TREKKING TO NGORONGORO CRATER HIGHLANDS
The Maasai are Nilotic-speaking pastoralists who live in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti/Maasai Mara ecosystem. You can hike through this unique African landscape and learn about these unique people. The hike begins on the northern rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, traverses the Crater Highlands, and descends in to the Rift Valley to Lake Natron. You can add this hike to your Serengeti safari, or go out to the Ngorongoro Crater from Arusha and begin from there. The program is 7 days, 6 nights (including a day of game driving in the Ngorongoro Crater), but can be extended 1-2 more days to explore Olmoti crater.
Itinerary for Ngorongoro Crater Highland:
Day 1 :
-In the morning after breakfast drive to the Ngorongoro Crater for full day in the Crater. You can stay on the Crater rim for the night, or make your way to Nainokanoka village where the hike begins.
Day 2 :
- You meet your Maasai guide and donkey porters at Nainokanoka Village on the slopes of Olmoti Crater. The hike proceeds to Empakaii Crater (4-6 hrs). At Empakaii, you will have time to explore the rim of the Crater. Camping will be on the Crater rim to minimize the environmental impacts on the Crater floor ecosystem.
Note: extra days can be added here to explore the Olmoti Crater. The Olmoti Crater is the primary fresh water supply for the Ngorongoro Crater and is full of wildlife, birds, and the Munge Waterfalls. You will camp at a Maasai boma (compound).
Day 3 :
- This day is spent exploring the Empakaii Crater floor. The lake is a primary breeding ground for flamingos, the forest is full of birds, buffalo and hyena inhabit the plains, and there is a good chance of spotting a leopard in the early evening. Camping will again be on the crater rim.
Day 4 :
- You cross the Crater Highlands and arrive at Naiyobi Village. Here you will have an opportunity to visit a Maasai school, a clinic, talk with local elders, and immerse yourself in Maasai Village life. (As a gesture of friendship you may want to bring pencils and sharpeners, pens, notebooks for the school kids and we will supply a red Maasai blanket for the oldest male in your group to give to the Chief of the Village). If we are lucky we will find a cultural activity, i.e., a marriage, or circumcision ceremony in progress and will be free to participate. Camping will be in a Yellow Acacia forest on the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment.
Day 5 :
- You descend down the Rift Valley escarpment to Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano and the home of the Maasai God. We will camp at the base of Lengai and start our 5 hour ascent of the volcano that night at 02:00 a.m. in order to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the highlands
Day 6 :
- After our descent, we will go to a permanent campsite on the Ngare Sero River where there is a sacred waterfall famous for its healing properties. After a traditional Maasai meal, we will relax at the camp and visit the waterfalls.
Day 7 :
- A morning walk around the shores of Lake Natron, and after lunch return to Arusha.