SITTING on the highest range of the world famous Ngorongoro, a new peak called Loolmalasin has just been discovered and is currently billed the country’s third highest mountain after Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.
Mr Assangye Bangu, deputy conservator at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority says the Loolmalasin summit peaks at 3,667 metres, but another expert, Mr Juan Ramon Morales, who scaled it with all the measuring tools reckons it could be higher.
“Loolmalasin should officially be the third highest point with the Tanzania landscape – and is located within an area commonly known as the ‘crater highlands’ where people are trekking from the village of Nainokanoka during popular trips towards Lake Natron.
“We scaled the peak again from another angle, where our new measurements peaked at 3,825 metres … and that’s 145 metres higher than the ‘summit’ most frequently cited,’’ Mr Morales explained.
Often in a blanket of thick fog, and the fact that visitors to Ngorongoro seem to mostly concentrate on the legendary crater, it was easy for Loolmalasin to escape attention over the years but now the mountain is emerging to claim its own crown.
The global trekker recommends the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and October as being the best to scale the ‘new’ Loolmalasin.
Two of the country’s highest peaks are all found on Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, featuring the tallest summit at Kibo, peaking at 5,895 metres followed by Mawenzi at 5,149 metres, above sea level.
Mount Meru of Arusha comes second highest, though its top summit towers at the height of 4,562.13 metres, lower than that of Mawenzi. Now in terms of the ‘stand alone’ factor, Loolmalasin of Ngorongoro, which has just debuted onto the skyline, becomes Tanzania’s third highest mountain after Kilimanjaro and Meru though it features the fourth tallest peak at 3,825 metres.
While it is very easy to scale, according to one of the NCAA information officers, Mr Walter Mairu; Mount Loolamalasin was yet to attract its well-deserved number of tourists.
“We’ve just a few who start their trekking from Elbalbal village, following a faint wild trail for about 200 metres, then wading through surrounding bush before getting to the otherwise easy and exciting mountain to climb,” Mairu said, adding that the conservation area would soon start promoting this ‘very new’ tourist feature.
Wildlife rangers at Nainokanoka, however, warn about the presence of buffalo and other wildlife along the way, which means interested climbers may need wardens in addition to regular guides.
Mount Hanang which stands at 3,418 metres, and protruding above Lake Balangida in Katesh was being billed the third highest feature until Loolmalasin came along.
The ‘Mountain of God’ or Oldonyo L’engai at 3,188 metres in Enkaresero, near Lake Natron, should now be the fifth tallest feature despite its noisy, if awesome, rumbling active volcano.