Ngorongoro Highlands Trek – Empakai Crater to Lake Natron

Get off the well-known Northern Tanzania safari circuit and take the unique chance to explore the scenic Ngorongoro Highlands on this spectacular trek. This tour takes you along diverse landscapes which includes Olmoti, Empakai and Lake Natron. A great experience to get an insight into rural Tanzania and meet with the here resident local Maasai.

On this 6-day breathtaking trek you will hike through grassy plains, thick mountain forests and the volcanic stamped savannah landscape of the Rift Valley. Your trail follows ancient trading routes that are still in use today and while you pass through various Maasai villages, your guide can help you gain a deeper understanding of the Maasai culture.

Tour Duration

> 6 days, 5 nights (start: day of your choice)

People Traffic

> low


> intermediate


> Scenic landscape & vistas
> Experience the Maasai culture up-close
> Unique habitat of Lake Empakai & Lake Natron
> Encounter flamingos – depending our your travel time
> No crowds compared to other trekking destinations in Tanzania
> Camping at basic campsite
> Includes camping and dinning tent
> no fixed athroom facilities

Interested? Talk to an expert!


As an adventurous European travel is in my blood! Tanzania is a fascinating country with so much to explore! It’s a pleasure to share my insider knowledge and offer first-hand advise. I will take the time to listen to your ideas and create a unique mountain adventure out of these – tailored to your indivudal requirements and designed just for you!

Not sure if the Highland Trek is the suitable for you? You have questions or missing some informations? Don’t worry we are here to assist!

Reach out

Phone/Whats App +255 788 391 600

Not sure – Talk to an expert


Let me show you my stunning home country and discover the true Tanzania – authentic and first-hand with a native at your side! As a Tanzanian myself, I am intimately familiar with the local conditions. With my years of experience and my passion for Tanzania, I will happily design a route based on your interests and trekking conditions.

You have any questions or are unsure if the Highland Trek is the right travel destination for you? Get in touch for a first chat to discuss your requirements!

Reach out
Phone/Whats App +255 787 298 159

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival Day

Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). After you have passed the passport control, you will be met by your professional safari guide outside the terminal and transferred to your accommodation in Karatu (driving distance depending on your overnight choice between 3 – 3.5 hours). Briefing, equipment check and welcome dinner with a relaxing evening before starting your Ngorongoro Highland adventure on the next morning.

Day 1: Start Trek - Karatu to Olmoti Crater and Bulati

In the morning depart with your driver/guide to the entrance gate of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and drive along the Ngorongoro Crater Rim to Lemala Gate and onwards to Olmoti Crater. Olmoti Crater is one of the major water sources inside the Ngorongoro highlands and the soil-filtered water is live-essential for the Maasai and their livestock.

Ascent to the rim and walk further to Munge Gorge for your picnic-lunch break at the 100m high waterfall. Enjoy the view towards Embulimnuli in which the slopes of Olmoti, Empakai, Lolmalasin, and Losirua volcanoes join with the outer rim of the Ngorongoro caldera. Drive to your campsite, which is not far from the Maasai Village Bulati, for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Bulati – Empakai Crater

After breakfast start your trekking journey through the highlands of Ngorongoro as you make your way to Empakai Crater. From here you can enjoy unparalleled views of Ol Donyo Lengai as well as the Great Rift Valley. Explore Empakai Crater, one of the most beautiful places inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, upon arrival and descend to the crater floor.

Like the Ngorongoro Crater, Empakai is a caldera – the only difference is that a large amount of the crater floor is covered with water. Lake Empakai is a salt-lake and is one of the major food sources for flamingos who gather on the lake shores during the day and return to their breeding nests at Lake Natron at night. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Empakai Crater – Naiyobi – Acacia Campsite

After breakfast continue you trekking journey and follow a good trail through scenic Maasai Villages. In the distance you can already see Ol Donyo Lengai. Lunch will be taken near the Maasai village Naiyobi before your trek leaves the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the late afternoon you will arrive at your campsite, which is surrounded by an acacia forest.

Day 4: Acacia Campsite – Lake Natron

The final section of your trek is mainly downhill with spectacular views of the active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai. Ol Donyo Lengai meaning ‘Mountain of God’ has a religious significance to the Maasai. Once you have descended into the dry and hot Rift Valley, you will be picked up and transferred to Lake Natron Camp. Take the chance to jump into the natural pool to cool off.

Day 5: Lake Natron

Spend the day at Lake Natron Camp and take part in the various activities offered in this region. You can option to walk to the lake shore to get a closer view on the lesser flamingo; or enjoy a splendid walk to Ngare Sero Waterfall that is surrounded in a unique scenario of arid volcanic rocks and lush tropical palms. Your trekking journey ends with a sundowner before dinner and overnight.


Day 6: Lake Natron - Arusha

After breakfast you will depart with your driver-guide to your next destination or return by road to Arusha.

Frequently Asked Question on the Ngorongoro Highlands Trek

Is there an age limitation for the Ngorongoro Highlands Trek?

Although there is no set age limited in regards to walking within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we would not recommend this trekking for children below 10 years. Please note that children of any age have to be accompanied by one of their parents throughout the trek.

Where are the campsites and how will be the sanitary facilities on the Ngorongoro Highlands Trek?

The tents will be set up on basic campsites or in the nature near the Maasai villages. The campsites have no (or only very basic) basic ablution and shower facilities. We will provide you with a bowl of warm water for the daily wash.