Loolmurwak and Eledoi Craters (Maars) are located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, not far away from lake natron, Empakaai Crater, and Old Doinyo Lengai. The Lake Natron – Engaruka volcanic field in northern Tanzania is home to over 200 volcanic vents, including the Eledoi and Loolmurwak Maars, which are two of the largest craters in the area. These craters are amazing spots for trekking activities and walking safari in the Ngorongoro Region.
The region provides excellent long-distance walking in a setting rich in both human and ecological attraction. It has a rolling hill country terrain, deep crater lakes, and stunning volcanic peaks. Treks might range from a few days to covering the entire reserve in 10 days or more.
The Loolmurwak Maar, located about 8 km southeast of Ol Doinyo Lengai, is over 100m deep and has a diameter of around 600m. The crater floor gently slopes away from the rim at a 10-degree angle, and there are two normal faults that have partially offset both the rim deposits and the underlying rocks.
The Eledoi Maar, located 12 km east of Ol Doinyo Lengai, is smaller in diameter than Loolmurwak but has higher crater rims, reaching more than 200m above the crater floor and 160m above the surrounding topography. The ejecta ring is highly asymmetric, with lower heights on the southern and western sides, where it reaches only about 30m above the surroundings.
What to do here
Trekking is the primary activity in the area, with many people including the neighboring Olmoti and Empakaai craters as well as Ol Doinyo Lengai and Lake Natron in their treks. An armed NCAA guide is usually required for the entire trek, and most campsites in the area are either special NCAA campsites or privately owned ones. To reach Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai, visitors must exit the conservation area.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is during the drier seasons from July to January, although there may be short rains in December.
Location of Loomurwak and Eledoi Craters
The concentration of tuff rings, tuff cones, and maar-type explosion craters of Eledoi and Loomurwak is located between the southern end of Lake Natron and the village of Engaruka, with the majority of features located between the volcanoes of Gelai, Ol Doinyo Lengai, and Kerimasi. The tuffs typically contain numerous blocks and are often cemented with carbonate, while the explosion craters of Kisete, Loluni, and Loolmurwak are surrounded by tuffs containing large crystals of kaersutite, augite, and phlogopite. Small lava flows are found at Oldoinyo Loolmurwak, Armykon Hill, and north of Lalarasi Hill, and the lava flow at Loolmurwak is an olivine-melilite nephelinite.
There are two routes to the area, one through the Ngorongoro conservation area and another that bypasses it. The conservation area route requires a 4×4 ride to the eastern rim of Empakaai crater, followed by a hike to the craters, while the other route is a dirt road that passes several smaller craters, Ol Doinyo Lengai, and ends at Lake Natron. It is recommended to use a registered guide or tour company for the latter route.