7 Days Explore Ngorongoro Crater
There is quite simply no way to gain greater intimacy with the bush than on foot. This week-long tour of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area provides intrepid hikers with an unprecedented wilderness experience as they hike through the crater’s many regions. Follow ancient farming trails between numerous Maasai villages, before eventually summiting an active volcano for panoramic views of the plateau and the crater floor. This journey provides unparalleled and deeply personal opportunities to not only see, but also hear, smell, and feel this special corner of Tanzania.
Ngorongoro Crater – Explore the Crater before Setting up Camp
Welcome to Tanzania! This morning your plane will descend into the city of Arusha, between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. Wasting no time at all, a representative will meet you in the arrivals hall and drive you out of the city towards the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. You will dive right into the heart of this prehistoric looking region with a game drive on the crater floor; your Tanzania vacation and safari has begun!
Kamnana Campsite – Hike Along Cattle Trails Through the Embulimbuli Depression
Rising early to a bush breakfast and steaming hot coffee, you and your team will depart on a daylong hike towards Kamnana Village. Today you will follow ancient cattle trails used by generations of farmers as you gradually walk through forests and grasslands. You will move towards the Embulimbuli Depression – the grassy basin where the slopes of Olmoti, Empakaai, Lomalasin and the Losirua volcanoes intersect with the outer edge of the Ngorongoro Crater.
Kamnana Campsite – Climb the Crater to the Empakaai Rim
This morning you will begin a gradual climb upwards, eventually reaching the rim of the Empakaai Crater. Today will be one of the best days to spot herds of buffalo, waterbuck and reedbuck, so be sure to stay alert! Birdlife in this portion of the hike is also abundant, and binoculars would be a wise thing to keep in your backpack or around your neck. You will reach the edge of the Empakaai Crater midday, just in time for another delicious picnic lunch overlooking the 6000-meter wide crater. Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
Naiyobi Village Campsite – Circle the Crater Rim
This morning you will begin the day by following footpaths around the crater rim towards the northwestern sides. This gentle hike will give you countless panoramic views of both across crater and the magnificent surrounding landscape. The trail eventually descends a rocky scramble towards the marshy crater floor. You will have another opportunity to approach the massive soda lake on foot, walking amongst the substantial flamingo and pelican populations. The pink and white colors of these flocks stand in stunning contrast to the deep green hue of the water, making for great photo opportunities.
Mwongoni Campsite – Leave the Highlands
Today’s journey will carry you downhill away from the crater highlands and towards a Maasai village. Having spent the past days amidst the lush and tangled forests of the varied craters, today’s scenery will change dramatically as you hike into grass and grazing land. In the late afternoon, you will reach the Mwongoni Campsite. Located beside an authentic Maasai bomayou might wish to rest your legs while you learn about this unique semi-nomadic pastoralist culture. Maasai warriors are among Africa’s most distinguished and recognizable tribes, with their red-checkered blankets and intricate beaded jewelry.
Ngare Sero Campsite – Hike to River Ngare Sero at the Base of Mount Lengai
Early this morning, you will wake up to hike across the volcanic rocks and lava soil into the foothills of the still-active Mount Oldonyo Lengai Volcano. The mountain is of great cultural significance to local Maasai communities, who still worship it as one of their gods. Upon crossing the River Ngare Sero, you will arrive in another village where you will set up camp.
Arusha – Climb Mount Lengai for Sunrise and visit Lake Natron
Early this morning, intrepid and adventurous hikers will have the option of summiting Mount Lengai. In order to reach the tip of the volcano for sunrise, we will depart at roughly 2AM. At 9,200 feet, this hike will carry you to one of the best vantage points in the area where you will be able to witness one of Tanzania’s best sunrises. Enjoy breakfast and a rest, before setting out to explore the active center of the volcano, where hot lava can occasionally be seen!
Spend a few final moments checking out Mount Lengai, before descending to the base for midday. Here, a private vehicle will await your arrival. Before parting with the bush, spend some time driving around Lake Natron enjoying a picnic on the shores. The lake itself is very shallow, and has a shockingly high pH level (9 – 10.5) which often leaves large quantities of salt on the shoreline.