hiking the ngorongoro highlands

5 Days | 4 Nights

This itinerary can be organized on its own or combined with a more extended wildlife safari to Serengeti and other national parks.

Ngorongoro Highlands offer some of Tanzania’s most unusual scenery with a unique trekking environment that mingles with the traditional culture of the Maasai people. It is a landscape of molded volcanic peaks and tropical highlands punctuated by lakes, streams and rivers.

The best way to explore the highlands is on foot although some parts can be visited on a vehicle safari. Hikes start around Ngorongoro Crater and pass through the smaller craters and summits on the way, finishing at Lake Natron with an optional climb to the crater of the active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai. The treks are arranged in cooperation with local Maasai communities.

Our team will be accompanied by a Maasai guide giving us a rich flavor of local knowledge and history, while our supplies & baggage will be carried by donkeys. This trek is an off the beaten track way to indulge into Tanzania’s life. We are certain that you will always remember this unique adventure as it is pure Africa.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arusha To Ngorongoro Crater

Your Safari driver will pick you in early the morning from your lodge in Arusha and transfer you in your private 4×4 safari vehicle to Ngorongoro crater. Upon arrival to the conservation area and after the gate procedures, we drive down to the crater floor for wildlife game.

With its abundant water, excellent grazing and natural protection from the densely vegetated crater walls, the crater provides shelter to over 25000 animals, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros. Lunch will be taken in a picnic site inside the crater. The main crater and the surrounding highlands are one of Africa’s most beautiful regions, with volcanic craters forming stunning backdrops to some of the richest grazing grounds in Africa.

With 600 metre high walls and a rich volcanic floor covering 260km2, the crater is the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera, a crater formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. It is estimated that the height of the original volcano ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 metres high
Accommodation options: Public Campsites and Lodge/Tented Camps

Day 2: Ngorongoro Highlands, Olmoti and Empakai craters

After breakfast we hike up to the rim of the Olmoti Crater and visit the Munge waterfalls (1h30 walking). Olmoti Crater is a shallow crater with a grassy surface. It is also the source of the Munge river which pours through a notch in the rim while creating a beautiful waterfall.

Then your driver will transfer you to the Bulati Village where you will start your hike up to Empakai Crater through open grassland area, bushland area and forests. Short rest at the camp. Empakai crater measures about 6km in diameter and half of its surface is a lake. We descend into the crater floor through a green forest to watch the flocks of flamingos and more aquatic birds. (approx. 4 hours walking).

The view from the rim towards every direction is magnificent. In clear weather, from the northern side we admire the view of the great Rift valley all the way till Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron. On the eastern side we can even see the snow peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Dinner and overnight at the camp on the rim of the crater.
Accommodation options: Public Campsites and Lodge/Tented Camps

Day 3: Ngorongoro Highlands to Naiyobi Maasai village

After breakfast the crew will pack all gears at the donkeys to proceed the hike. Then we descend the crater rim towards the north-western side. In the afternoon we reach the Naiyobi Maasai village (approx. 6hours walking).

For those who wish, you can enjoy a conversation with the Maasai people and visit their local primary school or just relax and watch a different way of living. Dinner and overnight at our bush campsite in the acacia trees forest near the village.
Accommodation options: Public Campsites and Lodge/Tented Camps

Day 4: Ngorongoro Highalnds to Lake Natron

Departing in the morning following the dusty paths downhill off the crater highlands to Mouwongoni Maasai village. (Approx. 3 hours walking). Our jeep will be waiting for us to transfer us to Kamakia camp in Lake Natron.

Lake Natron is a soda lake with large resident populations of flamingos. After few free hours relaxing at the camp, we go for an afternoon walk to the Ngare Sero waterfalls where optionally you may enjoy a dip in the waters. In the afternoon we return to the camp. Leisure time, dinner and overnight.
Accommodation options: Public Campsites and Lodge/Tented Camps.

Day 5: Lake Natron, Oldoinyo Lengai to Arusha

At midnight, (OPTIONAL) we drive to the base of the Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain and start climbing to reach the crater summit in time for enjoying the sunrise. Mount Oldoinyo Lengai is one of the most spectacular features of the crater highlands. In the Maasai languange Oldoinyo Lengai means mountain of god.

It is an active volcano whose last recorded major eruption was in 1966 and lesser eruptions took place in 2007 and 2008. Adventurous visitors climb up its steep slopes to visit the steaming crater though some prefer to view its cone from a distance. The slopes up to the top are quiet steep. The climbing takes roughly 10 hours up and down. The descend will be around 10:00am for brunch. Then we visit the Soda Lake with the beautiful lesser flamingos before driving back to Arusha.
In the morning we visit the soda lake with the beautiful lesser flamingos. The purple and brown colours in the surface of the lake are caused by algae and bacteria. It’s a great place for walking and photo-shooting. Then we board on our vehicle and drive back to Arusha.

Book this tour

  • Transfer from/to Arusha
  • Transport with our Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4 with pop up roof for game drive fitted with HF radio communication
  • Dedicated Services of Kashengere Safari English speaking guide (possibility for more languages upon request in advance)
  • Ngorongoro conservation and Crater fees
  • Ranger fees
  • Walking fees
  • Government Vat fees
  • Local Maasai guide fees
  • Village fees
  • Donkey fees
  • Camping fees
  • Camping gears (tents, thick foam mattresses, pillows, table, chairs, cooking equipment).
  • Cook and crew to prepare the meals and take care of the campsites
  • Meals as prescribed in the itinerary
  • 1.5 lts of water per person per day
  • International & Domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • For the camping please bring your personal sleeping bags
  • Optional Activity Oldonyo Lengai climb: USD 100 per person (includes Mountain park fees, Guide fees and allowance)
  • Tips and gratuities to the crew/personnel
  • Items of a personal nature – spa treatments, laundry, mini-bars, internet etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question. We are looking forward to hear from you.

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