the sodium carbonate, it can thrive. 

A visit to Lake Natron is a once-in-a-lifetime sight you will cherish for years. 

Ol Doinyo Lengai: the Holy Mountain of the Maasai

Climb Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai with Tanzania Horizon Safaris (1)

Ol Doinyo Lengai means mountain of God in Maasai language. This is an active volcano south of Lake Natron. It is the only active volcano known to emit natrocarbonatite, a volcanic rock rich in potassium, sodium, and calcium carbonate that gives Lake Natron its red color. Because the lava is also low in silica, it is some of the fastest-flowing lava worldwide. The lava only glows at night; it flows in stark oil-spill-like black during the day. 

To the nomadic Maasai, the indigenous people that call Kenya and northern Tanzania home, Ol Doinyo Lengai is the most respected mountain in the area. The Maasai believe that their God Eng’ai resides in the volcano, and eruptions and droughts are a symptom of his displeasure. Long pilgrimages up Ol Doinyo Lengai by the Maasai serve to bring about rain and other blessings. 

While tourists can climb the mountain, it is no easy feat. During a hike to Ol Doinyo Lengai, you will see the canyons created by previous volcanic eruptions. The mountain is extremely steep and takes experience and determination to climb. A hike to the summit and down takes up to 12 hours for an adept hiker and is usually undertaken from midnight onwards. 

As an equally beautiful but less physically and mentally taxing alternative, we’d love to take you to the Ngare Sero Waterfalls. 

Ngare Sero Waterfalls

Just at the foot of imposing Ol Doinyo Lengai, hidden in the Ngare Sero Gorge, you’ll find the spectacular Ngare Sero Waterfalls. With temperatures reaching 50 degrees celsius at midday, a refreshing dip under the waterfall may be just what you need. As you float serenely on your back, looking into the palm trees, the strenuous hike to the Ngare Sero Waterfalls get here will be well worth it. 

Microadventures like this one are why a walking safari in Tanzania is one of the best ways to discover the region and all its hidden gems. 

Camps at Lake Natron

Whether you’re choosing a day trip safari or a multi-day adventure, you will want to stay in one of the most comfortable camps in the area. Some of your Lake Natron campsite options are:

Lake Natron Camp: ten spacious guest tents await you in this ecological camp, located in a visually dramatic location. Cuddle into your Egyptian cotton sheets after a long day exploring northern Tanzania.

Africa Safari Lake Natron: get ready to glamp in one of the air-conditioned accommodations with everything to offer, from a swimming pool to sunbeds and an elevated restaurant with a view of the flamingos. 

Lake Natron River Camp: intimate and straightforward are the best ways to describe this relaxed camp located south of Natron village. Here you’ll find six permanent safari tents with private shower and toilet facilities and a patio that offers garden views. 

Lengai Safari Lodge: a unique ecological lodge that offers you the shade of trees and fresh air. Basic safari tents offer showering facilities, comfortable beds, and a private veranda. Want to grab a bite to eat? A fully stocked bar and restaurant will keep your bellies full for another day of adventure. 

About: Tanzania Horizon Safaris

We hope to have wet your appetite for a glorious walking safari to discover Tanzania. Here at Tanzania Horizon Safaris, we pride ourselves on our team of enthusiastic nature and adventure lovers who cannot wait to show you the beauty of the Serengeti. 

What are you waiting for? Lake Natron awaits you!

EXCELLENT
154 reviews on
Dennis S
Dennis S
2021-10-16
The ultimate experience with top-notch guides! Tanzania Horizon Safaris coordinated my 6 day climb of Kilimanjaro via the Machame route and four day safari to Ngoronoro, Tarangire and the Serengeti. They did a remarkable job coordinating everything down to the very last detail. Special thanks to Elizabeth for addressing my endless list of questions. Jonas was my guide on the Kilimanjaro climb and he was phenomenal. He is very experienced and sincerely cares about your well being and will do what it takes to ensure you reach the summit. The chef and porters were also top notch! I couldn't have been happier with my climbing experience. Bakari was my guide for the safari and he was equally phenomenal. He is very knowledgable and went out of his way to ensure it was the best safari experience. He is also passionate about what he does which makes the experience even better. The chef and the food were also incredible. Overall, I was very pleased with my experience and would highly recommend Tanzania Horizon Safaris.
Joe R
Joe R
2021-08-12
If you're planning to climb the Lemosho Route, Tanzania Horizon Safaris is without doubt the tour company for you. T The whole experience was fantastic start to finish, from Elizabeth's operational skills and superstar Jonas's expert guidance and support on the climb, through to the main men Jackson, Elisha, chef Wilson, our boy Arnold and the whole crew of porters. Needless to say we couldn't have reached the top of Africa without them, and they each played a huge role in making it a life-changing trip. Also a shout out to the team at Lindrin Lodge in Moshi – a truly blessed group of people.
Marwa E
Marwa E
2021-07-03
One of the best lifetime experiences we had one of the best lifetime experiences climbing Mount Kilimanjaro! Guide Jonas and his team were astonishing , they were very sweet and caring, they supported us all the way with an awesome positive energy and smile! Everything was planned and went smoothly, they didn’t hesitate one second to give us the help if we need it ,the good vibes made the hard climb easier, Besides We had an amazing food, the chef was super! Jonas and his teams deserves all the best because they truly work from heart
Cristopher M
Cristopher M
2021-06-28
Best Trekking Experience Possible I have dreamt of summiting Kilimanjaro ever since the 1990s when I was an undergrad studying geology at UT Austin. It’s been a long time in the making, but now I can say that my lifelong goal has become a reality!. I can wholeheartedly say that Tanzanian Horizon Safaris (THS) helped make my dream come true. I highly recommend them for anyone that is considering either a Kilimanjaro Trek or a Safari Trip (which we did also) to Tanzania. First of all, I cannot speak highly enough of Elizabeth, the Sales Manager. When I was looking into guide companies, it was overwhelming to try and sort through all the possibilities. There are well over 400 guide companies for Kilimanjaro, so where does one start? I emailed several companies in November of 2020 and Elizabeth with THS replied immediately with answers to all my questions. I followed up with her several times, and with her quick and thorough replies it became very apparent that THS was going to be our company! We reserved our Trek for June of 2021. Never did I imagine that I would be fulfilling a lifelong dream during a global pandemic (Covid). The health concerns made everything more complicated, but Elizabeth kept reassuring me that we would be well taken care of. Indeed, when our flight got cancelled 3 months before the trip and we had to move the TREK dates, she was on top of it and made it happen with no problem. Such great customer service! When we had to add a couple of extra days at the hotel, she was on top of it and made it happen without any problem at all. In fact, another great perk of THS is that there are 2 nights hotel in the town of Moshi included with the Kilimanjaro Trek price. The staff at our hotel was so kind, and the facilities were top notch (free WiFi, breakfast included, beautiful landscaping, swimming pool, etc…). In addition, transport to and from the airport is also included with THS. Such great customer service! The day before the Trek (which we built into our itinerary), our head guide, Jonas, came to our hotel for a pre-trip briefing. Jonas has a lot of reviews for THS and everything positive you might have read about him is entirely true. He asked us questions, explained the route, and told us a little of what to expect along the way. He told us that he was excited to help us fulfill our goal of reaching the summit. He did recommend that we purchase the supplemental bottled O2, which we weren’t planning to do. He strongly recommended it, and we agreed, and the extra $80 expense gave us some piece of mind about the summit. We ended up not using it, but still paid the $80. I didn’t mind. If you are certain that you don’t want O2 or don’t need it, be prepared to tell your guide a strong no. But again, we weren’t sure how we would handle the altitude, so it gave us great piece of mind. The next morning the van with the guides (Jonas and Isaac), the cook Wilson, and the 8 porters arrived at our hotel. At the pre-trip briefing, Jonas told us to leave all our valuables in the hotel safe to ensure that we weren’t mugged or robbed on the mountain (which can happen). He said the customary tipping would happen afterwards once we were back at the hotel. Jonas actually had us inventory what valuables and cash we had with us when we departed for the mountain. The possessions that we did not need for the trek were left at the lodge in a specific room that is designed just for that—a place for tourists to store their luggage while trekking or on safari. Our money, wallets, and credit cards were stored in the hotel safe. It was amazing customer service! Off we went to the Lemosho 8 day Route. The Trek was absolutely amazing and I have no doubt that it is because of Tanzania Horizon Safaris that we had the experience of a lifetime! First of all, we were blessed with amazing weather. It never rained on us and there was only one light snow flurry the night before our summit—not within the guide’s control, but I would SO recommend to anyone to hike Kili during the dry seasons. From the word go it was clear that Jonas and our assistant guide (Isaac) were watching us and determining how fast or slow we could go. My friend and I are very strong hikers/climbers so it became obvious to them that we were able to pick up the pace and ultimately give ourselves more options as the week wore on. Every campsite was bustling with other companies and other groups. But every campsite is HUGE (several acres), and each tour company sets up their tents near and around each other. Remember dear reader, we went during 2021 Covid, and it was explained to us that the mountain was not very crowded compared to what it is usually like. So there really weren’t that many other clients. Each day, our porters raced ahead carrying their 20kg and would set up camp. Our tent and duffle bags were already set up every single day when we arrived. The provided sleeping pads were very nice and thick—3/4 inch insulating foam. My friend brought his own inflatable sleeping pad in addition to the foam pad that was provided, so he was extra comfy. I did not, but I was still comfortable every night. Make sure to bring your own camp pillow if that is important to you. (We did!) Also, each campsite does indeed have buildings with toilets...think of them as squatty hole in the floor latreens (3-4 mens and 3-4 womens along with urinals). They certainly can be dirty if there are a lot of climbers at each campsite, but they do have tile floors and doors--I believe they were constructed about 5-7 years ago. So, unlike my false preconceptions, climbers are NOT going to the RR behind trees and rocks. There are also several other older individual wooden outhouses with the same squat and go set up. Our guides provided the toilet paper. What was each night like at camp? We were ridiculously pampered. We felt like we were royalty! We couldn’t believe how much service we received and what was included. Each porter has a designated job so we interacted with some more than others. Our waiter (Erick) boiled water for us twice a day and provided soap for washing. This was unexpected. We thought we were going to be filthy at the end of the trip, but the reality was that we were extremely clean and not stinky even when we descended! Tea and coffee was served twice a day (sometimes 3 times depending upon when we arrived at camp). And the food, oh my goodness the food! Every single meal was a banquet! I am not exaggerating. We sat in nice folding chairs inside a client specific mess tent which was shielded from the wind. Breakfasts included hot cream of wheat with honey, omelettes, sausage, fruit, pancakes, veggies, toast, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Lunches were just as awesome. And the dinners! Each meal was unique and was incredible! The different dinners included pastas, rice, veggies, stew, chicken, beef, beans, bbq, etc... Every meal started with a hot soup (potato, pumpkin, cucumber, carrot, etc…), and ended with a fruit or dessert-like masterpiece! Wilson, the cook, came in during each meal and made sure everything was to our liking. Erick would check on us and make sure we were content and happy. The guides would come in and make sure we were eating enough—this was of great concern to them as we were ascending to each camp. As one goes to altitude, it is common to lose your appetite. We needed to keep our energy levels up for as long as possible and they made sure to give us seconds at each meal! It turns out, it was never a problem, and we summited without issue. But the guides were CONSTANTLY making sure we took care of ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. Twice a day after each meal, Jonas and Isaac took our pulse oximeter readings and asked us health questions. As a science guy, it was interesting to watch our O2 levels drop and then rise/recover as we acclimatized to higher altitudes. Each day’s TREK started early (6-7am) and the routes were beautiful. Jonas and Issac pointed out aspects of the trail, the history, and the ecology. They were both very knowledgeable. The pace was always very slow and we never asked him to push it. We probably could have asked him to speed up a little, but it wasn’t important to us. We did move faster than other groups that were climbing with other companies, but we trusted that our guides were doing what was necessary for us to become acclimatized, and that the pace was adequate for us to ultimately reach the summit. And indeed, by the time we reached the Barafu Camp (base camp at 15,200 feet), which is the last camp before the summit, we felt physically strong and our cardiovascular systems were primed and ready to go. This is a testament to the training we had done before our trip, but also to the plan that Jonas and Issac had prepared for us. Like I always say and tell my sons, “plan your trek and then trek your plan!” Other clients departed very early (around midnight or 1am—and indeed we heard them waking and pushing out of camp while we were still in our tent). Jonas had prepped us the night before and he was determined that we were strong and there was no doubt that we were going to be successful. He told us about altitude sickness, and what to do if we started experiencing headaches or vomiting. To minimize our time in the cold we departed a little later than most groups heading out around 3:20am. Interestingly, Jonas and Issac carried our packs for us on summit day. They simply wanted us to have the best chance of success. We didn’t argue. All we had to do was hike. As mentioned, the later departure was to ensure that we were not exposed to the cold for too long before the sun came up--it was probably around 10F (-12C). This gives climbers a better chance of success and also helps with the mental aspect. It’s tough hiking hour after hour in the dark. And indeed, on our summit push, we passed a few clients that had turned around due to cold and exhaustion. We watched the glorious sunrise above the clouds around 17,600 feet. And after slowly marching through 1000 feet of the steepest switchbacks, we arrived at Stella Point on the southern slope of the massive crater rim. There is then a 30-45 minute gradual ascent to Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet. I had so much energy at that point, I was singing and dancing my way to the top! Hugs, celebrations, congratulations, and photos were enjoyed by all! All four of us were laughing and smiling from ear to ear! The descent was fine and when we had gotten back to 1000 feet above Base Camp we were greeted by one of the porters who had hiked up to us. He gave us hugs, and high fives. But his real reason for being there was to serve us hot soup and lentils for an extra boost of energy! Incredible! This porter, Elisha, had hiked an extra hour just to serve us snacks on the mountain after our successful summit! That right there should tell you dear reader, that Tanzanian Horizon Safaris is a company that values the comfort of its clients above everything else. We made it back down a day and half later to the Mweka Gate. There we received transport back to our hotel where we said goodbyes, exchanged gifts and hugs, and did the customary tipping to all of the team. In summary, let me add two final aspects of my review. Jonas was very quick to congratulate us every evening, so I always, ALWAYS felt encouraged. There was never any doubt in my mind that he was confident in us and his team. Furthermore, he was completely in charge of the expedition. He repeatedly told us that the main goal of our trek was to “reach the top.” That sounds like an obvious thing, but personally, I’m tired of hearing from leaders of organizations that their number one goal is to “keep me safe.” What we were doing was risky, and there were dangerous hazards that had to be dealt with. It was so refreshing to hear our expedition leader say that his MAIN goal is to get us to the summit! Safety was certainly an integral part of the TREK, but it didn’t supersede the goal of summiting Kilimajaro. But know dear reader, that I never ever felt unsafe. There were no reckless decisions made, nothing was compromised, and everything went according to plan. One last note: we had to get a PCR covid test after our TREK to ensure that we could get on the plane and return to America. Elizabeth coordinated all of this while we were still up on the mountain and provided transport to and from the Hospital the day after we got down. Amazing customer service! It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Thank you to Jonas, Issac, Wilson, all the porters, and to Elizabeth with Tanzanian Horizon Safaris. If you want the best that a guide service has to offer, go with Tanzanian Horizon Safaris. You will absolutely have the BEST TRIP POSSIBLE!
jennifer j
jennifer j
2021-06-08
I was treated very well and my dream would not have happened without Tanzania Horizon Safaris!! Absolutely incredible service provided by Tanzania Horizon. My boyfriend and I decided on a 14-day Mt. Kilimanjaro hike, with a safari on the second half. Based on their recommendation we opted for the 8 day Lemosho route up to Uhuru Peak, and we couldn't be happier with their advice, the route was beautiful and the longer trek allowed for better acclamation giving us the best chance for a successful summit. Our head guide, Abuu and assistant guide Isaac were incredibly experienced and were committed to our safety and well being, but without taking away from any of the adventure or fun of the incredible journey. The rest of our 13-man crew of porters, cook, and wash facility carriers were friendly and committed to our success. Perhaps the most surprising part of the hike was how amazing the food was, 3 freshly cooked and delicious meals a day made sure we were always ready for more hiking, I dare say I probably gained weight during the hike! Overall, an amazing experience that I will always be grateful for, I could not recommend Tanzania Horizon Safaris any more!
Samer Aladem
Samer Aladem
2021-06-03
Palestine on top of Kilimanjaro Despite the Covid-19 situation we decided to go climbing Kilimanjaro in May 2021. This trip was planned for a long time, and after searching we found Tanzania Horizon Safaris and we could not be happier. My team was 13 people… all friends and we came from Palestine. Some of them were first time to climb a mountain. And the good news that all of us (13) made it to the summit. We took the Machame route in 7 days, but we managed to finish the mountain in 6 days… 4 up and 2 down. The head guide Mr. Jounus was a very experienced guide and knows how to lead the team, and the crew on the mountain was amazing and helpful at all times. On top of that very easy and clear communication from beginning to the end. Tents and camping equipment were excellent, food on mountain were also excellent and large portion were provided… nobody feels hungry! Management of the company (Elizabeth) helped us a lot in Moshi town for hotel booking and PCR tests in the hospital. All trip aspects were managed perfectly… nothing at all to complain about. For me, this was my second time to summit Kilimanjaro, and I will do it again and again… and all with Tanzania Horizon Safaris. I highly recommend this company.
Raed A
Raed A
2021-05-28
Summery Great staff .. experienced guides .. food was very great each day of the trip .. overall i totally advice..the bad thing is that it was very cold inside the tents each night
Michael J
Michael J
2021-02-27
5/5 - amazing crew and service Despite the covid situation we decided to go to Tanzania for climbing Kilimanjaro and doing a 3 days safari. We choose Tanzania Horizon after some research and we could not be happier. Both crew on the mountain and the safari was amazing and super helpful at all times. On top of that very easy and clear communication from beginning to the end. If you go to Tanzania and want to see the country in its best possible way, book with these guys! Thanks a mill again 🙏🏻
elaprincess2006
elaprincess2006
2021-02-25
Excellent safari! Just finished a great expey woth Patrick from Tanzania Horizon! Was the best experience ever! We had the chance to see and learn so many things and Patrick is the right person to do that with. He is an excellent driver, has patience and he loves all animals. Will definitely come back to join him for another adventure!
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