HPE: 556 Safari with Ngorongoro Crater Highlands

Duration: 7 Days and 6 Nights
Price: Please Contact us about the price of this Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha and overnight in a lodge (included on a BB basis).

Drive from Arusha and then descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for a crater tour. This 100 square mile natural amphitheater is host to an astonishing array of wildlife and you may be lucky enough to see rhino, elephant and lion, as well as large herds of zebra and wildebeest. A picnic lunch will be taken in the Crater before returning to the lodge. Stay a second night at Simba Camp on the rim of the Crater.

Day 2: Ngorongoro Crater to Olmoti

Drive to the Ngorongoro Crater and descend into the Crater for a second game drive. Then exit the Crater and drive to Nainokanoka. Take an afternoon trek at Olmoti, which takes you through the rain-forested slopes of Olmoti Crater to the rim viewpoint. The trek winds down to the grassy plains of the crater floor and to Munge Falls, named after the distinctive white flourish of the Colobus Monkey tail.

Day 3: Olmoti Crater to Empakai

The trek continues to the distant Empakai Crater. On this day the trek covers open grassland through a natural amphitheater created by encircling volcanoes. Maasai rush out of their traditional homes (Manyattas) to greet trekkers as they pass by. The steep walk up Empakai affords awe-inspiring views, especially from the top where the sheer sided sunken crater can be seen. We camp on the Crater Rim, with Empakai on one side and Ol Donyo Lengai, the holy Masai volcano, on the other.

Day 4: Empakai to Nayobi

From the overnight camp, we scramble down the sheer-sided slopes of Empakai onto the crater floor for a foot safari. Empakai Crater is a sunken volcano with a soda lake covering most of the crater floor. Flamingos nest here during the day to escape the blazing heat of the Rift Valley. A large forest on the western shore is home to antelope, buffalo, leopard and lion, with large seasonal zebra and wildebeest populations when they pass through on their migratory circuits.

Day 5: Nayobi to Ngaresero

The Masai Mountain of God, Ol Donyo Lengai looms out of the sunrise as we head out early to avoid the African heat. We arrive at the escarpment, the sheer wall that looms out of the Rift Valley floor, to admire one of the finest views in Africa. Sweeping vistas of the Rift Valley 1500ft below, and the scattered active volcanoes, primitive rock formations, glimmering soda lakes and clustered Maasai bomas are all in front of you to behold.

The final six kilometers are across the tough uncompromising terrain of the valley floor in extreme heat. Our shaded camp is perched above a refreshing stream, a half-hours walk from a paradisaical waterfall.

Day 6: Ngaresero

Very early morning an optional climb Oldonyo Lengai (2878m), an active carbonate volcano with spiritual significance to the Masai. (Please see below

A visit to Lake Natron (short afternoon visit if Ol Donyo Lengai trek is taken), one of the soda alkaline lakes that jewel the East African Rift, where there is an array of water birds including hordes of resident flamingos. There is also the opportunity to walk up a gorge carved into the Rift Escarpment to a waterfall to wash off five days of dust.

Day 7: Ngaresero to Arusha

A long driving day returning back to Arusha. Arrive before nightfall; Overnight at a reserved hotel in Arusha (included on Bed and breakfast)

Optional Trek of Oldonyo Lengai
An optional climb of Ol Donyo Lengai (2878m), an active carbonate volcano with spiritual significance to the Maasai is offered.

This is a very demanding trek, which starts around 3 am in the morning so as to avoid the fierce midday heat. There is no shade on the mountain, and the terrain underfoot consists of tough scree, lava and volcanic ash, with steep furrows and gullies to negotiate.

At the summit, there are two craters (one of which is still active) which can be explored, with due care, and the views across the Rift and towards Lake Natron are breathtaking. This trek is recommended for serious trekkers in good physical condition. A large water intake and a sunhat are strongly advised.

Details: This is what High Peaks Expeditions is known for: as operators of the most invigorating and rustic trekking safaris in Tanzania. We pioneered our crater highlands treks from the plains of Ngorongoro to the shores of the lake in Empakai Crater, down the Great Rift Valley wall to spectacular Lake Natron, where a swim in the cool waterfall pools awaits you

It can be done in 3, 5, 6 or 7 days depending, and we will be more than happy to incorporate a few trekking days into your safari!

These treks get you close to nature and allow you the chance to get an authentic taste of the local culture as you trek with Maasai guides and your belongings are transported on pack animals in the traditional way-just as tribesman have done for centuries. While this trek is not necessarily physically demanding – it does require a fit and healthy individual with the stamina to walk 4 – 11 hours a day through some rugged terrain, but once you’re through – you’ll find it worth the sweat!