On this Empakaai day hike, you will be treated to spectacular views of the Empakaai Crater as well as a peek of Tanzania’s most active volcano, Oldoinyo Lengai, from the minute you arrive at Empakaai. Then, with the help of an expert guide and an NCA ranger, you’ll begin the 30-45 minute descend into the crater through dense, hilly forest. There’s great birding surrounding the lake on the crater floor, and there’s an opportunity to see flamingos as well as large game like buffalo, hyena, and elephant.

It is necessary to have a fair degree of fitness and to wear solid shoes.

There are some hidden jewels buried in the highlands of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area (NCA) that most tourists to Tanzania would entirely ignore. The similarly spectacular Empakaai Crater is 40 kilometers north of the famed Ngorongoro Crater. This is ideal for some off-the-beaten-path exploration of some genuinely spectacular natural wonders, such as the Empakaai Crater. A short stroll down to the lake is the best way to see the wildlife, which includes baboons, buffalo, elephants, and flamingos. When I went, we were the only people in the crater, so you really feel like an adventurer as you immerse yourself in the crater’s natural environs.

Hike Distance: The hike is a total of 5 kilometers out and back (return trip)

Hike Time: The hike may be done in approximately two hours, depending on how long you want to take in the views from the crater rim’s lakeside.

Hike Difficulty: This path is easy to follow because it is just 5 kilometers long. The route, however, is extremely steep down the crater rim, with 300 meters of elevation gain on the way up. Another factor to consider is that you may spend much of this journey in the sun, so it isn’t for everyone. However, it isn’t a major endeavor, and most people who can walk for 1-2 hours will be OK.

Hike length: The incline on this hike is 295 meters.

Where is the Empakaai Crater?

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is a five-hour journey from Arusha, and the Empakaai Crater is located there. The majority of visitors to the Empakaai Crater do so as part of a package that also includes a safari in the Ngorongoro Crater and treks in the adjacent Olmoti Crater and/or Ol Doinyo Lengai craters (Mountain of God). I visited Empakaai Crater as part of a four-day trip with Altezza Travel that included many treks in the area. The crater’s position is shown on the map below, however, it’s essential to note that you can’t enter the crater without a ranger (I’ll explain why in the section below).

Guides, Rangers, and Permits for Empakaai Crater

You must plan ahead of time to visit Empakaai Crater, and it is not a walk that can be completed on your own. To visit the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, you must first pay the park fees and acquire a permit. As previously stated, the majority of individuals use their permits to visit many attractions in the region. To make the most of your stay in the region, consider going on a safari in the Ngorongoro Crater, trekking Olmoti, and seeing Maasai communities.

The morning begins with a lovely trip to the Olmoti Crater to see the dawn. Then it’s a one-hour rough journey from Olmoti Crater to Empakaai Crater. Countless herds of Maasai cattle and young boys following behind, herding their animals to new fields, may be seen along the road.

As you approach closer to the rim of Empakaai Crater, you can see the lake and enjoy wonderful views down into the crater. Elephants and buffalo, for example, make the trek down into the crater, despite the fact that it is a salt lake. Before continuing on your trek, your guide will make a quick halt at the top of the crater rim so you may jump out and take in the view.

You will begin your trek down to the lake after taking in the sights from the crater rim where the car is parked. Although the trek to the crater is just 2.5 kilometers long, it is extremely steep. You’ll pass through dense forest vegetation on your route, often walking beneath ancient trees and thick vines. As you pass beneath the canopy on your way down to the lake, keep a lookout for buffalo, baboons, and other wildlife.

It definitely feels like you’ve arrived in a pre-historic country after you’ve arrived at the lake. The adventure mood continues as you stroll around the edge of the lake, all alone in a big crater.

You’ll see flamingos, a large troop of baboons, and some antelope as you go around the lake. Your journey within the crater will come to a conclusion at a white rock that serves as a marker. You’ll take a brief stop here for a snack and to relax while taking in the calm environment of the Empakaai Crater.

The climb back up to the crater rim is difficult, but only for a brief time. The uphill section of the return to the crater rim is little over one kilometer long, but it gains 295 meters in height, so you’ll surely break a sweat in the noon sun.

I hope you enjoy this day trek in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area to the Empakaai Crater.

The cost for the whole day Empakaai Crater trekking trip includes and excludes the following items

1 Day Empakaai Crater Trek Price includes


Camping fees & equipment.

Village fees

Guide fees

Professional English speaking guide

3 breakfasts; 4 lunches; 3 dinners

1.5l water per day; tea and coffee with meals

Price Excludes

Bottled & Soft Drinks

International flights

Travel insurance

Sleeping bag

Visa and passport fees

Items and services of a personal nature

Tips & Gratuities


Empakaai Crater hike
Empakaai Crater hike