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Trekking Safaris in Tanzania

In this post we will cover some of the more common and accessible trekking safaris in Tanzania.  By no means is this exhaustive and there are great resources []  for other trekking options in Tanzania if you would like to explore more.


Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the ultimate trekking adventure in not just Tanzania, but all of Africa! Topping out at 5,895 m (19,341 ft) it is Africa’s tallest mountain and the tallest free standing mountain anywhere in the world. Kilimanjaro is located in northern Tanzania near the border with Kenya and is considered one of the most accessible mountains, with over 35,000 climbers yearly. You don’t need particular skill to climb Kilimanjaro but some degree of physical fitness is required. Most trekking routes require not much more than a walking stick to “pole-pole” (translated from Swahili as “slowly-slowly” climb your way to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. There are a variety of routes up the mountain, with 6 main routes that vary in number of days-nights to summit and difficulty level. The Macheme and Lemosho routes are best for novice trekkers. Regardless of physical fitness and ability, approximately 40-50% fail to summit, mostly due to altitude sickness – your best bet is to take the longest route to give your body time to acclimatize to the mountain. When to plan a trek up Kilimanjaro: The clearest and warmest conditions for ascent are from December to February.  July to September also favors good conditions for climbing, though the weather will be colder (but dry).

Mount Meru

Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second highest mountain, reaching 4,566 m (14,980 ft).  It is located to the 70 km to the west of Kilimanjaro near the safari base-town of Arusha within Arusha National Park. As such there is abundant wildlife to see in the lower regions of the mountain. Some recommend using Mount Meru as a way to acclimatize to altitude prior to climbing Kilimanjaro. However, a climb up Mount Meru can be just as challenging, if not more so on the final day of the climb. There is only one route up the mountain, the Momella route, which takes around 4 days to summit. Meru is a much less crowded mountain than big brother Kilimanjaro, which has its perks.  When to plan a trek up Meru: Similar to Kilimanjaro, although the months of December to February afford the clearest views of nearby Kilimanjaro.

Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano

Ol Doinyo Lengai, or “Mountain of God”, is an active volcano located near Lake Natron.  With a summit at 3,188m (10,459ft), you start your hike around midnight, not only to avoid the heat of the day, but also to allow a summit at daybreak with a magnificent sunrise view.  The hike up takes around 7-8 hours and the descent can be just as hard.  Views of Lake Natron and the Rift Valley from the summit are breathtaking.


Udzungwa Mountains

The Udzungwa mountains are part of a national park by the same name in Southern Tanzania.  This is a unique national park that is exclusively for hiking, as there are no roads within the park and can only be explored on foot.  There are a wide variety of hiking trails with hikes ranging from 1 hour, a popular 4 hour waterfall hike and a multi-way hikes.  Within the park there are several primate species including the Sanje Mangabey and the Iringa Red Colobus, which are only found here.


Olmoti Crater

Olmoti Crater is a great hike for beginners or families. Located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it is a short one hour trip from the Ngorongoro Crater and it is also near Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind. This is a hike is led by a local Maasai guide and requires hiring an armed ranger because of the possibility of wildlife in the area. The hike starts at the base and ascends up to the crater rim, taking around 60-90 minutes – it is a steady climb to the top at 2987m (9,800ft). You may see zebra, wildebeest and other wildlife and the Munge waterfall, located nearby. Your Massai guide can teach you about animal tracks and medicinal uses of various plants along the way.

Empakai Crater Descent

Also in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Empakai Crater which is a great place for beginners or families.  Here you can stand atop the 9,000ft high crater rim, where on a clear day you can see down to Empakai Lake within the crater.  You can hike around 30 minutes down into the crater – it is a steep descent to the salt lake below which is rich in bird-life.  The climb back up can be challenging in the heat of the day and takes around twice as long.

If you are interested in a longer distance trekking safaris in Tanzania [], we can develop a multi-day trekking safari plan that beings at Empakai Crater and involves a several day trek from there to Lake Natron, with camping overnight along the way.  We can add a day of trekking to any safari in the Ngorongoro region [].  Just ask and we can figure it out for you!

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