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Ngorongoro Highlands, Lake Natron and Lengai

- 12-days trekking and wildlife safari to the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Rift Valley, Tanzania -

Trekking towards Ol Doinyo Lengai mountainLandscape at Olmoti crater
Tour itinerary: Arusha - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro - Olmoti - Empakai - Lake Natron - Lengai volcano - Arusha
Tour itinerary: Arusha - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro - Olmoti - Empakai - Lake Natron - Lengai volcano - Arusha
Tour code: TAN_NNL
Tour type: Trekking safari: nature & culture - wildlife - photography
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 10 days (suggested)


Custom and group dates
no scheduled dates at present

Price (p.p.): from 2590 EUR


  • All accommodation (prices based on shared room/tent) in hotel (2 nights in Arusha), guesthouse (1 night at Lake Manyara) and in camps (8 nights)
  • All transfers according to program: 4x4 in good condition, equipped with animal guide books, driver guide, max 5 clients per vehicle, roof-hatch access and window seats for each guest (i.e. max two clients per seat row)
  • No km limitation for excursions in the visited areas
  • Supply vehicle (to carry the camp) from 3+ pax
  • Two game safaris in Ngorongoro
  • Full board, all meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on last day
  • 3 liters of bottled drinking water per person per day
  • Cook(s) and camp hand(s) to prepare all your meals, set up & break camps
  • Full camping equipment incl. spacious dome tents, thick matresses and liners, dining tent, table, chairs, washing water basin, towels
  • Frame beds in tents
  • Private services of a professional English-speaking safari guide(s) and a Maassai walking guide
  • Donkeys and donkey handlers
  • An armed Ngorongoro Park Ranger for the walks in Olmoti and Empakai Crater
  • All park fees and camp fees (Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Lake Natron + transit fees) and eco-tourism fee
Let us show you some of the most dramatic landscapes and geologic features on earth: the Great East African Rift Valley, Ngorongoro Crater, the startling contrast between the green highlands with their abundant wildlife and the barren landscapes down in the Rift Valley with its salt lakes and the active volcano of Ol Doinyo Lengai full of surprises. Some exciting game drives, relaxed trekking and camping through breathtaking landscapes round out the trip.
  • Ngorongoro crater
  • Dramatic landscapes of the Great Rift Valley
  • Olmoti, Empakai and active Lengai volcanoes
  • Spectacular, but comfortable trekking
  • Experience the exotic Maassai culture

12-days: Ngorongoro Highlands - Lake Natron - Lengai - Lake Manyara

This itinerary is a recommended example to truly enjoy what this remarkeable part of Tanzania has to offer. On request, modifications are possible, such as upgrade of accommodation (where available) to lodges.
Day 1: Arrival / transfer to Arusha
Pick-up from airport or bus terminal and transfer to the hotel. Meeting of the group, presentation of the program and group dinner. Overnight at a uniquely designed and owner-managed lodge just a few minutes from Arusha town, situated in private grounds within a quiet residential area known as Sekei, with views of Mt. Meru (the 5th highest mountain in Africa, at 4,655 m). Pool and comfortable lounge with an excellent bar and dinner menu, complemented by staff who are friendly and attentive.
Acc.: : hotel (upper mid-range) in Arusha (D)
Day 2: Arusha - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro Highlands
After an early start, 6-hoursdrive to and through parts of the Rift Valley, passing spectactular scenery and Maassai villages. Encounters possible monkeys, giraffes, elephants and flamingos at Manyara viewpoint. In the late afternoon we arrive at our private campsite on the rim of the grand Ngorongoro crater.
Acc.: : campsite (or lodge) near the rim of Ngorongoro crater. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Morning game drive in Ngorongoro - hike to Olmoti volcano
In the morning, we include a second game drive in Ngorongoro crater. In the afternoon, we circle the crater and drive into the vast and rarely visited central part of the Highlands to Olmoti volcano (about 1 hour drive). Option for an easy hike to the crater rim and down to waterfalls.
Acc.: : campsite at Olmoti volcano (B, L, D)
Day 4: Hike from Olmoti to Empakai
Whole-day hike to Empakai Crater, through the impressive Embulbul depression. Camp on the crater rim of Empakai.
Acc.: : special campsite at Empakai (B, L, D)
Day 5: Full day at Empakai crater
We have a full day to explore Empakai Crater. Following a narrow trail we descend on foot into the thickly forested Empakai Crater. As we descend through the vines and over roots, we get glimpses of the emerald green soda lake which covers about a quarter of the crater floor. The lake is a haven for flamingoes. We have a picnic lunch by the lakeside, and then hike around the lakeshore and back to camp (4-6 hours total).
Hot showers will be available, and then dinner, as we listen to the flamingoes pass overhead on their nightly journey toward Lake Natron. Oldonyo Lengai glows in the afternoon sun, poking its steep sloped top above the depths of the plains which surround its base well below the Rift Valley Escarpment, our next destination.
For the walk to Empakai Crater floor, carry your own picnic lunch box in your daypacks, to enjoy at the lakeside. This evening each person will need to prepare a  “light” bag for the donkey trek portion of the next etappe.
Acc.: : as before (Empakai) (B, L, D)
Day 6: Hike from Empakai crater to the Rift Valley rim
Using donkeys for camp porterage, we walk from Empakai Crater downward towards the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Camp at an excellent viewpoint onto the Rift Valley and the splendid cone of Lengai volcano: for the Maassai, the Mountain of God.
Acc.: : Acacia special campsite at Rift Valley escarpment (B, L, D)
Day 7: Hike into the Rift Valley, base of Ol Doinyo Lengai mountain
Hike into the Rift Valley: steep cliffs on one side, Lake Natron in front and the impressive stratovolcano of Lengai on the other side. Down in the valley, we relax at a comfortable campsite near the lake.
Acc.: : well-equipped, confortable campsite near Lake Natron or private tented lodges (B, L, D)
Day 8-9: 2 full days at Lake Natron: waterfalls, the salt lake, Lengai volcano, Maassai etc
Two full days to explore the Lake Natron area: the salt flats at the lakeshore with the flamingoes, underdo hikes into a nearby gorge to some spectacular waterfalls, observe / climb Lengai volcano, visit a traditional Maassai village etc.
Acc.: : as before (Lake Natron) (B, L, D)
Day 10: Lake Manyara game drive
Drive to Mtowa Mbu. Game viewing in Lake Manyara National Park with picnic lunches.
Acc.: : guesthouse or lodge at Lake Manyara Natl. Park (B, L, D)
Day 11: Return to Arusha - night in Arusha
Transfer to Arusha (ca. 2 hrs), end of service
Acc.: : hotel (upper mid-range) in Arusha (B, L, D)
Day 12: Departure or extension program
Transfer to airport or extension tour.
Acc.: : none (B)

Arrival info:

The tour starts and ends in Arusha, a friendly, mid-sized town that is the main starting point for excursions in the area. See also the "Getting There" section further below.


Accommodation is based on double room or tent occupancy shared by the same sex (unless this is no problem or requested).
In some locations, you may opt for upgrades to stay in upscale lodges,- although we honestly believe that camping is the best way to enjoy nature and fits with the character of this hiking tour.
Accommodation in Arusha: You stay in a comfortable hotel with clean, spacious rooms, a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant and modern facilities.
Lake Manyara: simple guesthouse or camping (upgrade on request)
Ngorongoro: Public campsite on the crater rim (upgrade on request)
Olmoti: Simple campsite at the base of the cone of Olmoti (no upgrade possible)
Empakai: Special (private) campsite inside NCA, no facilities (no upgrade possible)
Elerai Forest, Acacia Camp: Special (private) campsite as per agreement with Nayobi village, no facilities (no upgrade possible)
Lake Natron: comfortable, well equipped campsite with unlimited supply of fresh water from the Rift Valley escarpmet, a bar and grand views on Lengai volcano (upgrade to tented lodges at campsite possible)


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