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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > July-September 2017 (79) > Forgotten caldera

Forgotten caldera


Driving through the undulating emerald landscape of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we pass Maasai herders, bedecked in ruby-red, guiding their animals to fresh grazing. At last the spiritual Ol Doinyo Lengai, or ‘Mountain of God’, appears in the distance. The faded-blue active volcano is shrouded in mystique; it blends seamlessly with its hazy surroundings like a painting. Continuing on foot, we set off towards the Empakaai Crater, an ancient caldera — and suddenly, there it lies. The deep saline lake sparkles like a sapphire, and is rimmed with white salt and pink greater and lesser flamingos. We begin our vertiginous descent through lush greenery, along a trail lined with yellow lion’s claw flowers and purple morning glory. As we approach the water’s edge, flamingos start to soar and circle above us in a glorious dance spectacle. We stop and gaze in awe. LAURA GRIFFITH-JONES

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