The rugged and beautiful Ngorongoro Highlands offers one of the finest blends of culture, landscapes and wildlife in Tanzania. The best way to experience the highlands is no doubt on foot. Its diverse landscapes consisting of elevated volcanoes and craters, forests and vast grassy plains offers a remarkable experience for those hiking through this area.
Hikers will experience first-hand how the Maasai people, who inhabit these highlands and the wildlife, coexist. The 54km journey through the highlands takes us to the edge of the Great Rift Valley where we then descend to the base of the escarpment wall right on the foot of Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai. Known to the Maasai as the “Mountain of God”, Ol Doinyo Lengai is one of the most unique active volcanoes in the world.
Our trek ends up on the shores of the beautiful Lake Natron, an alkaline lake which serves as the breeding ground for the Lesser Flamingo.
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adventure's Itinerary would look like:
Day 1: Travel to Karatu town for a trek briefing:
Depart from the UK and arrive Kilimanjaro Airport. We will be transferred to Karatu town near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The transfer takes approximately 31/2 hours so it is highly recommended you arrive with the midday flight at the latest.
While at the camp your guide will brief you about your upcoming trek through the highlands.
After your briefing you will enjoy your dinner and drinks by the fireplace before retiring for the day to get your much needed rest.
Day 2: Explore the Olmoti Crater and Munge Waterfalls:
Your day starts off with a 2 hour drive to Nainokanoka Village where you will be based tonight. During your transfer, if it’s not too foggy, you may get great views of the Ngorongoro Crater from the viewpoint on the edge of the crater rim.
You then proceed along the Henry Fosb Rooke road through the dense forest towards Nainokanoka, where you will get to see wildlife such as buffalos and wildebeest.
Today you will explore the Olmoti Crater and Munge Waterfalls on a 3 hour hike. The Olmoti Crater is a shallow grassy crater where the Munge River originates.
Day 3: Trek to Bulati Village across the Elbulbul grassland:
We depart Nainokanoka camp at 0800hrs and commence our trek to Bulati Village. We will pass a few Maasai Bomas on our way. We will have a packed lunch half way to Bulati.
We cross the Elbulbul depression, a vast grassland with no trees, but many zebras can be seen grazing, wildebeests, raptors due to the many mole rat mounds found in the area.
We arrive in Bulati early in the afternoon for rest and refreshments. Late afternoon Maasai Boma visit in the village of Bulati where we will be spending the night.
Day 4: Trek through forest and lake to the Empakaai crater:
Today you will change environment from temperate grassland to montane forest zone on the crater rim. Plenty of spectacular panoramic views of the landscape. We have packed lunch half way on the trek.
In the afternoon you will descend into the crater where you can see lesser flamingos who reside on the crater soda lake. The Caldera is 300m deep and 6kms wide. The trek is roughly 45 minutes down and an hours walk back up.
Today we will be camping right on the rim of the Empakaai crater.
Day 5: Trek to Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai:
After breakfast we walk a short way around the Empakaai crater to stretch our legs and get some good panoramic photos of the caldera.
The first half of the trek is to Nayobi village where you will stop for lunch. From Nayobi we head down to Acacia Campsite.
You will head out on a late afternoon walk to view the surrounding area and to take photos of the majestic Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai, which is a Maasai name for “Mountain of God”. This mountain is unique amongst geologists because it is the only active volcano on Earth that erupts with a carbonatite, a type of igneous rock rich in carbonates such as calcite and dolomite.
Day 6: Trek the Rift Valley Escarpment to Lake Natron:
We finish off our last day of trekking with a very early start from Acacia. The terrain is very dry and recently covered by ash from the 2008 Oldoinyo Lengai eruption.
We maximize our trek in the early hours of the day to avoid the late morning sun intensity and heat. We descend the Rift Valley Escarpment, via Pembe ya Swala to the base of Ol Doinyo Lengai.
At the base we are picked up by our vehicles and transferred to our camp in Lake Natron for Lunch.
Late afternoon excursion to Lake Natron shores to view the Lesser Flamingos in their breeding habitat or for the fitter ones a hike up to the Engare Sero waterfalls.
Day 7: Safari add-on or free day:
Today you have the opportunity to enjoy a Tanzanian safari add-on or a day of R&R!
Day 8: Travel back to the UK:
Today you can relax at the lodge while you wait for your transfer back to the airport.
A good level of physical fitness would be a good asset for this trip, but as you will be guided by a qualified leader, no specific skills or experience are required.
Once you have booked your place on your bucket list trip, you will receive a kit list from us containing all the kit/equipment you will need to complete the adventure successfully. This will ensure you have everything you could possibly need ready for the big adventure.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of the trip or your suitability for it, please contact us on 01769 309002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help.
Our Trip Guarantee:
When we guarantee a trip and you book it, we promise that:
- The trip will run.
- It will leave on the date advertised (unless, it is beyond our control, for example, the airline changes something).
- You will not be surcharged.
When you book adventure travel, you want to know how much the trip is going to cost you, without hidden, last-minute costs appearing afterwards. Our full-cost prices include international air fares – we do not advertise “prices from”, leaving you to guess what the final flight price might be. Instead, when booking with us, you know the flight is included, and at what price, from the moment you visit our website.
The price of every Bucket List Company adventure trip includes:
- All accommodation
- Our own UK leader who will accompany your group on the whole trip
- Meals on trek/experience
- Any permits
- Entry fees to any regions and sites visited as part of the itinerary
- Group equipment
- Safety equipment
- Our own expedition manager
- 24 UK operations and emergency cover whilst you are in the country
The price of our trips does not include:
- Visa fees
- Travel Insurance
- Tips for local crew ($100 is the recommended rate)
- Personal spending money
It is a booking condition of The Bucket List Company that you have full travel insurance valid for the duration of your tour to cover you for medical emergency and repatriation to your home country. We will ask you for a copy of this before departure for our records. It is also important that you leave a copy of your insurance with the person nominated as your emergency contact.
We can recommend a respected, specialist travel insurance provider for this trip if you wish – simply contact us to find out more.
Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, and the health of participants can all contribute to changes. The Trek Leader and our local agent will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy going nature will be an asset!
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