Walk the Ngorongoro highlands
Our Walk the Ngorongoro highlands breakaway explores some of the popular calderas of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This itinerary offers fidgety travellers the opportunity to explore the highlands as part of a larger safari itinerary. But hiking and exploring does not have to mean giving up comfort. This program runs from remotely-located luxury camps, thereby ensuring you will not be jostling with tourist crowds for premium encounters.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers more than 8000 square kilometres of volcanic craters, grassy plains, rivers, lakes and wetlands. It contains a complex mix of human, wildlife and livestock activities, which include increasing tourism numbers and growing Maasai communities. But it is this mix of activities that permits a greater level of freedom to explore the highlands and engage with the communities.
Firstly, visit Olmoti Crater, with an easy climb on an ancient cattle trail to look down into the crater. From quiet paths snaking through lichen-covered forests to rocky outcrops with endless views, this is the perfect first walk in the Ngorongoro highlands.
The second day is spent exploring Empakaai Crater, known for its blue lake and flocks of flamingos. The descent to the lake through thick montane forest is a favourite amongst birders, while the walk out offers the chance to see some of the resident big game.
The final hike is one of our favourites, namely, the Ngorongoro Crater rim hike. This 20km route follows Maasai cattle trails through Acacia forests and montane thickets, to the drier west of the crater.
Opportunities abound to engage with local Maasai communities; a formal visit can be arranged through the camp and there are many casual interactions on the trails. In order to gain an understanding of life in these communities and their role in the environment there is no better way to experience it than on foot.
HOTELS AND LODGES
This program spends two nights at The Highlands on the slopes of Olmoti crater. This camp is perfectly located to access the hikes and activities included.
The last night is spent at Entemanu, Nomad Tanzania’s elegant camp on the western side of the Ngorongoro Crater.
Please note regarding all Active Africa trips:
- Unless otherwise specified, the price shown is based on shoulder season rates. These will change for travel in low / high season
- Specials may apply to one or more of the hotels in this itinerary. The price shown does not take these into account. Please contact us for a date-specific quote
- Unless you’re looking at a scheduled departure or founders’ trip, all itineraries are customisable. Tell us how we can make it perfect for you.
Transfers from/to a nearby camp or Lake Manyara Airstrip
Private walking guide
Accommodation, meals, drinks, snacks for 3 nights
Park, conservation and walking fees and permits
National park rangers
Personal purchases and donations
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
This program can be enjoyed year-round; however, few people like to hike in the rain for hours on end.
So we typically don’t recommend it during the long rains which run from late March through May.
We like this part of Tanzania when the weather is mild in June and November and the short dry season in January and February.
And of course, the dry season (July – October) is a good time for outdoor activities
YOU SHOULD KNOW
This excursion can only be booked as part of an Active Africa safari itinerary.
This trip is rated moderate to hard. Generally the walking is moderate to easy, but the steep slopes of Empakaai Crater and the distance of the Ngorongoro Crater rim hike over rough terrain and at altitude, require good walking fitness.
Given the chance of encountering dangerous game and the length of the hikes, we recommend that this program is suitable for children 14 and over.
We cannot control the weather – this is an outdoor, nature based itinerary and indoor alternatives are limited. Come prepared to take on the elements if the weather is not playing fair.