Empakaai Crater

empakaaiFrom Lodge/Camp you will drive north-west along the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, and through the village of Nainokanoka and the Embulbul Depression enjoying good views of Mt. Loolmalasin on the right; at 3648 metres, this is the third highest mountain in Tanzania. The drive is through open grassland dotted with Maasai villages. You will see a mixture of lots of cattle, and a few wild animals like zebra and other harmless animals.

After about an hour and a half you get to the eastern rim of the Empakaai Crater, which prouds itself of its 6 kms only diameter not knowing that it is smaller than Ngorongoro, although it is surely, a very beautiful place. This is a little-visited area and this is due to the fact that the only means of accessing the crater floor is on feet. Its walls are steep and thickly-forested. The walk down, which runs along a good path, takes about 30 minutes involving a drop of about 300 metres and goes through patches of forest. Look out for the two huge strangler fig trees as you approach the crater floor. Most of the floor is occupied by a soda lake, 85 metres deep. Depending on the season, there are numbers of flamingos, which congregate to feed along the edge of the lake. The lake is also a home to black-winged stilts, little grebes, and cape teal. You may not see many animals, but the tracks of leopard, hyena, baboon and buffalo betray their presence. The more energetic visitor will enjoy a walk along the edge of the lake around the entire floor of the crater. This takes 2-3 hours and is a chance to soak up the quiet beauty of this magical place. Then follows the hardest part – the climb back up to the rim! A picnic lunch can be eaten either in the crater or on the rim from where you can have a beautiful view northwards the Oldoinyo Lengai, a still-active volcano of great religious importance to the Maasai. This excursion can be done in half a day if you don’t walk around the lake. If you do, then it will take about 7 hours.