Ngorongoro Highlands to Lake Natron Trek
The very epitome of getting off the beaten track, this adventure takes you on foot through the volcanic landscapes of northern Tanzania, travelling through areas that are simply impossible to reach by road. Easy to combine with a traditional safari on the northern circuit, you can fit in this adventure after your Ngorongoro Crater game drives and at the end of the trek, fly onward to the Serengeti.
Experience the fascinating lives of the Maasai between Ngorongoro and Lake Natron accompanied by Maasai guides, and spend time learning more about their culture and traditions. Beginning at Empakaai Crater, where the dirt road ends, you can hike to the floor of this seldom-visited volcanic crater, home to flamingo, bushbuck, waterbuck, and various monkey species in the forest. The trek continues northwards along the Rift Valley wall with spectacular views of Ol Doinyo Lengai ahead, descending to your finishing point at Lake Natron.
We’ve included two nights here to give you time to fully explore the area which has so much to offer: an abundance of flamingos for whom the lake is an important breeding ground, hominid footprints, hikes to the Ngare Sero waterfalls, and various shorter walks.
We recommend spending a couple of nights at Asilia’s The Highlands beforehand, to visit the Ngorongoro Crater on a game drive, as well as spending time with the Maasai communities or having a warm-up hike up the Olmoti Crater behind the camp. Alternatively, you can stay elsewhere in the Ngorongoro or Karatu region.
Arrive at Empakaai fly camp in the late morning in time for lunch and to meet your trekking guide and team. This afternoon, descend into the Empakaai Crater with your Maasai guide. The path is quite steep and often slippery, so you’ll need to take care. It will take around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the crater floor, emerging from the forest to enjoy views of the crater lake where flamingos are often found.
Explore with your guides, learning more about the plant life and species that live here, before hiking back to your fly camp on the crater rim. The hike back is similarly steep, and the altitude makes most people short of breath, so this hike takes between 1.5 to 2 hours. Return to the fly camp for a hot shower and a tasty campfire-cooked dinner.