Empakaai Crater

the highlands game drive lion ngorongoro tanzania safari

The second-largest crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Empakaai is almost 8km in diameter and its floor is dominated by a saline crater lake and enclosed by sheer 300m high walls that rise to an elevation of 3,200m on the eastern rim. On of East Africa’s most underrated and seldom-visited scenic gems, the crater lies about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Ngorongoro Crater via the Embulbul Depression, a grassy bowl that which dips to below 2,350m at the base of the 3,260m Mount Losirua and 3,648m Lolmalasin (the highest point in the Crater Highlands). The view from the forested crater rim is fabulous, whether you look inward to the emerald green crater lake, its shallows frequently tinged pink by thousands of flamingos, or east across the Rift Valley to the ashen slopes and smoking fumaroles of volcanic Ol Doinyo Lengai, a scene that also takes in Lake Natron and snow-capped Kilimanjaro on a clear day.

Empakaai offers a welcome opportunity to break the safari regime of twice-daily game drives with a stiff steep guided hike to the crater floor. The steep but scenic descent along a tolerably well-maintained footpath takes 45-60 minutes, longer if you’re looking out for the plentiful birds that inhabit the forested crater walls, and there’s also a chance of spotting bushbuck, buffalo, blue monkey and even elephant. Good walking shoes and a reasonable level of fitness are recommended.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 1

Arusha | Tarangire National Park
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 2

Lake Manyara National Park
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 3

Central Serengeti
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 4

Central Serengeti
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 5

Karatu | Ngorongoro Crater Rim
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 6

Karatu | Ngorongoro Crater
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)
  • Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

day 7

End of Journey

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Ngorongoro in April

April is the wettest month in most parts of Tanzania, and Ngorongoro is no exception, with the crater rim receiving an average monthly rainfall of 220mm. This has no direct effect on wildlife viewing - on the contrary, wildlife populations within the crater are very high in April - but it does mean that a significant proportion of game drives are likely to be partly rained. Taking other…

Lake Ndutu and the Serengeti plains

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is essentially an eastern extension of the vast Serengeti-Mara ecosystem - indeed, it formed part of the original Serengeti National Park as it was gazetted in 1951 but was split off shortly afterwards to appease Maasai protests against being evicted from their traditional grazing lands. Today, the southeast of the conservation area, around Oldupai Gorge,…

Ngorongoro in May

The long rains that peak in April usually continue into early to mid-May, but overall it tends to be a lot dryer that the two months that preceded it. Wildlife viewing is usually excellent, and the scenery is lovely and green, though the wildebeest that amass in the west of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area usually start to head northwest and deeper into the Serengeti at some point…

Ngorongoro Crater

People visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is to see the eponymous crater. Ngorongoro is the world’s largest intact and unflooded caldera, the relict of a massive volcano formed by the same tectonic activity associated with the creation of the Great Rift Valley. In its prime, Ngorongoro would have towered as high as Kilimanjaro does today, but it collapsed in on itself around one-…

Empakaai Crater

The second-largest crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Empakaai is almost 8km in diameter and its floor is dominated by a saline crater lake and enclosed by sheer 300m high walls that rise to an elevation of 3,200m on the eastern rim. On of East Africa’s most underrated and seldom-visited scenic gems, the crater lies about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Ngorongoro Crater via…

Family safari in the Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro and the other reserves that comprise Tanzania’s northern safari circuit are well suited to family and small group safaris. Cost-wise, since almost all safaris are undertaken in 4x4s with pop-up tops, the optimum group size is four or five individuals, though larger groups can always be split between two or more vehicles. It is generally a good idea for groups to be…

Popular Ngorongoro Crater Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

Travel is so much better with friends. Experience the best parts of Tanzania through breath-taking landscapes, nature and wildlife at its best...

 | HerdTracker August to October 2019 Wildebeest Migration safari (Value-for-money)

HerdTracker August to October 2019 Wildebeest Migration safari (Value-for-money)

This is the stage on which the greatest wildlife show on earth and plays out, as it is by far the greatest mass movement of land mammals on the entire globe....

 | Tanzania couples safari

Tanzania couples safari

Enjoy the wildlife of Tanzania as well as the paradise of Zanzibar...

Stopping for drinks | Affordable Green Season Safari in Tanzania (8 days)

Affordable Green Season Safari in Tanzania (8 days)

From Lake Manyara to the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti, this Tanzania safari offers real value and shows off the burgeoning green world of Tanzania's rainy season migration ...

 | 8-day June/July Great Migration safari in Tanzania (Value-for-money)

8-day June/July 2019 Great Migration safari in Tanzania (Value-for-money)

If the great migration is on your travel bucket list, then this memorable safari in Tanzania is ideal for you....

 | Wildebeest Migration, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar Journey (12 days)

Wildebeest Migration, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar Journey (12 days)

This blockbuster Tanzania safari will show you the best of the country's outstanding wildlife and the beach paradise of Zanzibar...

 | Tanzania Great Migration June/July 2019 safari (Luxury)

Tanzania Great Migration June/July 2019 safari (Luxury)

HerdTracker invites you to join them on a migration safari in Tanzania's Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park....

 | Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

We're offering our guests the chance to explore two world-famous destinations in under a week ...

 | April Great Migration Safari in the Serengeti (9 days)

Great Migration Safari in the Serengeti (9 days)

Join HerdTracker on a Tanzania migration safari in the Serengeti National Park....

 | Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days)

Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days)

Enjoy a romantic honeymoon at the Ngorongoro Crater where you can spot the Big Five and experience the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park...

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2