Ngorongoro Highlands Walking Safari

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This is an energetic trek which starts high on the cool forested Ngorongoro Crater rim and finishes in the dry heat of Lake Natron. From the Ngorongoro Crater rim where we camp before driving across with the game drives on the crater floor, to Nainokanoka, a tiny Maasai village lying just below Olmoti Crater in the heart of the Crater Highlands. From here we walk up to the Munge Waterfalls before driving across the Embulbul depression to Bulati on the edge of the Empaakai Crater. From here the main trek to Lake Natron starts.

Several alternatives are now available: the first is to relax at the shady Ngare Sero Campsite and visit Lake Natron itself. The day temperatures by the lake often exceed 40°C (100°F), few animals survive here and only the flamingo makes the lake its home, nesting on the salty surface on upraised mounds where slightly cooler air stops its eggs getting fried!

The second is to ascend of the active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai, 2878m (9650ft), in the heart of Masaai country, and locally regarded as a sacred mountain. Looking north from its summit crater the hot barren salt flats of Lake Natron stretch into the distance, beyond lies the Kenyan border. To the south stretch the Crater Highlands, Ngorongoro being one of the prime game parks in Africa. The eastern horizon is dominated by Kilimanjaro and to the west the forested escarpments and hills comprising the western slopes of the Great African Rift Valley. Almost without fail, about every seven years Lengai erupts and plumes of smoke billow out of the crater. At other times it is possible to walk down into the crater, almost to the edge of the molten lavas. The ascent of Lengai is demanding on account of the day time heat, lack of water, steep and unstable slopes of ash and crumbly rocks. An early start is recommended and the best approach is from the west where the morning sun can be avoided for a while.

Finally a walk to the dramatic source on the Ngare Sero River provides a complete contrast to the hot plains leading to Lake Natron.

You only need to carry a light day pack with you. Other than normal safari and camping equipment you should have a tough pair of walking boots, a sun hat offering neck protection, sun glasses, sun cream, water bottle, tough trousers or shorts and shirt made of a light material (if wearing shorts take long socks or light (preferably) canvas gaiters). A walking pole or two would be useful for the ascent of Lengai.