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5 Day Ngorongoro Highlands Trekking Tour

This 5-day trekking tour takes you through the diverse landscapes of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands. You will hike through grassy plains and the mountainous countryside as well as thick mountain forest and the savannah landscape of the Rift Valley. Apart from unique landscapes and seeing wild animals, this trek allows insight into the daily routine of the Masai people.

Ngorongoro Highlands


Day 1-5 | Tanzania

Day 1

Start: Nainokanoka
Finish: Nainokanoka
Altitude: ↑ ↓ 300 m
Distance: 2 km
Walking time: 1-2h

Day 2

Start: Nainokanoka
Finish: Bulati
Altitude: ↑ 500 m
Distance: 16 km
Walking time: 4-5h

Day 3

Start: Bulati
Finish: Empakai Crater
Altitude: ↑ 500 m
Distance: 9 km
Walking time: 3-4h

Day 4

Start: Empakai Crater
Finish: Acacia Camp
Altitude: ↑ 200 m
Distance: 13 km
Walking time: 4-5h

Day 5

Start: Acacia Camp
Finish: Lake Natron
Altitude: ↓ 1200 m
Distance: 6 km
Walking time: 2-3h


Private trekking: Ngorongoro Highlands
Tourcode: E05TMTNGOH
From: Arusha
To: Arusha
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private hike
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: from (>6 pax)
Single Supplement:
trekking camping

Day 1 Arusha – Olmoti Crater – Nainokanoka

In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and you will travel on a good tar road to the village of Mto wa Mbu with the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley towering up ahead. From a viewpoint above the town you will see the Masai plains stretch to the horizon with the alkaline Lake Manyara down below. A short drive further and you will reach the gate of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The journey continues along the scenic crater road, to the Masai village of Nainokanoka. While the camp is being set up, you will hike to the rim of the Olmoti Crater during the afternoon. There is also a possibility to visit a small waterfall along the way. Dinner will be served at the camp. Depending on the time of year, it might be cold (the camp is at an altitude of 2,650 m).
Lunch; Dinner

Day 2 Nainokanoka – Bulati

The journey begins and you will pass many traditional Masai bomas and cattle herds. Soon, you might also see wild animals such as Thompson and Grant’s gazelles, zebras and wildebeests with hungry jackals not far behind and majestic eagles observing the situation. After approximately 16 km you will reach a campsite not far from the Masai village Bulati.
Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 3 Bulati – Empakai

After breakfast, the journey goes up a hill from where you have a last panoramic view of the grass plains below. The trek continues up and down through the bushy landscape which finally opens up to the active volcano, Oldonyo Lengai. The trek gives you great views of the majestic volcano as well as into the impressive Empakai Crater before reaching the campsite for the night. You can explore the crater and on a well-maintained path you descend to Lake Empakai inside the crater. This alkaline soda lake is an important food source for flamingos, which can be seen throughout the year. Returning to camp supper will be waiting for you. During the night you might hear the flamingos call as they fly back to their breeding nests at Lake Manyara and Lake Natron.
Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 4 Empakai Crater – Acacia Camp

Latest today the entire equipment will be transported by donkeys. During breakfast the Masais will start loading their donkeys. As soon as everything is packed you will start your hike for today to the Masai village Naiyobi. Following a good path, the village as well as Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano, can be seen from a distance. After lunch in Naiyobi, the trek leaves the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the landscape becomes drier and warmer. Tonight’s camp will be set up at amongst an acacia forest.
Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Day 5 Acacia Camp – Engare Sero – Arusha

The last stage of the journey is not too long and it goes mainly downhill. The highlights of the trek are the great views of Oldonyo Lengai, Lake Natron and the Rift Valley. The rugged countryside looks almost surreal covered by grey ash of the last eruption in 2007. The trek descends down into the dry and hot Rift Valley, where the ash can be seen up close. Around lunchtime you will reach the waiting vehicle and your driver will take you back to Arusha.

Items included:

  • Ngorongoro Highlands trekking according to the itinerary
  • Professional, English-speaking guide
  • Professional, English-speaking safari cook
  • Masai guide and donkeys
  • Overnight stays in safari tents and mountain tents
  • Camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, chairs, tables etc.)
  • Meals according to the itinerary
  • Drinking water
  • All national park fees
  • All mentioned transfers
  • Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF) during the trekking

Items excluded:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Travel insurance

  • This is a private tour and hence there won’t be any other guests joining the trekking. It will just be you, your guide and cook, the Masai herders and donkeys and on several occasions a park ranger.
  • There is no set age limit, however, we wouldn’t recommend this trekking for children under the age of 10 years.
  • The camp is set up on special campsites or in nature close to Masai villages. You will sleep in tents, which have sheltered space for two chairs and a table. If you are more than two people we will provide a separate mess tent for dining. In fine weather, you will enjoy your meals under the African sky.
  • Unfortunately the campsites have no or only very basic ablution and shower facilities. Water sources are very scarce in the Ngorongoro Highlands and water often has to be transported to the campsites. For your daily wash we provide you with a bowl of warm water.
  • You do not have to be extremely fit to take part in this trekking tour. Furthermore the safari vehicle that transports the equipment for the first few days is always close by and tired hikers can catch a ride in the vehicle if necessary.
  • Where and whenever possible we use our vehicle to transport the equipment. As a result thereof, the camp is already set up and snacks are prepared when you reach your daily destination.
  • If and when it’s not possible to reach the campsite by car, the equipment will be carried by Masai herders and their donkeys.
  • The warmest time with the least rainfall is between December and February, followed by the main rainy season from March until the beginning of June. Between June and October, temperatures are moderate with almost no rainfall. November is regarded as the small rainy season and daily short rainfalls with cloudy views are common.
  • Except for the rainy season, this trek can be done the whole year round. Please keep in mind that you will be 2000 metres above sea level and the nights can get quite cold, even dropping to freezing point during the coldest months of July and August.
  • You will hike across grassy plains, the mountainous countryside, evergreen mountain forests and finally the semi-desert savannah.
  • The tour is run on a full-board basis and meals are included as indicated in the itinerary. Mineral water is also provided, whereas all other beverages (soft drinks & alcohol) are excluded and on your own account.
  • Breakfast includes eggs, sausages or bacon, toast and jam
  • Lunch-boxes are provided for lunch and are enjoyed en-route at a picnic spot. These can include sandwiches, boiled eggs and fruits or grilled chicken thighs.
  • Dinner is freshly cooked and meals consist of meat or fish and some sort of starch (pasta, rice, mashed potatoes etc.) and vegetables.
  • Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements or food allergies and we will do our outmost to cater for them (only possible with advanced notification).
  • We will provide you with a detailed packing list at the time of the booking (please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or wish to hire a sleeping bag).
  • Luggage is restricted to one large bag / rucksack weighing no more than 12 kg. You are also allowed a day pack with daily essentials such as your lunch, water, sunscreen etc. which you will however carry yourself. Additional luggage can usually be stored in the safari vehicle.
  • Yes, we suggest that you bring some spending money for drinks, snacks, souvenirs and tips.
  • Please only bring USD bills that have been printed after 2004 as earlier dated bills will not be accepted.
  • Tips are not included in the price and we recommend 12-18 USD per group per day for the Masai guide, 8-12 USD per group per day for the cook and 6-8 USD per group per day for each donkey herdsmen. Tips for the rangers are at your own discretion.
  • Most nationalities can apply for a visa upon arrival in Tanzania but all travellers need to contact their respective embassies to check the latest visa regulations. Furthermore, it is the sole responsibility of each traveller to be in possession of the required documents.
  • We do recommend that you get a yellow fever vaccination as Tanzania finds itself in a yellow fever region.
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Hepatitis A & B vaccinations are not required, but nevertheless recommend by us.
  • Malaria is also present and we hence suggest some precautions for this as well. Please contact a travel clinic or your health care practitioner for further information on prophylaxis and the effects and side effects that come with it.
Ngorongoro Highlands trekking map