The Great Rift Valley Trek - 4 Days

PLEASE NOTE: this is the SHORTER VERSION of the 5 day trek and MISSES OUT descending into the crater and staying at Empakai cAmp. For those that want more trekking you should select the longer version which we highly recommend.

Why This Adventure?

For active types Tanzania has a lot to offer and this is one of the most dramatic hikes in East Africa. As well as the amazing scenery there is also the chance to witness the changing lives of the Maasai in both Ngorongoro and Natron.

How to book

All our adventures can be booked through a tour operator near you. Just ask them about Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and our range of activities and adventures and specify the “Empakai to Lake Natron Trek – 3 nights / 4 days”. You can add this adventure into your dates – all trips are customised to your dates.


Ngorongoro volcanoes – Empakai crater - Stunning vistas - Walking with Maasai Warriors - Learning about local tribes and customs - Being a witness to a changing times and culture - The unique habitat of Lake Natron - Flamingoes feeding & preening in fresh water streams.


A 1 night trek combined with 2 nights at Lake Natron Camp.

The trek starts at Empakai or just below. Normally descending into Empakai crater is not possible due to time constraints, instead you hike down to our Leonotis Camp, below Naiobi village. For those that have the energy, a trek to our Rift Valley sundowner spot, is highly recommended…the views are amazing! After a magical night at Leonotis Camp, camping underneath the stars and golden acacia trees, you trek down the Rift Valley, with breathtaking views throughout. You are collected at the base of the rift, by car, and transferred to Lake Natron Camp, where you can relax by the natural pool, have a massage and take part in activities such as waterfall gorge hikes, flamingo walks and seeing hominid footprints…and not to forget well deserved sundowners!

Itinerary in Short

Day 1: Drive to Empakai. Trek into crater and trek to Leonotis Camp (fb) Trek 16km

Day 2: Trek to Lake Natron Camp with a pick up at the bottom of the rift valley. Lake Natron Camp (fb) Trek 12km, Drive 14km

Day 3: Relax and take part in activities at Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 4: Depart

Itinerary In Full

Day 1 – Leonotis Camp, Rift Valley Scarp

Most guests are met at Empakai crater and begin the program trekking down from Empakai towards the rift valley. The walking is through remote Maasai villages perched on the edge of the rift valley. Lunch can be taken on route as a picnic or if guests are very fit a late lunch can be had in camp. In the late afternoon a hike up to  a nearby viewpoint is highly recommended and a great place for sundowners! IF GUESTS WOULD LIKE TO TREK INTO THE CRATER BEFORE HEADING TO LEONOTIS CAMP THEY ARE ADVISED TO ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 10:30AM. The driver must wait for the guests and then transfer to Nairobi village to start the walk to Leonotis Camp. Otherwise, if trekking the crater is not wanted, they can meet the guide at Naiobi Village no later than 2pm to start the trek to Leonotis Camp. Dinner & overnight Leonotis Camp (full board).

Day 2 –  Lake Natron

The final section of hiking has two options of a shorter hike or a longer more strenuous option right along the rift wall. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. Once down on the rift valley floor we are picked up and transfer to Lake Natron Camp, Ngare Sero and here have the chance to jump in the natural pools to cool down. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 3 – Lake Natron

Lake Natron has a number of activities that are very easily combined with dawn walks and sundowners and in the middle of the day there is the nearby Ngare Sero gorge that you can walk to options of long hikes to the source or shorter hikes to waterfalls. The staff are on hand to make you stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 4 – Lake Natron

After breakfast you can do some additional activities before departure and picnic lunches are provided to ensure you reach your goal well fed.


For agents that use Wetu, you can also view this trek on the multi-day tour builder here.



  • Support vehicle

  • WFR Trained guide

  • NCAA Empakai private campsite fees

  • Ranger fees Empakai

  • Meals as described

  • Limited stock of red wine / beers / sodas

  • Tea / coffee / hot chocolate

  • Donkeys to carry guest luggage to Natron

  • 2 nights Expedition ‘Fly-camping’

  • 2 nights Lake Natron Camp

  • Activity fees Ngare Sero

  • Village fees Ngare Sero

  • Wildlife Department fees BEDNIGHT Natron

  • Transfer to Lake Natron Ngare Sero Airstrip


  • Ngorongoro game drive fees ($200 per car if needed)

  • NCAA entry fees

  • Transfer Arusha OR Lake Manyara Airstrip to Empakai

  • Transfer Natron to Mto Wa Mbu OR Arusha

  • Any changes to the itinerary requiring change of route or accommodation

  • Items of a personal nature

  • Personal evacuation insurance / travel insurance

  • Lengai climb fees (payable direct to village at $100 for 1 climber, $70 per person for 2 or more climbers)

  • Wildlife Department Fees ENTRY Natron

  • Gate fees Longido

  • Gate fees Engaruka

  • Gate fees Ngorongoro District