9 Days Volcanoes Trek and Camping Safari
A long trek across the volcanic Maasai lands north of Ngorongoro Crater through game-filled craters and up active volcanoes to the Rift Valley and one night on the Lengai on the border of Lake Natron, where thousands of Pink Flamingos breed. Nights are spent at wilderness camps, open to the elements and passing wildlife and equipment is carried by backup 4wd vehicles and/or pack-animals.
Arrival – in Arusha (please advise us about your arrival details). If you wish we can arrange for you to stay the first night in our Lodge - Karama Lodge in Bed and Breakfast. (Optional) – www.KaramaLodge.com
Aug 1 – Drive from Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park for a game drive, you will have a picnic lunch in the park, followed by an afternoon game drive. It is a great opportunity to see its marvelous concentration of animals, including 350 species of birds, not to mention the glistening soda lake itself where you’ll catch glimpses of grazing pink Flamingos. It is also the chance to admire the escarpment of the Rift Valley and better understand its impact on the Tanzanian landscape. Dinner and overnight stay at Jambo Campsite, just outside Lake Manyara National Park.
Aug 2 - After an early breakfast, you will drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and upon arrival you will descend into the Crater for a game drive. You will enjoy a picnic lunch and exit the crater to reach Nainakonaka. Take an afternoon hike to Olmoti, which takes you through the rain forested slopes of Olmoti Crater to the viewpoint on the rim. The trek winds down to the grassy plains of the crater floor and to Mungwe Falls; named after the distinctive white flourish of the Colobus Monkey tail. Dinner and overnight stay at Olmoti Special Campsite. Olmoti Crater is located north of Ngorongoro Crater at the altitude of 3,088 meters above sea level. Olmoti, meaning Cooking Pot in Maasai language, is a small pristine caldera where water springs combine to form Munge river. The Olmoti crater floor is home to grazing wild animals; eland, reed buck, buffalo, bush-buck along with Maasai livestock.
Aug 3 - The trek continues to the distant Empakai Crater. On this day the trek covers open grassland through a natural amphitheater created by encircling volcanoes. The Empakai crater area is about 6 km wide and rests at the altitude of 3200m above sea level. Its walls rises 300m above crater floor while a large part of the caldera floor is filled by a soda lake with depth of 85m; an unusual feature for an alkaline lake in East Africa. Views along the walking trail downward to the Empakai is the most spectacular at every point. Along the rim you can enjoy the crater green lush vegetation. Also in a distance you will see the dramatic cone of the Oldonyo Lengai and Lake Natron below the Rift Valley wall.
The steep walk up to Empakai offers breathtaking views, especially from the top where the sheer sided sunken crater can be seen. We camp on the crater rim, with Empakai on one side and Ol Doinyo Lengai, the holy Maasai volcano on the other side. Dinner and overnight stay at Empakai Special Campsite.
Aug 4 - From the overnight camp, we climb down the sheer-sided slopes of Empakai onto the crater floor for a hiking safari. Empakai Crater is a sunken volcano with a soda lake covering most of the Crater Floor. Flamingos nest here during the day to escape the blazing heat of the Rift Valley. A large forest on the western shore is home to Antelope, Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, and with large seasonal Zebra and Wildebeest populations when they pass through on their migratory journey. Dinner and overnight stay at Acacia Campsite.
Aug 5 - The Maasai Mountain of God, Ol Doinyo Lengai appears off the sunrise as we head out early to avoid too much heat. We arrive at the escarpment, the sheer wall that looms out of the Rift Valley’s floor, to admire one of the finest views in Africa. Sweeping vistas of the Rift Valley, 1500ft below, and the scattered active volcanoes, primitive rock formations, glimmering soda lakes and clustered Maasai Bomas. The final six kilometers are across the tough uncompromising terrain of the valley floor. Our shaded camp is perched above a refreshing stream, a half-hour walk from a breathtaking waterfall. Dinner and overnight stay at Kamakia Campsite.
Aug 6 - Very early morning you will start your climb of Ol Doinyo Lengai (2878m), an active volcano with strong spiritual significance to the Maasai. You will be camping on the top of the volcano, on the south crater for an unforgettable experience with your scientific consultant. You will get a chance to learn how to collect samples and make measurement of gas with Prof. Fischer.
Aug 7 - A half day on top of the Lengai with your guide and descent to the shore of Lake Natron – dinner and overnight stay at Kamakia Campsite.
Aug 8 - For this last day, you will have the time and the opportunity to enjoy Lake Natron’s shores and its thousands of flamingos and explore the area at the foot of the Lengai. Last Dinner and overnight at Kamakia Campsite.
Aug 9 - A long drive back to Arusha with picnic lunch to connect to your international flight or stay overnight at Karama Lodge in Bed and Breakfast (Optional).