Ngorongoro Highlands, Lake Natron and Lengai
12-days trekking and wildlife safari to the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Rift Valley, Tanzania
- Ngorongoro crater
- Dramatic landscapes of the Great Rift Valley
- Olmoti, Empakai and active Lengai volcanoes
- Spectacular, but comfortable trekking
- Experience the exotic Maassai culture
12-days: Ngorongoro Highlands - Lake Natron - Lengai - Lake Manyara
This itinerary is a recommended example to truly enjoy what this remarkeable part of Tanzania has to offer. On request, modifications are possible, such as upgrade of accommodation (where available) to lodges.
Pick-up from airport or bus terminal and transfer to the hotel. Meeting of the group, presentation of the program and group dinner. Overnight at a uniquely designed and owner-managed lodge just a few minutes from Arusha town, situated in private grounds within a quiet residential area known as Sekei, with views of Mt. Meru (the 5th highest mountain in Africa, at 4,655 m). Pool and comfortable lounge with an excellent bar and dinner menu, complemented by staff who are friendly and attentive.
After an early start, 6-hoursdrive to and through parts of the Rift Valley, passing spectactular scenery and Maassai villages. Encounters possible monkeys, giraffes, elephants and flamingos at Manyara viewpoint. In the late afternoon we arrive at our private campsite on the rim of the grand Ngorongoro crater.
In the morning, we include a second game drive in Ngorongoro crater. In the afternoon, we circle the crater and drive into the vast and rarely visited central part of the Highlands to Olmoti volcano (about 1 hour drive). Option for an easy hike to the crater rim and down to waterfalls.
Whole-day hike to Empakai Crater, through the impressive Embulbul depression. Camp on the crater rim of Empakai.
We have a full day to explore Empakai Crater. Following a narrow trail we descend on foot into the thickly forested Empakai Crater. As we descend through the vines and over roots, we get glimpses of the emerald green soda lake which covers about a quarter of the crater floor. The lake is a haven for flamingoes. We have a picnic lunch by the lakeside, and then hike around the lakeshore and back to camp (4-6 hours total). Hot showers will be available, and then dinner, as we listen to the flamingoes pass overhead on their nightly journey toward Lake Natron. Oldonyo Lengai glows in the afternoon sun, poking its steep sloped top above the depths of the plains which surround its base well below the Rift Valley Escarpment, our next destination.
For the walk to Empakai Crater floor, carry your own picnic lunch box in your daypacks, to enjoy at the lakeside. This evening each person will need to prepare a “light” bag for the donkey trek portion of the next etappe.
Using donkeys for camp porterage, we walk from Empakai Crater downward towards the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Camp at an excellent viewpoint onto the Rift Valley and the splendid cone of Lengai volcano: for the Maassai, the Mountain of God.
Hike into the Rift Valley: steep cliffs on one side, Lake Natron in front and the impressive stratovolcano of Lengai on the other side. Down in the valley, we relax at a comfortable campsite near the lake.
Two full days to explore the Lake Natron area: the salt flats at the lakeshore with the flamingoes, underdo hikes into a nearby gorge to some spectacular waterfalls, observe / climb Lengai volcano, visit a traditional Maassai village etc.
Drive to Mtowa Mbu. Game viewing in Lake Manyara National Park with picnic lunches.
Transfer to Arusha (ca. 2 hrs), end of service
Transfer to airport or extension tour.
The tour starts and ends in Arusha, a friendly, mid-sized town that is the main starting point for excursions in the area. See also the "Getting There" section further below.
Group size: 1-12
Duration: 10 days (suggested)
Dates:Custom and group dates
Price (per person): open
- All accommodation (prices based on shared room/tent) in hotel (2 nights in Arusha), guesthouse (1 night at Lake Manyara) and in camps (8 nights)
- All transfers according to program: 4x4 in good condition, equipped with animal guide books, driver guide, max 5 clients per vehicle, roof-hatch access and window seats for each guest (i.e. max two clients per seat row)
- No km limitation for excursions in the visited areas
- Supply vehicle (to carry the camp) from 3+ pax
- Two game safaris in Ngorongoro
- Full board, all meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on last day
- 3 liters of bottled drinking water per person per day
- Cook(s) and camp hand(s) to prepare all your meals, set up & break camps
- Full camping equipment incl. spacious dome tents, thick matresses and liners, dining tent, table, chairs, washing water basin, towels
- Frame beds in tents
- Private services of a professional English-speaking safari guide(s) and a Maassai walking guide
- Donkeys and donkey handlers
- An armed Ngorongoro Park Ranger for the walks in Olmoti and Empakai Crater
- All park fees and camp fees (Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Lake Natron + transit fees) and eco-tourism fee