For those with a high level of fitness, the steep paths and steamy conditions of the Ngorongoro Highlands provide an exciting way to see Tanzania's most beautiful conservation area far from the tourist crowds. Experience this ancient land through the eyes of the Masaai. All equipment will be loaded on donkeys and your experienced guides will share with you the beauty of the land and culture. Experience Tanzania like the Masaai.
You’ll be picked up from your Arusha accommodations after breakfast and begin the four-hour drive north into the picturesque Ngorongoro Highlands for your Empakai Crater hike. One of the most popular hikes in Tanzania, the chance to hike Empakai Crater is one of the major selling points of any visit to the Ngorongoro Highlands.
You’ll begin with a hike to the Empakai Crater rim for an astounding view of the green paradise that exists within this lost world. Empakai Crater offers unparalleled views of Ol Doinyo Lengai, a still active volcano. There's also the opportunity to see Lake Natron, the Great Rift Valley, and even distant Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day.
With photos taken, it's time to descend to the crater floor. With some parts of the crater rim rising 300m above the crater floor, you'll enjoy a steep descent with astonishing views of the heavily forested crater. During your descent, you'll have the opportunity to see wildlife such as buffaloes, bushbucks, blue monkeys, and a large variety of birds not limited to sunbirds and turacos.
While wandering along the shores of Empakai Lake, you'll have the chance to see waterbucks, bushbucks, and eland. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the regular tourist attractions, you'll be moved by the silence and serenity of this land that time forgot. Taking a picnic within the park offers you the chance to soak in its utter tranquility before you hike back to the car for your return journey to Karatu Town or the crater rim.
You’ll then make your way to your campsite or the evening.
After breakfast and packing up camp, you'll circle along the crater rim to reach its north-western side. From here, you'll descend to Naiyobi, a Maasai village.
Arriving in the late afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to meet with the friendly Maasai people who call the area home, as well as paying a visit to a local school and sampling traditional Maasai cuisine.
You'll then set up camp and overnight in an acacia grove not far from the village.
Walking Time: 7-8 hours
Ol Donyo Lengai
After breakfast and loading up the donkeys, you’ll begin your day of hiking through the foothills at the base of Ol Donyo Lengai. Your view from here is a spectacular one, as you’ll be able to take in the Great Rift Valley and nearby Lake Natron. Your walk will have you arriving at Lake Natron in time for lunch, a shower, and a brief rest before you head off for a refreshing dip in a nearby waterfall.
By the time you’re back from your excursion, it will be time to settle into your camp and turn in for the night.
Walking Time: 6-7 hours
After breakfast, you’ll make a short walk to Lake Natron for your chance to take in its uniquely volcanic terrain and potentially spot its occasional flamingo residents.
Then, with a picnic lunch packed, you’ll begin the drive back towards Arusha, stopping along the way to enjoy your meal and reflect on the adventure you’ve had.
Overnight in Arusha
Departure from Arusha