A hike up the active Ol Donyo Lengai leads to a stunning view of the caldera below and the extensive Ngorongoro Highlands. Our trekking route leads us to Lake Natron which is the breeding ground for enourmous flocks of lesser flamingoes.
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After breakfast, we start early from Arusha or Nairobi with lunchboxes and drive to Lake Natron. The drive takes about 6 to 7 hours through the sparsely inhabited and semi- arid Monduli district. As we get closer, the ash cones of Oldonyo Lengai and Oldonyo Kermasi define the volcanic landscape on the Great Rift Valley floor. At around 4.00 to 5.00 pm we finally reach the Lake Natron Camp for an early dinner and a short rest. After packing our rucksack at 11.00pm, our driver will take us to the base of the Oldonyo Lengai for our overnight hike to the summit of the mountain of the gods.
After a strenuous 6hour hike, we finally reach the bubbling summit (2878m) of the active volcano at sunrise. At the crater rim looking down into the caldera, we see steam outlets and growing ash cones. Magnificent views on the Ngorongoro Highlands on one side and Lake Natron on the other are the rewards for our efforts. After a 4hour descend our driver takes us back to Lake Natron Camp for lunch and a rest. In the evening, we visit the shores of Lake Natron and marvel at thousands of flamingoes that come from different Rift Valley soda lakes to breed here. As the sun sets over the western escarpment, we drive back to the tented camp amidst zebras and giraffes.
Today we have an early breakfast at 4.00am, to avoid the heat of the day. Our driver takes us towards the base of the Ngorongoro escarpment. Here, a guide and a Maasai crew with donkeys for our luggage are waiting to take us up to the Ngorongoro Highlands. Today’s hike takes about 8hours as we ascend the scenic Pembe ya Swara (Horn of the Impala) ridge. In the late afternoon, we arrive at the Acacia campsite in midst of yellow fever trees. While the crew pitch the tents and prepare dinner, the neighboring Maasai morans will entertain us with their traditional dances for a small tip.
After breakfast, the luggage will be packed and loaded onto Maasai donkeys again for the climb to the rim of the Empakai crater. The 15km hike takes up to 8 hours with a lunch break at Nayobi, a Maasai settlement just at the edge of the Ngorongoro National Park. In the late evening, we finally reach our camp. Meanwhile our driver has also arrived at the camp and assists the crew in setting up the camp and preparing dinner.
Today's program is quite easy compared to the previous day. An hour's walk leads us to a lake at the crater floor of the pristine forested Empakai crater. Here, huge flocks of flamingo can occasionally be seen. An armed ranger or local Maasai guide guards us against stray buffaloes which could be dangerous. The uninhabited crater, 6km in diameter, is arguably the most scenic spot in the Ngorongoro Highlands. We will have an early lunch and walk around the lake shores. A 2hour hike gets us up to the rim where our driver is waiting to take us to the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Today we visit one of the natural Wonders of the World–the Ngorongoro Crater. After breakfast we descend 600m into the crater for our game drive. We take lunch boxes with us. On the 19km diameter floor of the caldera, we come across virtually all game that one can expect to see in East Africa. Ngorongoro is definitely nothing short of one of a “World Wonder”. After the crater tour we ascend again to the crater rim and drive to Karatu for dinner and overnight stay at the Ngorongoro Farmhouse.
After breakfast we complete our adventure by visiting Lake Manyara, the old Hunter’s paradise. This is home to the famous tree-climbing Lions. If we are lucky, we will spot some of them but it’s not guaranteed. On the Lakeshore, we find thousands of flamingoes and other water birds wading through the waters amongst the hippos. After a lunch break at the hot springs which feed the lake, we finally drive back to Arusha for drop of at Kilimanjaro airport or onwards travel arrangements.