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Ngorongoro Highlands Trek

4 days from £2195pp plus international flights.

This trek takes you into the remote Ngorongoro Highlands where you'll see stunning scenery, including one of the country's youngest and most active volcanoes, flamingo-filled crater lakes and Maasai tending their livestock and going about their daily lives.

Each day will show you different aspects of this little-visited part of Tanzania. You'll pass through the Great Rift Valley en-route to the highlands to begin the trek at Empakai Crater. You'll be walking through forest, providing welcome shade, to the emerald green lake. The next day you'll enjoy fabulous views from the crater rim before descending into meadow-land where you'll witness scenes of the Maasai pastoral lifestyle. On the third day the scenery becomes more arid as you follow a traditional trade route to the foot on Oldonyo Lengai, from where you'll be driven to the shores of Lake Natron, spending two nights here.

This is off the beaten track, so you won't find any lodges on the route, which is part of its charm. Instead you'll be staying in private campsites, where you'll have a dome tent with a mattress, sleeping bag and fleece liner. The campsites are basic but comfortable and include a shower tent with hot water on request and a separate toilet tent. In all three camps you'll be attended by an experienced team who'll take care of all the chores, though you're welcome to help if you want! Your day will start with a nourishing breakfast and end with a scrummy dinner eaten by lamplight out in the African bush.

This trek can be taken on its own, but might be best as part of a longer itinerary, combining well with a traditional safari or with time on the coast, giving an extra, and special, dimension to your holiday.

Trekking in Empakai Crater


You'll leave Arusha around 8 am for the 5 hour drive to Empakai Crater in the Ngorongoro Highlands, stopping for a picnic lunch on the way. This afternoon you'll begin the trek, following your guide down through lush forest to the crater floor about 1500 feet below. You'll pause along the way to take in views of the lake and flocks of brightly-coloured flamingos. The trek will take about 4 to 5 hours, so you'll arrive back at the campsite in time for a hot shower before dinner, cooked over the fire and eaten beneath the starry sky. You'll sleep well tonight, cosy in your dome tent. Lunch, dinner.

Watch Oldonyo Lengai


You'll have a lovely al fresco breakfast before setting out to Elerai. You'll carry your pack with the items you'll need during the day, as donkeys will carry the rest of the luggage and supplies. Your path follows the crater rim and leads down a ridge where you'll get panoramic views of the highlands to the north and of Oldonyo Lengai volcano, whose name translates as 'Mountain of God'. You're in Maasai country and will see villages and local people during your trek. You should arrive at your campsite in mid-afternoon in time for drinks and snacks, with tents arranged in the shade of acacia trees. You'll get great views of Lengai as you relax. Full board.
Relax in the shady canyon


You'll have an early breakfast so you can begin today's trek in good time, heading down to the base of Lengai on old trading route used over the centuries by the Maasai. There'll be a stop in a shady spot in the canyon for lunch and there should be time to visit a waterfall to cool off. At the foot of the escarpment a vehicle will be waiting to take you to the private campsite at the south end of Lake Natron. You can take it easy in camp this afternoon, you can enjoy a shower and look forward to dinner. For those brave and fit enough you can opt to climb Oldony'o Lengai (extra cost), beginning the climb at midnight - this is not an easy climb, taking 4-6 hours to summit and 2.5-4 hours to descend. Full board.

Lake Natron Flamingos


This morning (unless you're on your way back from summiting Lengai) you'll enjoy a 3-4 hour hike up into the gorge to the Engare Sero river source where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. The highlight is the amphitheatre where water pours from the rock face to form a clear river. Later this afternoon, take a stroll on the Natron flats and observe the lesser flamingos feeding on spirulina, the blue-green algae which thrives here. This is the only breeding site for the lesser flamingo in East Africa, making it a very special place. Enjoy a final dinner under the stars with a glass of sparkling wine to celebrate the end of a unique experience. Full board.

Lake Natron


Enjoy a final bush breakfast before the drive back to Arusha. You'll travel via Engaruka and Mto wa Mbu villages, along the base of the Rift Valley Escarpment. The journey back to Arusha will take around 5 hours, giving you another opportunity to take in the scenery. Breakfast, lunch.

Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £2195 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 

2020 guide price pp sharing:

01 - 31 Jan, 01 Mar - 31 May, 01 Nov - 31 Dec 2020 from £2195

01 - 28 Feb, 01 Jun - 31 Oct 2020 from £2355


Twin share accommodation in dome tents with mattresses, sleeping bags, fleece liners and towels; toilet tent and shower tent at all 3 camps; dining tent at all campsites; meals as specified from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5. Private safari driver guide(s), private trekking guide(s) (1 guide per 4 clients), private safari transport in 4WD safari vehicle(s), all park fees, conservation fees, activity fees, entry fees, transit fees, campsite fees, vehicle fees, and all taxes. 2 litres of bottled drinking water per person per day (bring your own bottle for refilling).


International flights and taxes; visas; vaccinations; travel insurance; tips; Lengai climb; accommodation in Arusha.

Getting there: 

This holiday starts and ends in Arusha. Return flights from the UK will cost from around £700 per person, depending on season and availability. We'll be happy to book flights for you.

Departure dates: This is a tailor made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice.

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from UK to Tanzania take about 9 hours direct or 10-11 with a brief stopover en route if from Europe.

Language: Kiswahili and English are Tanzania's official languages. Although most people in the cities speak some English, a few phrases of Kiswahili are useful in more rural areas.

Visas: Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health: Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.



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