AFTER years of intense territorial arguments regarding which exactly should be the official third highest mountain in Tanzania, after Kilimanjaro and Meru, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has finally decided to step into the issue.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Damas Ndumbaro has thus directed the tourism department in the ministry to undertake the task in order to decide for sure which between Mount Hanang' and Oldonyo L'engai has the third highest peak after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.
But, already there is another mountain, the Loolmalasin of Ngorongoro, which according to global trekkers should be crowned with the 'Third Tallest Peak' in Tanzania.
This means the contest now is between Mount Hanang’ found in Katesh, within Manyara Region, Oldonyo L’engai which is the country’s remaining active Volcano at Engaresero section of Ngorongoro District, and the Mount Loolmalasin which is the highest elevation in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
But while the Northern Highlands seem to have the lion share of mountains, the Southern Highlands also has a candidate in the third peak race, it comes in the form of Mount Rungwe projecting high in the Tukuyu Division of Rungwe District within Mbeya Region.
It seems geologists in the past never bothered to file the country’s top ten highest elevations, after getting the two highest peaks, Kibo and Mawenzi on Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as Meru found within the Arusha National Park.
Even the Loolmalasin was discovered by an expert mountaineer Juan Ramon Morales who together with his team, scaled it with all the measuring tools.
"Loolmalasin should officially be the third highest peak of Tanzania. It´s located in an area commonly known as the ‘crater highlands’ when trekking from the village of Nainokanoka during popular trips towards Lake Natron,” Morales says.
“We climbed to measure the peak again at another new angle which peaked at 3825 metres on that point and that is 145 metres higher than the most frequented ‘summit,’’ Morales explained.
Two of the country’s highest peaks are all found on Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, featuring the tallest summit at Kibo, peaking at 5895 metres followed by Mawenzi at 5,149 metres above sea level.
Mount Meru of Arusha is listed as the country’s second highest mountain though its top summit towers at the height of 4,562.13 metres, which essentially is lower than that of Mawenzi.
Now on the standalone 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 3825 meters.
While it is relatively easier to scale, Mount Loolamalasin is yet to attract its well-deserved number of tourists.
Mount Hanang’ is said to be peaking at 3418 metres, and protruding above Lake Balangida in Katesh. But while being billed as the third highest feature, fresh measurement may clear the air.
The ‘Mountain of God' or Oldonyo L’engai height remains a confusing topic with different people and sites, citing conflicting figures, ranging between 2,880 and 3,188 metres. The active volcano which protrudes in Enkaresero, near Lake Natron. If the other aforementioned peaks get endorsed as the tallest, the Mountain of God will now become the fifth tallest feature despite its threateningly rumbling active volcano.