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Ngorongoro Crater Highlands Trek

9 Days

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 like visit to the Ngorongoro Crater highlands trek. 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.

The Ngorongoro Crater highlands trek

This trek will 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!

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.

Itinerary

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!

Dinner and Overnight at Maura Apartment.

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.

Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Simba Campsite on the rim of the Crater.

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.

Dinner and Overnight at Olmoti Special Campsite.

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.

Dinner and overnight at Empakai Special Campsite.

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.

Dinner and overnight at Acacia Campsite.

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.

Dinner and overnight at Kamakia Campsite

Day 7 :
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!

Dinner and overnight at Kamakia Campsite.

A long driving day returning back to Arusha for overnight.

Dinner and Overnight at Maura Apartment

It’s the final day in Tanzania so be sure to grab any last minute souvenirs you may want and say one last goodbye to the new friends you made in Tanzania before being transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport to catch a flight back home.

Kwa heri ya kuonana – (Good bye and see you again).

Cost

The Cost Includes

  • Local tourist taxes
  • Binoculars for easy game viewing
  • Bottled Water at all times while on safari
  • Park or reserve entry fees – where applicable
  • All camping equipment, Tents, Sleeping Bags, Cutlery, pillows etc
  • Driver’s salary and allowances and park fees for vehicle and driver
  • Pick up from airport of arrival and drop off to the airport of departure
  • Chef to cook your meals while on safari – ( Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner )
  • Game drives or sightseeing as detailed on the itinerary – where indicated
  • Ground transportation with a Spanish-speaking driver/guide or naturalist guide
  • Transport based on excellent 4X4 Vehicle (Landcruiser) with open roof for game viewing

The Cost Excludes

  • International flights
  • Tips and gratuities, which are optional
  • Airport customs entry visas (currently US$ 50 per person)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How fit do I need to be to do this trek?

Annapurna Base Camp is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will too, you can.

How long do we walk every day when doing Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.

What is the highest altitude reached in this trek?

The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.

What about battery charging and hot shower facilities?

Yes, you can charge batteries en route. Charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay a certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, a hot water facility could be free at a lower elevation.

Are there ATMs on the way to Annapurna Base Camp?

No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash in Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.

What about internet access?

Yes. The Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. The Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.

Is it necessary to hire Guides/trekking agency for Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

Not really. It depends on you. If you want, ABC trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during the offseason.

It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.

How much do guides and porters cost?

For the Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.

Map

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Ngorongoro Crater Highlands Trek
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