Ngorongoro Crater Highland Trekking

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As operators of the most invigorating and rustic trekking safaris in Tanzania, we pioneered our crater highlands treks from the plains of Ngorongoro to the shores of the lake in Empakai Crater, down the Great Rift Valley wall to spectacular Lake Natron, where a swim in the cool waterfall pools awaits you.

It can be done in 3, 5, 6 or 7 days depending, and we will be more than happy to incorporate a few trekking days into your safari!

These treks get you close to nature and allow you the chance to get an authentic taste of the local culture as you trek with Maasai guides and your belongings are transported on pack animals in the traditional way-just as tribesman have done for centuries.

While this trek is not necessarily physically demanding – it does require a fit and healthy individual with the stamina to walk 4 – 11 hours a day through some rugged terrain, but once you’re through – you’ll find it worth the sweat!

Best time to travel: June – March

Itinerary: Ngorongoro Highland Trekking

This 5-day trekking tour takes you to the diverse landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands. You hike through wide grass and mountainous countryside as well as thick mountain forest and the volcanic stamped savannah landscape of the Rift Valley. Next to the unique nature and animal sightings, this trek allows a deep insight into the daily routine of the Masai.

Day 1 Arusha – Olmoti Crater – Nainokanoka

In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and after the luggage has been stowed in the vehicle, the journey will begin on a good tar road. Approaching the village of Mto wa Mbu, you can see the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley rising ahead. From a viewpoint, the Masai plains stretch up to the horizon with Lake Manyara at your feet. A short drive further, you reach the gate of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.

The journey continues with fantastic views along the crater road, until you reach the Masai village of Nainokanoka with a nearby campsite. The camp will be set up and you will climb the rim of Olmoti Crater during the afternoon. The reward of the climb is the great view that you get from the top of the crater edge. There is also a possibility to visit a small waterfall along the way. Dinner will be served at the camp. The night at 2650m height might be damply and cold, depending on the time of year.Lunch; Dinner

Day 2 Nainokanoka – Bulati

During the early morning hours, a Masai who will guide you for the next couple of days will reach the camp. The Masai guide is escorted by a couple of donkeys who will carry the luggage for the upcoming trek. After breakfast and loading the donkeys, the journey begins through the highland passing many traditional Masai Bomas and their cattle. After a short distance, wild animals can be seen such as Thompson and Grants Gazelle, zebras and wildebeest. Where there are many animals, hungry jackals are not far away and high in the sky majestic eagles are observing the situation. The campsite for the night will be reached after 16km, close to the Masai village Bulati. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 3 Bulati – Empakai

After breakfast, the journey goes up a hill where you can take a last panoramic view of the grass plains. The trek continues up and down through the bushy landscape which finally opens up to the active volcano, Oldonyo Lengai. The trek gives you great views of the majestic Vulcano as well as into the impressive Empakai Crater before reaching the campsite for the night. A well-maintained track goes to the crater bottom, of which one third is covered by the Empakai Lake. This (alkaline) soda lake is an important source for flamingos, which can be observed throughout the year. When returning to the camp, a good dinner will be waiting for you. During the night you might hear the flamingo calls when flying back to their breeding nests at Lake Manyara and Lake Natron. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 4 Empakai Crater – Acacia Camp

The loading of the donkeys goes easier every day, as the participants and the animals are getting familiar with each other. Today, the journey goes to the Masai village Naiyobi. While following a good track, the village as well as Oldonyo Lengai can be seen from a distance. Just after lunch in Naiyobi, the trek leaves the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and the landscape becomes drier and warmer. The camp will be set up at a forest with yellow acacia.Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 5 Acacia Camp – Engare Sero – Arusha

The last stage of the journey is not too long and goes mainly downhill. The highlights of the trek are the great views of Oldonyo Lengai, Lake Natron and the Rift Valley. A big part of the rugged countryside is covered by the ashes of the last eruption in the year 2007, which add to the surreal picture of the landscape. The trek goes deeper down into the dry and hot Rift Valley, where the dried out ashes can be viewed from up close. Just before lunchtime you will reach the waiting jeep. The Masai guide still has to climb the steep escarpment and will say goodbye soon. Our driver will bring you to Lake Natron Lodge for a well-deserved cold drink or straight back to Arusha. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Please notice:

The „Ngorongoro Highland Trekking“ can be easily combined with one of our lodge- or camping safaris. Please send us an inquiry with your ideas.

Items included in price:

  • Professional, english speaking guide
  • Professional chef
  • Donkey herdsmen for carrying the luggage
  • Trekking tour according to the travel plan description
  • Meals as indicated in the tour description
  • 3 litres of water per person per day
  • Transfer from/ to Arusha
  • Overnight in tents
  • All national park and camping fees

Items not included:

  • Meals not indicated in the tour description
  • Alcohol and soft drinks (Coke, Fanta etc.)
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Travel insurance