In Search of Volcanoes


In Search of Volcanoes – Ngorongoro to Lake Natron Trek

The Ngorongoro Crater Highlands comprise of a range of volcano mountains (not all dead) rising steeply on the western side of the Great Rift Valley in the northern part of Tanzania. Majority of the older volcanoes eroded and collapsed to form »the Craters« (more correctly known as calderas), that gave the Highlands its name. At the south of the Crater Highlands lay the oldest volcanoes with summits over 3.100m/ 10.171ft; on the eastern side is the famous the Ngorongoro Crater with one of the biggest calderas in the world measuring amazing 20 km! The highest of the Highlands and Tanzania’s third highest mountain is Mt. Loolmalassin with its 3.648m/ 11.969ft. At the northern part of the Crater Highlands, the more recent volcanoes are situated with the last formed and still active volcano, the magnificent Ol Doinyo Lengai (2.878m/ 9.442ft).

Here is presented the standard Ngorongoro Crater Highlands Trek, which takes you through the heart of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands; from the eight wonder of the world – the Ngorongoro Crater, through grasslands and forests all the way to the magnificent Lake Natron. Located at the footsteps of ‘the Mountain of God’ (as named by the local Maasai tribe), Ol Doinyo Lengai is one of the world’s rarest, active volcanoes, that also offers a unique climb.

Overnight is in campsites only. In addition to our walking guide, a Maasai Warriors and an armed Ranger will accompany you during the trek to protect you from wildlife. Donkeys will be used for carrying luggage and supplies, which also act as rides to assist you at times when you might feel too tired to continue.

Some of our Useful Information about the Crater Highlands, Trekking Tips and Trekking FAQ will assist you and ensure your preparation is satisfactory for an unforgettable trip. Combine your trek with a descent into the Ngorongoro Crater or a visit to ‘the real Bushmen’, the Hadzabe tribe at Lake Eyasi, or with other parks and reserves within Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit.

For queries and quick price quotations about Ngorongoro Crater Highlands Tours as well as Tailor-Made Programmes to suit all your wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us.


DAY 1: Arusha – Ngorongoro Crater – Nainokanoka Village (28 km, 5 hour walk)
Early departure from Arusha town towards Ngorongoro Crater (optional descent into the Crater for approx 3-hour game drive) with a picnic lunch, reaching Nainokanoka village in the early afternoon hours, where you set your camp. Before dinner and overnight enjoy a pleasant walk around Olmoti Crater and through the forest all the way up to the top of the Munge waterfalls; Olmoti is a source of the Munge river which through the spectacular Munge waterfalls fills the fresh lake in the Ngorongoro Crater.

DAY 2: Olmoti Crater – Kamnana Village (20 km, 6 hour walk)
After breakfast, continue walking through the Embulimbuli Depression following the Maasai cattle trails which pass through forests and grasslands. Your overnight camp is set in the bush some distance from the Kamnana Village.

DAY 3: Kamnana Village – Empakaai Crater (8 km, 4-5 hour walk)
Early departure, following the path through the open grassland, bushland area and forests, gradually ascending to the rim of the Empakaai Crater. Before descending into the Crater floor covered with dense equatorial forests and grass and with a volcanic lake in the middle, a camp is set on the Crater rim. During the walk to and around the lake in the crater, animals such as buffalos, reedbucks, waterbucks and different birds can be seen at close range. Overnight at the camp on the crater rim.

DAY 4: Empakaai Crater – Naiyobi Maasai Village (5 km, 7 hour walk)
Depart for the Maasai ‘bubling water’ Naiyobi Village, circling the Empakaai Crater rim and descending on the north-western side.

DAY 5: Naiyobi Maasai Village – Mounwongoni Maasai Village (11 km, 6-8 hour walk)
After breakfast continue walking, following the dusty paths downhill and off the crater highlands to Muowongoni Maasai Village. Overnight at the camp at the edge of the village.

DAY 6: Mounwongoni Maasai Village – Ngaresero Village – Ol Doinyo Lengai (27 km, 7-9 hour walk)
Early morning departure before the sun gets too hot. Follow the winding path across bare volcanic rocks and dusty lava soil. The path crosses river Ngaresero to the nearby village and rounding the north-western floor of the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai. Camp is set near the river and a natural bath here is very refreshing. Early in the morning (between 3.00 a.m. and 4.00 a.m.) you transfer jeep to the foot of ‘the Mountain of God’, Ol Doinyo Lengai, to start the trek to its peak at 2.878m/ 9.442ft.

DAY 7: Lake Natron – Arusha (375 km, 6-7 hour walk)
Descend from the Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain at about 01:00 p.m. Afterwards enjoy a lunch and a short tour to one of the most beautiful soda lakes in Tanzania and a birding place of lesser flamingos, the amazing Lake Natron. In the afternoon return to Arusha town.

End of tour.

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