When you hear the word Ngorongoro, what is the next word that comes to your mind? Crater, perhaps? Yes, indeed the Ngorongoro Crater is rightly renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. However, there is a lot more to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area than just the Crater, and many visitors leave the area without having had the opportunity to see more of what is on offer. The surrounding highlands include seven extinct volcanoes full of outstanding beauty and spectacular scenery. The best way to appreciate these attractions is by walking. Even a short walk of only an hour or two can be very rewarding and there are also many opportunities for longer hikes. After spending days sitting in a vehicle, some visitors do say that they would like to stretch their legs.
Crater Rim Walk
Drive to the starting point on the Crater rim about 5 km from the Rhino Lodge. The walk is along the western rim of the crater past the Oloirobi viewpoint. There are patches of forest at the beginning, which later opens up to thickets and grasslands. You’ll have beautiful views down into the crater on your right, and eventually you’ll come upon a view over the Olduvai Gorge, the Serengeti and the Gol mountains to your left. This is an easy-paced walk with no arduous climbs, just a few short gradients. It’s about 2 hours long, and can be done at any time of day. A good time would be either early morning before your game drive departs, or late afternoon after a day out on safari.
Drive to the starting point on the road to Endulen. This open grassland gives beautiful views of Mount Oldeani to the left, and Makarot to the right. You will see several Maasai villages dotted around the valley, and you may well encounter men herding their cattle and goats. You’ll climb gently upwards for about 45 minutes along the shoulder of Mount Oldeani, eventually reaching a spectacular viewpoint where the land falls away to Lake Eyasi, the western wall of the Rift Valley, and the Serengeti plains. This walk can also be done at any time of the day, and takes about 2 hours.