Ngorongoro Crater highlands trek
This is what Introducing Africa safari is known for: 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 4, 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!
Upon arrival in Arusha, you will be picked up at the airport and head to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Relax, take a stroll, enjoy the sights and sounds. Get plenty of rest – tomorrow will be huge! Overnight at Oupost Lodge
Day 1 – Arusha-Ngorongoro Crater
Drive from Arusha and then descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for a crater tour. This 100 square mile natural amphitheater is host to an astonishing array of wildlife and you may be lucky enough to see rhino, elephant and lion, as well as large herds of zebra and wildebeest. A picnic lunch will be taken in the Crater before returning to the lodge. Stay at Ngorongoro Simba Campsite on the rim of the Crater.
Day 2 – Ngorongoro Crater to Olmoti
Your career break travel journey starts with a drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Then you descend into the Crater for a game drive. Travel onwards to Nainokanoka. Here you take a short trek to Olmoti Crater which takes you through the rain forested slopes of Olmoti Crater to the rim viewpoint. Overnight: Olmoti Special Campsite.
Day 3 – Olmoti Crater to Empakai
The trek continues to the distant Empakai Crater across open grassland through a natural amphitheater created by encircling volcanoes. Maasai rush out of their traditional homes (Boma’s) to greet trekkers as they pass by. The steep walk up Empakai affords inspiring views, especially from the top where the sheer sided sunken crater can be seen. You camp on the Crater Rim, with Empakai on one side and Ol Donyo Lengai, the holy Maasai volcano, on the other. Overnight at Empakai Special Campsite.
Day 4 – Empakai to Nayobi
From the overnight camp, we scramble down the sheer-sided slopes of Empakai onto the crater floor for a foot safari. Empakai Crater is a sunken volcano with a soda lake covering most of the crater floor. Flamingos nest here during the day to escape the blazing heat of the Rift Valley. A large forest on the western shore is home to antelope, buffalo, leopard and lion, with large seasonal zebra and wildebeest populations when they pass through on their migratory circuits. Overnight at Acacia Campsite
Day 5 – Nayobi to Ngaresero
The Maasai Mountain of God, “Ol Donyo Lengai” looms out of the sunrise as you head out early today to avoid the heat. You arrive at the escarpment, the sheer wall that looms out of the Rift Valley floor, to admire one of the finest views in Africa. Take in the sweeping vistas of the Rift Valley below, and the scattered active volcanoes, primitive rock formations, glimmering soda lakes and clustered Maasai bomas. The final six kilometers are across the tough uncompromising terrain of the valley floor in extreme heat. Our shaded camp is perched above a refreshing stream, a half-hours walk from a paradisiacal waterfall. Overnight at Kamakia Campsite
Day 6 – Ngaresero
Very early this morning there is chance for an optional ascent of Ol Donyo Lengai (2878m) ***, an active carbonated volcano with spiritual significance to the Maasai. Then visit Lake Natron (short afternoon visit if Ol Donyo Lengai trek is taken), one of the soda alkaline lakes that jewel the East African Rift, here there is an array of water birds including hordes of resident flamingos. There is also the opportunity to walk up a gorge carved into the Rift Escarpment to a waterfall to wash off five days of dust! Overnight at Kamakia Campsite
.Day 7 – Ngaresero to Arusha
A long driving day returning back to Arusha for overnight – Bed and Break at Overnight at Oupost Lodge
Private safari driver-guide
Private 4×4 safari vehicle
Trekking guide & Porters (1 guide: 4 clients)
1 night at each of Empakai Special Campsite
3 liters of bottled mineral water per person per day
Acacia Private Bush Campsite and Lake Natron Private Campsite
Park fees, conservation fees, activity fees, entry fees, campsite fees, vehicle fees
All meals listed as included, mbuzi choma (roasted goat BBQ) and Maasai dances at Acacia Camp
Domestic departure tax
Tips to guides and porters
Meals not listed as included
International flights and taxes
Drinks other than mineral water
Visas entry at the airport of arrival
Optional Trek of Oldonyo Lengai
An optional climb of Ol Donyo Lengai (2878m), an active carbonate volcano with spiritual significance to the Maasai, is offered.
This is a very demanding trek, which starts around 3 am in the morning so as to avoid the fierce midday heat. There is no shade on the mountain, and the terrain underfoot consists of tough scree, lava and volcanic ash, with steep furrows and gullies to negotiate.
At the summit, there are two craters (one of which is still active) which can be explored, with due care, and the views across the Rift and towards Lake Natron are breathtaking. This trek is recommended for serious trekkers in good physical condition. A large water intake and a sunhat are strongly advised.
This trek can be added onto our Rift Valley Trek, for the ultimate wilderness trek across some of the most primeval, spectacular, unvisited landscapes on Earth.