7 Days Ngorongoro Crater Highland Trekking

Ref No: NC14
Classes: BUDGET
Activities: Trekking, Culture tour, Wildlife safari, Oldonyo Lengai Climbing
Days: 7Nights: 6
Min Persons: 2Max Persons: 6
kanuth adventure safaris

This tour is not technically difficult, although if you climb Ol Doinyo Lengai (2962m), it is very exerting. It would be best if you were steady on your feet as you walk steep slopes, sometimes on all fours, because the volcanic sand below your feet tends to make your feet slide. But it is a great, rewarding adventure with amazing views of the rift valley to Serengeti and Lake Natron in the north. At other times the trek is long, and it can be hot as you cross lowland savanna before winding up volcanoes like Empaakai to heights of around 2000m. In other words, you should be physically fit to do this tour, so if you or any person in your group is doubtful about his or her fitness, then do some training walks to get fit before tackling this wonderful route.

Day1: Arusha - Ngorongoro Crater (190km - 3hours)

Pick up from Arusha and drive to Ngorongoro Crater, where you will descend into the Crater floor (19.2 km diameter, 610m deep, 304 sq. km) for afternoon game drives. The big five (rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, and elephant) live in this wonderful caldera. Other wildlife includes zebra, hippo, wildebeest, hyena, and more. Many birds such as flamingo on the soda lake, geese, storks, cranes, vultures, kingfishers, and more. We break for lunch at the Ngoitoktok spring picnic site, an unforgettable experience. Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden,’ the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World’. A massive, extinct volcano, its towering tree-lined walls drop thousands of feet to a “Noah’s Ark” of animals on the verdant floor below. This breathtaking oasis provides a haven for predators and prey to live among grasslands, forests, fresh springs, and the large soda lake. Large herds of zebra, buffalo, antelope, and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Nowhere else can such diversity in wildlife be experienced in such a short period of time. After lunch, we continue game viewing and later ascend to the crater rim to drive back to camp,

incorrect type: meal plan
accommodation: budget: Simba Public Campsite


Day 2: Ngorongoro - Nainokanoka Masai Village - Bulati (4 – 5 hours)

Breakfast at 07:00 am. Then we depart to Nainokanoka Maasai village, where you will meet your ranger or Maasai warrior who will guide you for the next couple of days. Donkeys carry the luggage for the upcoming trek. The journey begins in the vales of the highland, passing many traditional Maasai bomas (villages) bustling with people and cattle. After a short distance, wild animals can be seen, such as Thompson and grants, gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest. Where there are many animals, hungry jackals are not far away, and high in the sky, majestic eagles are observing the situation. You will reach the campsite for the night after 16km, close to the Maasai village Bulati. Dinner and Overnight at Bulati Village.

meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner
accommodation: budget: Bulati Campsite


Day 3: Bulati Maasai Village - Empaakai (5 – 6 hours)

After breakfast, the journey continues up a hill where you can take a last panoramic view of the grass plains. The trek continues up and down through the bushy landscape, which finally leads you up the slopes of the extinct volcano, Empaakai. The trek gives you great views of the majestic Ol Doinyo Lengai and down into the impressive Empaakai Crater before reaching the campsite for the night. A well-maintained track goes to the crater bottom, of which the Empaakai Lake covers one-third. This (alkaline) soda lake is an important source of nutrients for flamingos. When returning to the camp, dinner will be waiting for you. During the night, you might hear the flamingo.

meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner
accommodation: budget: Empakai Campsite


Day 4: Empaakai Crater - Nayobi Village - Acacia Forest (4 hours)

Wake up very early, so you don`t miss the beautiful panoramic sunrise above the lake in the Empaakai Crater. Whilst your breakfast, the donkeys are loaded, and you start your 7 km trek on the rim of the crater, heading for Nayobi Village. The loading of the donkeys goes easier every day, as the participants and the animals are getting familiar with each other. Here in Nayobi Village, you will fill your water bottles and have lunch. Nayobi (also spelled Nairobi, like the capital of Kenya) means source of water.

After lunch, you follow a good track over rolling, grassy hills from which you can see Ol Doinyo Lengai from a distance. You trek to the acacia forest campsite for Dinner and Overnight. Look out for porcupine quills on the forest floor!

meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner
accommodation: budget: Acacia Campsite


Day 5: Acacia Forest Camp - Lake Natron (3 – 4 hours)

Breakfast at around 07:00 am. The trek highlights are the great views of Oldonyo Lengai, Lake Natron, and the Rift Valley. A big part of the rugged countryside is covered by the ashes of the last eruption in 2007, which add to the surreal picture of the landscape. The trek goes deeper down into the dry and hot Rift Valley, where you can see the dried-out ashes from up close. You may even have to scramble down into white gullies that were gauged out of the ground from molten lava that has now solidified and scramble back up on the other side. The vehicle will pick you up and take you to Lake Natron camp, where you can refresh yourself in the Lake Natron River.

meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner
accommodation: budget: Lake Natron Viewpoint Campsite


Day 6: Full Day Lake Natron OR Climb Ol Doinyo Lengai

Breakfast at 06:00 am. Visit Lake Natron which is one of the most alkaline lakes in the world. Home to millions of tiny crustaceans, the lake is a haven for thousands of lesser flamingos, and it is one of the most important flamingo breeding grounds on earth. The area around the lake is dry and desolate. The strangely beautiful landscape is the attraction in this area. After a strenuous walk up the stream, we reach the river’s source in the cascading waterfalls that gush out of the mountains. It is an excellent swim in the river and under the waterfalls for a nice cool-down from the hot sun. There may be baboons or other wildlife in the gorge.


The other option is to ascend the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai, 2962m (9650ft). This is in the heart of Maasai country and is locally regarded as a sacred mountain. Looking north from its summit crater, Lake Natron’s hot, barren salt flats stretch into the distance; beyond lies the Kenyan border. To the south stretch the crater highlands, Ngorongoro being one of the prime game parks in Africa. Kilimanjaro dominates the eastern horizon, and to the west, the forested escarpments and hills comprising the western slopes of the Great African Rift Valley. Almost without fail, about every seven years, Lengai erupts, and plumes of smoke billow out of the crater. At other times it is possible to walk down into the crater, almost to the edge of the molten lava. The ascent of Lengai is demanding on account of the daytime heat, lack of water and shade, steep and unstable slopes of ash, and loose stone. An early start is recommended, and the best approach is from the west, where you can avoid the morning sun for a while. Descend by mid-morning to the foothills of Ol Doinyo Lengai, where your safari vehicles await you. Transfer back to your camp for some relaxation or continue after lunch on a walk to the waterfalls or the hominid footprints archaeological site.

meal plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner
accommodation: budget: Lake Natron Viewpoint Campsite


Day 7: Lake Natron - Arusha (6 hours)

The day will start very early with a visit to the neighboring Maasai village. You will spend the morning sharing in the daily life of Maasai families, discovering their culture. You will get to see the Maasai as they go about their daily activities, including milking and cattle handling. After that, you will return to camp for breakfast and then drive to Arusha. En route, you see many Maasai villages, gazelles, giraffes, zebras, baboons, beehives, and birds such as vultures, ostriches, glossy starlings, kori bustards, and kites. Arriving Arusha late afternoon, where the tour will end.

meal plan: breakfast, lunch
accommodation: no accommodation on this day.


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Included in Price:
  • All activities as per the itinerary
  • All Accommodation as per itinerary – N.B. accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is dependent on availabilty at the time of booking; alternatives of a similar class may be booked instead
  • All meals as per itinerary (3 a day unless otherwise stated)
  • All transfers to and from agreed pick up and drop off points (e.g. Airport, Bus Station or hotel in town etc)
  • All camping gear (if you are camping)
  • Service of an English speaking driver/guide
  • Safari base 4×4 Vehicle with open roof for game viewing (sometimes a saloon car or other SUV for excursions in town etc.)
  • Driver’s salary and allowances and park fees for vehicle and driver
  • Bottled mineral water daily
  • All Government taxes
  • All National Park and Game Reserve Fees
  • If included in your itinerary: foot safaris, boat safaris
  • TANAPA armed ranger (where needed, eg. on foot safaris, some boat safaris etc.)
  • Crater service fees (if visiting Ngorongoro Crater)
  • All Nature Trail Fees.
Exluded in Price:
  • Extras, personal expenses i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
  • Optional activities not outlined on the itinerary
  • International flights & corresponding taxes
  • Visa
  • Flying doctors rescue services
  • Travel, medical, injury and luggage insurances
  • Tips to the driver & guides
  • Anything else not mentioned in the inclusions (above).
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