experiences

The Great Rift Valley Trek & Walking in the Footsteps of Man Combined

Empakai – Leonotis – Natron – Sanjan – Piyaya – Nasera Rock – Olduvai 

Why this adventure?

For active types Tanzania has a lot to offer and this is one of the most dramatic hikes in East Africa. As well as the amazing scenery there is also the chance to witness the changing lives of the Maasai in both Ngorongoro and Natron.

This is a trek back through millennia of evolution from the relatively recent hominid footprints right by our Lake Natron Camp, all the way to Olduvai, commonly known as “one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world”, and home to evidence of our earliest ancestors. Each camp location and design is being targeted at guests that are looking for an off the beaten track experience, entirely respectful of the environment, and yet just enough comfort to ensure a superlative well balanced adventure.

Olduvai gorge is known as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ and this trekking expedition courses routes either to or from this area incorporating the history of mankind, geology and landscapes spanning 250 million years. You can time this expedition with the migration in the short grass plains, or append a migration experience post / pre trek. Key features include hiking the Gregorian Rift valley, Sanjan Gorge, Gol, Olduvai Gorge and note we also have variations including Ol Karien Gorge.

How to book

All our adventures can be booked through a tour operator near you. Just ask them about Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and our range of activities and adventures and specify the “Empakai to Natron Trek & Walking in the footsteps of man combined”.  You can add this adventure into your dates – all trips are customised to your dates.

PLEASE NOTE: when there are heavy rains on the Sale Plains or Gol guests must be made aware that changes may have to be made to the routing.

Highlights

Ngorongoro volcanoes – Empakai crater
The Great Migration (December – March)
The Gregorian Rift Valley
Stunning vistas
Learning about local tribes and customs and walking with Maasai Warriors
Being a witness to a changing times and culture
The unique habitat of Lake Natron
Flamingoes feeding & preening in fresh water streams
Salei plains
Sanjan Gorge

Itinerary In Short

Day 1: Drive to Empakai. Empakai trek. Empakai Camp (fb)

Day 2: Trek to Leonotis Camp (fb) Trek 16km

Day 3: Trek to Lake Natron Camp with a pick up at the bottom of the rift valley. Lake Natron Camp (fb) Trek 12km, Drive 14km

Day 4: Relax and take part in activities at Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 5: Trek & drive to Sanjan. Sanjan Camp (fb). Trek 6km. Drive 22km

Day 6: Trek & drive to Piyaya. Piyaya Camp (fb). Trek 10km. Drive 4km

Day 7: Pick up from Nasera rock. Drive 4km to pickup point then transfer to Serengeti or Ngorongoro or Ndutu

Day 1 – Empakai Crater

On arrival at Empakai crater there is the option to descend into the crater. This is around 40 minutes down and depending on season can be quite slippery but certainly a great hike with stunning views. Flamingoes are often seen flying into the crater or feeding in the lake at the base. A hot shower and sundowners is available before dinner. Overnight Empakai Camp (full board).

Day 2 – Rift Valley Scarp

Dawn rises and our lofty position affords a great sunrise. As we take breakfast our camp crew break camp and depart to send the camp ahead with donkeys. We then set off hiking with Maasai guides following a route that takes us through picturesque Maasai villages and rolling hills. Lunch can be taken on route as a picnic or if guests are very fit a late lunch can be had in camp. In the late afternoon a hike up to  a nearby viewpoint is highly recommended and a great place for sundowners! Dinner & overnight Leonotis Camp (full board).

Day 3 – Lake Natron

The final section of hiking has two options of a shorter hike or a longer more strenuous option right along the rift wall. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. Once down on the rift valley floor we are picked up and transfer to Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and here have the chance to jump in the natural pools to cool down. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 4 – Lake Natron

Lake Natron has a number of activities that are very easily combined with dawn walks and sundowners and in the middle of the day there is the nearby Ngare Sero gorge that you can walk to options of long hikes to the source or shorter hikes to waterfalls. The staff are on hand to make you stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 5 – Sanjan Gorge

After breakfast you depart to the bottom of the rift valley and start your trek to Sanjan. The hike this morning is up the rift valley, following the migration routes of the Maasai and their cattle as they move to find pasture. Once on top of the rift valley you trek to meet our vehicle and transfer across the vast Salei plains to Sangan Gorge (note that the wildebeest migration is often here from December – May). Picnic lunches are provided to ensure you reach your goal well fed.  You will be met by your camp crew when you reach your destination and you can trek deep into Sanjan Gorge or just relax by the camp fire with a glass on wine! Dinner & overnight Sanjan Camp (full board). Trek 6km. Drive 22km.

Day 6 – Piyaya

The camp is set at the base of the Gol mountains and faces east, which affords a stunning sunrise! Bush coffee is served right from the fire and after a filling breakfast you set of with your Maasai guides along the sides of the Sanjan gorge. It is very rocky underfoot in places so good shoes are a must and at certain points, be sure to look back for stunning views. Once through the gorge you meander your way and then transfer to camp to relax. For those that arrive early there are options to visit local attractions. Dinner and overnight Piyaya Camp (full board). Trek 10km. Drive 4km.

Day 7 – Nasera Rock

When you get to Nasera Rock you will be met by your driver who will then take you on to your the next part of your itinerary via Olduvai Gorge! Drive 4km to pickup point and transfer onto Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Ndutu etc.

END OF SERVICES

INCLUDES

  • Support vehicle (pickup / open game drive vehicle)
  • WFA Trained guide
  • Meals
  • NCAA Empakai private campsite fees
  • Ranger fees
  • Limited stock of red wine / beers / sodas
  • Tea / coffee / hot chocolate
  • 4 nights Expedition ‘Fly-camping’
  • 2 nights Lake Natron Camp
  • Activity fees Ngare Sero
  • Village fees Ngare Sero, Sanjan, Piyaya
  • Wildlife Department bednight fees
  • Donkeys to carry guest luggage to Natron (limited to 1 donkey per 2 guests)

Excludes

  • Ngorongoro game drives
  • NCAA entry fees
  • Any changes to the itinerary requiring change of route or accommodation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal evacuation insurance / travel insurance
  • Lengai climb fees (payable direct to village at $100 for 1 climber, $140 for 2 climbers)
  • Ngorongoro district fees ($15 +VAT payable at Ngare Sero gate)
  • Wildlife department entry fees ($10 per person per day + VAT)

WHAT TO WEAR

  • Sun hat
  • sunglasses
  • head torch
  • buff or lightweight neck gaiter (for keeping out dust)
  • rain shell
  • light fleece
  • long sleeve t shirt x 4
  • hiking trousers (zip off style are recommended so you have shorts too)
  • waterproof trousers
  • socks x 6 pairs
  • hiking shoes preferably with some decent ankle support
  • teva or flip flops for in camp
  • walking poles
  • gaiters for those that have low cut hiking shoes
  • water bottles x 3 enough to hold 3 Liters

 

| $request| time: 7 days |

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Empakai to natron

The Great Rift Valley Trek – 3 night / 4 days

Empakai to Lake Natron Trek – 3 night / 4 days

PLEASE NOTE: this is the SHORTER VERSION of the 4 night / 5 day Empakai to Natron trek and MISSES OUT descending into Empakai crater and camping at Empakai. For those that want more trekking you should select the longer version.

Why this adventure?
For active types Tanzania has a lot to offer and this is one of the most dramatic hikes in East Africa. As well as the amazing scenery there is also the chance to witness the changing lives of the Maasai in both Ngorongoro and Natron.

How to book

All our adventures can be booked through a tour operator near you. Just ask them about Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and our range of activities and adventures and specify the “Empakai to Lake Natron Trek – 3 nights / 4 days”.  You can add this adventure into your dates – all trips are customised to your dates.

Description
A 1 night trek combined with 2 nights in Lake Natron. The trek starts at Empakai or just below and normally descending into Empakai crater is NOT POSSIBLE due to time constraints, instead you hike down to our Leonotis camp below Naiobi. For those that have the energy a trek to our Rift Valley sundowner spot is highly recommended, the views are amazing!

After one night in our remote fly camp you then trek down the rift valley with stunning views throughout and once at the base are transferred for 2 nights at Lake Natron Camp (Ngare Sero) and use this as a base for activities such as seeing the flamingoes on Lake Natron, visiting the hominid footprints, delving deep into the Ngare Sero gorge or even just relaxing in camp and enjoying the natural plunge pools. For the very active you can also climb Oldonyo Lengai (extra cost).

Highlights
The Gregorian Rift Valley
Stunning vistas
Walking with Maasai Warriors
Learning about local tribes and customs
Being a witness to a changing times and culture
The unique habitat of Lake Natron
Flamingoes feeding & preening in fresh water streams

Itinerary In Short

Day 1: Drive to Empakai. Trek into crater and trek to Leonotis Camp (fb) Trek 16km

Day 2:  Trek to Lake Natron Camp with a pick up at the bottom of the rift valley. Lake Natron Camp (fb) Trek 12km, Drive 14km

Day 3: Relax and take part in activities at Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 4: Depart

Itinerary In Full

Day 1 – Rift Valley Scarp

Most guests are met at Empakai crater and begin the program trekking down from Empakai towards the rift valley. The walking is through remote Maasai villages perched on the edge of the rift valley. Lunch can be taken on route as a picnic or if guests are very fit a late lunch can be had in camp. In the late afternoon a hike up to  a nearby viewpoint is highly recommended and a great place for sundowners! Dinner & overnight Leonotis Camp (full board).

Day 2 –  Lake Natron

The final section of hiking has two options of a shorter hike or a longer more strenuous option right along the rift wall. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. Once down on the rift valley floor we are picked up and transfer to Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and here have the chance to jump in the natural pools to cool down. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 3 – Lake Natron

Lake Natron has a number of activities that are very easily combined with dawn walks and sundowners and in the middle of the day there is the nearby Ngare Sero gorge that you can walk to options of long hikes to the source or shorter hikes to waterfalls. The staff are on hand to make you stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 4 – Lake Natron

After breakfast you can do some additional activities before departure and picnic lunches are provided to ensure you reach your goal well fed.

END OF SERVICES

GAME PACKAGE

INCLUDES

  • Support vehicle
  • WFR Trained guide
  • NCAA entry fees
  • NCAA Empakai private campsite fees
  • Ranger fees
  • Meals as described
  • Limited stock of red wine / beers / sodas
  • Tea / coffee / hot chocolate
  • Donkeys to carry guest luggage to Natron
  • 2 nights Expedition ‘Fly-camping’
  • 2 nights Lake Natron Camp
  • Activity fees Ngare Sero
  • Village fees Ngare Sero
  • Wildlife Department fees
  • Gate fees Longido
  • Gate fees Engaruka
  • Gate fees Ngorongoro District

Excludes

  • Ngorongoro game drive fees ($200 per car if needed)
  • Any changes to the itinerary requiring change of route or accommodation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal evacuation insurance / travel insurance
  • Lengai climb fees (payable direct to village at $100 for 1 climber, $140 for 2 climbers)

WHAT TO WEAR

  • Sun hat
  • sunglasses
  • head torch
  • buff or lightweight neck gaiter (for keeping out dust)
  • rain shell
  • light fleece
  • long sleeve t shirt x 2
  • hiking trousers (zip off style are recommended so you have shorts too)
  • waterproof trousers
  • socks x 3 pairs
  • hiking shoes preferably with some decent ankle support
  • teva or flip flops for in camp
  • walking poles
  • gaiters for those that have low cut hiking shoes
  • water bottles x 3 enough to hold 3 Liters

 

Lengai

Lengai – The North Route

ROUTE BY SPECIAL REQUEST ONLY.

Overview

A hike to then top of Oldoinyo Lengai, the only active Carbonatite volcano in the world. This route was last climbed in 1995 and reopened by Ake Lindstrom in 2015. It is significantly easier than the West route and arguably far less dangerous as it is upwind from the prevailing wind and has more soft ash rather than the very eroded and rocky west route. Please note that it is still very strenuous – 4 to 6 hours up and 3 to 4 hours down.

For film crews or most groups this is a far better rout selection and note our team has put switch backs to make it easier.

Fees

Normal Lengai climb fees apply, payable at the Ngare Sero CBO ($100 for 1 person, $140 for a group of two at time of going to press). For those staying at Lake Natron Camp you can book in advance to climb with guides that know this this route.

***Stay 3 nights at Lake Natron Camp and YOU get to climb Lengai for FREE! Please note if you would like to pre book Lengai and are staying less that 3 nights you can do so with our office at the published rates + 18% VAT which is payable to the Government. Please see link for more information http://www.oldoinyo-lengai.org

Climb equipment

As per the west route, sun hat, beanie, sunglasses, sunscreen waterproof jacket (light), light fleece, long sleeved wicking t-shirt, gloves, hiking trousers, wind proof trousers, socks, trekking boots with heel support, walking poles, head torch, water bottles 4 litres. Snacks!

The Great Rift Valley Trek – 5 days

Empakai to Lake Natron Trek – 4 night / 5 days

Why this adventure?
For active types Tanzania has a lot to offer and this is one of the most dramatic hikes in East Africa. As well as the amazing scenery there is also the chance to witness the changing lives of the Maasai in both Ngorongoro and Natron.

How to book

All our adventures can be booked through a tour operator near you. Just ask them about Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and our range of activities and adventures and specify the “Empakai to Lake Natron Trek”.  You can add this adventure into your dates – all trips are customised to your dates.

Description
A 2 night trek combined with 2 nights in Lake Natron. The trek starts with a night at Empakai Crater in the Ngorongoro highlands (and depending on arrival time can include a descent into Empakai) from which our guides lead you down the outer slopes of Empakai with the second night on the edge of the Gregorian rift. You then trek down the rift valley with stunning views throughout and once at the base are transferred for 2 nights at Lake Natron Camp (Ngare Sero) and use this as a base for activities such as seeing the flamingoes on Lake Natron, visiting the hominid footprints, delving deep into the Ngare Sero gorge or even just relaxing in camp and enjoying the natural plunge pools. For the very active you can also climb Oldonyo Lengai (extra cost).

Highlights
Ngorongoro volcanoes – Empakai crater
Stunning vistas
Walking with Maasai Warriors
Learning about local tribes and customs
Being a witness to a changing times and culture
The unique habitat of Lake Natron
Flamingoes feeding & preening in fresh water streams

Itinerary In Short

Day 1: Drive to Empakai. Empakai trek. Empakai Camp (fb)

Day 2: Trek to Leonotis Camp (fb) Trek 16km

Day 3: Trek to Lake Natron Camp with a pick up at the bottom of the rift valley. Lake Natron Camp (fb) Trek 12km, Drive 14km

Day 4: Relax and take part in activities at Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 5: Depart

VIDEO

Itinerary In Full

Day 1 – Empakai Crater

On arrival at Empakai crater there is the option to descend into the crater. This is around 40 minutes down and depending on season can be quite slippery but certainly a great hike with stunning views. Flamingoes are often seen flying into the crater or feeding in the lake at the base. A hot shower is available before dinner. Overnight Empakai Camp (full board).

Day 2 – Rift Valley Scarp

Dawn rises and our lofty position affords a great sunrise. As we take breakfast our camp crew break camp and depart to send the camp ahead with donkeys. We then set off hiking with Maasai guides following a route that takes us through picturesque Maasai villages and rolling hills. Lunch can be taken on route as a picnic or if guests are very fit a late lunch can be had in camp. In the late afternoon a hike up to  a nearby viewpoint is highly recommended and a great place for sundowners! Dinner & overnight Leonotis Camp (full board).

Day 3 – Lake Natron

The final section of hiking has two options of a shorter hike or a longer more strenuous option right along the rift wall. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. Once down on the rift valley floor we are picked up and transfer to Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and here have the chance to jump in the natural pools to cool down. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 4 – Lake Natron

Lake Natron has a number of activities that are very easily combined with dawn walks and sundowners and in the middle of the day there is the nearby Ngare Sero gorge that you can walk to options of long hikes to the source or shorter hikes to waterfalls. The staff are on hand to make you stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 5 – Depart

After breakfast you can do some additional activities before departure and picnic lunches are provided to ensure you reach your goal well fed.

END OF SERVICES

GAME PACKAGE

INCLUDES

  • Support vehicle
  • WFR Trained guide
  • NCAA entry fees
  • NCAA Empakai private campsite fees
  • Ranger fees
  • Meals as described
  • Limited stock of red wine / beers / sodas
  • Tea / coffee / hot chocolate
  • Donkeys to carry guest luggage to Natron
  • 2 nights Expedition ‘Fly-camping’
  • 2 nights Lake Natron Camp
  • Activity fees Ngare Sero
  • Village fees Ngare Sero
  • Wildlife Department fees
  • Gate fees Longido
  • Gate fees Engaruka
  • Gate fees Ngorongoro District

Excludes

  • Ngorongoro game drive fees ($200 per car if needed)
  • Any changes to the itinerary requiring change of route or accommodation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal evacuation insurance / travel insurance
  • Lengai climb fees (payable direct to village at $100 for 1 climber, $140 for 2 climbers)

WHAT TO WEAR

  • Sun hat
  • sunglasses
  • head torch
  • buff or lightweight neck gaiter (for keeping out dust)
  • rain shell
  • light fleece
  • long sleeve t shirt x 2
  • hiking trousers (zip off style are recommended so you have shorts too)
  • waterproof trousers
  • socks x 3 pairs
  • hiking shoes preferably with some decent ankle support
  • teva or flip flops for in camp
  • walking poles
  • gaiters for those that have low cut hiking shoes
  • water bottles x 3 enough to hold 3 Liters

 

Rift Valley Day Hike

A great alternative to climbing Lengai, this adventurous hike leaves at dawn from camp and you transfer to the base of the rift valley wall. You then scale the wall on foot, ascending close to the Ngare Sero gorge to enjoy the dawn. A picnic breakfast is taken with you and once on top this is the perfect place to enjoy being in one of the most dramatic view points in this region. After breakfast descend back down another route, or select the same way depending on time.

| price: included | time: 6 hours |

Ngare Sero Water Falls Hike

Let us arrange a walk up Ngare Sero gorge to see the spectacular waterfalls. The scenery is a unique blend of arid volcanic rocks and lush tropical palms. Wear shoes that can get wet, preferably trainers or secure sandals, as it is rocky underfoot! Take 2 litres of water and snacks. Its great spot for lunch so please ask your guide for a packed lunch!

| $included | time: 2- 3 hours |

Biking Across The Serengeti

The greater Serengeti eco system is a wonderful opportunity to experience true wilderness where both man and wildlife live side by side. This area includes a fantastic variety of habitat and is the face of change in Tanzania where different tribes, lifestyles and choices are presented to the rider on a daily basis. Ancient landscapes, young landscapes, rifts, weather granites and deep gorge all presented with great guides all combine to create the adventure of a lifetime. Do this trip in conjunction with longer trips into Tanzania’s national parks or as a stand alone adventure. You can fly into Lobo airstrip to start this trip or be picked up from Klein’s gate post northern circuit safari through Loliondo, Sale and on to Lake Natron Camp.

| $request | time: 4 days |

Bird Watching Walk

The Lake Flats surrounding the waters edge contain small streams, lakes and hills that provide a variety of hospitable environments for birds that thrive in the alkali oasis. Take evening or morning walks to the lake, pond and marsh for bird-watching. This tends to be a longer walk than the Flamingo walk, incorporating ponds further afield. You can combine this with a walk to the hominid footprints as well.

Also, for some simply stunning photography check out Nick Brandt’s images and the article on the same at Huffington Post.

| $included| time: at your leisure |