Monday, 18 January 2016

Loolmalasin - 05 January

Loolmalasin is the third highest peak in Tanzania and is on the outermost rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. We spend January 4th collection supplies and other bits and pieces - including Jeff who will be our cook again - before driving to a small campsite (with no facilities) on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater. We 'need' an armed Ranger to accompany us to Loolmalasin from the campsite but there are problems locating him on the 4th so there is some uncertainty about our departure time on the following morning.

One way or another things get sorted overnight and the Ranger turns up for a cuppa while we finish breakfast. A short drive to a Maasai village which is the trailhead gives us the opportunity to wonder about how different life must be here where wealth is measured in numbers of cattle and dwellings are mud huts. Most Maasai have mobile phones, many are Manchester United fans and know more about what is happening at Old Trafford than we do - BBC Swahili is a favourite radio station.

Loolmalasin is a rarely visited peak but there are good tracks to smaller craters to the north east and their pastures are used as dry season grazing so we make good progress for most of the ascent. The last mile or so is through trackless vegetation which makes us wonder how well either of the guides actually know the route. On the summit we find out that only one of the guides (Alex) has ever been here before and he doesn't know of anyone else ever visiting it. (Peakbagger shows two previous ascent in 2007 and we later meet another tour operator who had a client there about 18 months ago). The lack of local knowledge becomes even more apparent when we spend more than two hours bushwhacking a descent through head high vegetation to reach a path back to the trailhead.

Local Massai 

Maasai Village

Lion Paw Print

Armed Ranger and remains of a meal

Looking North West towards Ngorongoro Crater


Pauline & Richard with the guides on the summit

The Trail Head

Looking for the descent route?

Looking North West towards other unclimbed volcanos

The Trail Head

Goatherd and goats

Maasai Villages

Maasai Children

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