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Nature Walks

The 6 Best Nature Walks through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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.

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Walking the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.

Eyasi Viewpoint

Drive t0 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.

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The land falls away down to the water of Lake Eyasi

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Mahale National Park

mahale ntl park Mahale National Park

In Mahale National Park, you can trace the Tongwe people’s ancient pilgrimage to the mountain spirits, hiking through the montane rainforest belt – home to an endemic race of Angola colobus monkey – to high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo.

Size : 3,230 sq km (1,250 sq miles).  Location: South-West Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika.

Then bathe in the impossibly clear waters of the world’s longest, second-deepest and least-polluted freshwater lake – harbouring an estimated 1,000 fish species – before returning as you came, by boat.

The highest peak in the Mahale range is at 2462m, and the only way to explore this park is on foot, there are no roads. There are between 1 500 and 2 000 chimpanzees in the park, making this one of the best places in Africa to get close to pan troglodytes. This is where successive teams of Japanese researchers, unheralded and quietly, have done some of the most important scientific work on primates and the links between chimpanzees and humans.

Besides the chimps, leopard, lion, kudu, eland, buffalo, roan and sable antelope, olive baboons, red colobus and white spot nose mangabeys and a host of other game wander through this reserve. Dominated by the brooding presence of Nkungwe Mountain with vegetation ranging through almost the entire gamut of African botany (from lowland forest to brachystegia woodland) this is one of Africa’s most intriguing parks. Accommodation (aside from the luxury tented camp) is in a elementary camp site with bungalows and camp site.

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