Empakaai Crater Hike in Ngorongoro Conservation Area Tanzania

Empakaai crater may not be as popular as Ngorongoro but hiking down is a beautifully wonderful experience. Unimaginably, there are a series of safaris that bring you to Tanzania but you end up being shadowed away from visiting hereby already visited popular sites like Ngorongoro.

Magnificent views of the crater

Upon reading this, don’t make another mistake of visiting Tanzania and failing to reach this jewel that is less or untapped. Empakaai crater in the “Swahili paradise” of Tanzania land is secrets into remote forests and stunning tapestry of the great land of Hakuna Matata. Beauty defends itself! This being part of the Ngorongoro conservation area is where the giants roam thus calling for precautions while moving in the forests accessing the crater.

Empakaai crater is one of the four volcanic calderas that are located in the Ngorongoro conservation area of northern Tanzania. Others include:  Ngorongoro, Kerimasi and Olmoti.

Its rim is the highest of all in the area and is the only one with a lake making up more than half of its crater floor.
All these four calderas are described as volcanic highlands because are found in higher altitudes than their surroundings and are inside the east African rift.

How deep and wide is Empakaai crater?

The lowest part of Empakai is the lake and rises to about 2000 meters above sea level. Its highest rim stands at 3220metres above sea level.  The most cherished/ main attraction inside the crater is the large number of Flamingos that can be found on its shores.

Lake-filled Empakaai Crater was found 23km northeast of Olmoti Crater, Ngorongoro crater all at the Ngorongoro conservation area. Empakaai crater is not as famous as Ngorongoro, but for the travelers that have been here with Jewel Safaris, they believe that they match in beauty. You can visit both the Ngorongoro crater and Empakaai crater or visit one alone.

Empakaai crater

Empakaai crater

For all your travel plans and inquiries, contact Jewel safaris for that ultimate touch you need for your safari. The lake which draws flamingos and other water birds fill most of the crater floor. It is surrounded by steep-sided, forested cliffs at least 300m high. The view from the crater rim is one of the most appealing in northern Tanzania. Hiking down into the crater is a wonderful experience worth taking part in.

So considerably, take caution and this calls for the kind of shoes you are going to wear while en-route for a walking safari at Empakai crater.

The road from Ol Doinyo Lengai touches the Empakaai crater’s part of the eastern crater rim. This varies in altitude from 2700m to 3200m, steep, well-kept trail descends from the road through montane forest rich in birdlife.

The sweet thing about trekking here is that you will come across animals to keep your eyes open for an encounter with animals like hyenas, buffaloes, blue monkeys, and even elephants.

Trekking experience at the crater

En route to the crater floor, watch for views of the turquoise lake down below and the perfect volcanic cone of Ol Doinyo Lengai away to the northeast. Count on around 30 minutes down to the lakeshore, and an hour for the climb back up. It’s possible to circumnavigate the lake on foot, which will take at least four hours.

The crater is popular for walking safaris, where tourists get to hike deep for a day and explore the lake and rain forest inside it. The only caveat is that you must be out by the end of the day – as the only campsites are special campsites on its rim.

As it is part of the Ngorongoro conservation area, the crater holds a number of wild animals, requiring an armed ranger to accompany everyone who visits it. These wild animals are also freely available for viewing once you exchange ways.

Trips to the crater can also be part of an even longer walking safari which may last up to 5 days and end as far as Lake Natron.

The vegetation inside the crater is mostly that of a rain forest, that changes from dense vegetation to smaller bushes as you near the crater floor and Lake Empakaai itself.

Lake Empakaai has a sandy shoreline around it that is normally only accessible during the drier seasons when the lake’s water recedes. Here there is little to no vegetation.

Travel to Empakaai

A 4×4 ride is greatly recommended while on a road drive to Empakaai crater for all the distance that needs to be moved by van. It takes about 90-minutes of drive from the Lemala ascent-descent road.

Inside the conservation area or Loduare gate, all the way up to a point on top of the eastern rim. There are no tarmac roads in the area, thus you would have to traverse through bumpy dirt roads which are maintained every once in a while.

From here onwards, the journey continues on foot, through a hiking trail that takes you down the crater’s steep slopes, culminating at the lake’s shores.

The whole hike takes about one to two hours depending on your fitness, but an armed NCAA ranger is required for any walking safaris inside the conservation area. The hike back up is more difficult as the crater walls are very steep.

Book your next safari to Tanzania with the Jewel safaris team of fun lovers. Contact us today! We wait and look forward to traveling the whole of east Africa with you.

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