Empakai Crater

Northern Circuit

Empakai Crater

Conservation Areas, Lakes and Rivers 36 km² & 3,250 m ↑ Northern Circuit, Arusha

The Empakaai crater (Empakai) is one of the multi-volcanic calderas in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, probably with the highest rim of all and a beautiful lake that makes up more than 75% of its crater floor. Among the main attractions inside the crater is the large number of Flamingoes spotted around this Crater’s Lake coastline. 

The crater rests on the Ngorongoro highlands and is surrounded by steep-sided wooded cliffs of about 300m high, characterized by lush-green natural vegetation, wildlife, and a variety of bird species. The crater is almost 8 kilometers wide, yet about half of its floor is covered by a deep soda lake, home to flamingoes and other water birds. 

While on the edge of the crater rim, you can explore the Oldoinyo Lengai Mountain, the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron with a spectacular panorama. You can also enjoy a nature walk from the rim of the crater or descend to the crater floor to explore various attractions. You can take a nature walk from the crater rim or descend to the crater floor to explore various available attractions.

The Empakaai elevation is approximately 3,200m above sea level on the western side and 2,590m above sea level on the eastern side. It is always shrouded in mist due to its high altitude, and the lake appears emerald or deep blue.

Empakaai crater is popular for walking safaris, wherein tourists hike for about one hour and walk back for about two and a half hours, depending on personal fitness. Visitors can explore the lake and the dense rainforest inside and around it near the floor.

As part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Empakaai crater shares a substantial percentage of wildlife, providing a higher possibility to spot some of the Big Five, particularly leopards, lions, elephants and buffaloes. It also hosts smaller wild animals such as Monkeys and various bird species. 

In an ideal coincidence, a long walking safari done in the NCA through Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron situated outside the area that can last for two to four days can be enhanced by including safaris to Empakaai Crater. This crater can be visited at any time of year, with a greater emphasis from June to December (drier seasons). A walk to Empakaai crater needs to be accompanied by an armed ranger. There is a special campsite on the crater rim for camping. However, booking in advance is highly recommended.

Covered Area: 8 km | Covered By Deep Soda Lake: 4 km | Elevation Western Side: 3,200 m | Above Sea Level Eastern Side: 2,590 m | Forested Cliffs Standing: 300m

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