The Great Rift Valley Trek - 5 Day Reverse

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 Great Rift Valley Trek” OR “Empakai to Lake Natron Trek”.  You can add this adventure into your dates – all trips are customised to your dates.


A 2 night trek combined with 2 nights in Lake Natron.

The trek starts with 2 nights at Lake Natron Camp where you can relax or take part in activities such as seeing the flamingoes on Lake Natron, visiting the hominid footprints, delving deep into the Ngare Sero gorge or even just relaxing in camp and enjoying the natural plunge pools. For the very active you can also climb Oldonyo Lengai (extra cost). After 2 nights at Lake Natron Camp you then head to the bottom of the Rift Valley, by car, to start your trek up to Leonotis Camp, on the edge of the Gregorian Rift. Stunning, beautiful views throughout. After a magical night at Leonotis Camp, camping underneath the stars and golden acacia trees, you trek up to the cosy Empakai Camp, in the Ngorongoro highlands, (and depending on arrival time can include a descent into Empakai).

You can easily combine this with a game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater, after the trek.


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

Itinerary In Short

Day 1: Drive to Lake Natron Camp. Overnight Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 2: Relax and take part in activities at Lake Natron Camp (fb)

Day 3: Drop off at the bottom of the rift valley. Trek to Leonotis Camp. Overnight Leonotis Camp (fb) Trek 12km, Drive 14km

Day 4: Trek to Empakai Camp. Empakai Crater Trek. Overnight Empakai Camp (fb) Trek 16km

Day 5: Depart

Itinerary In Full

Day 1 – Lake Natron Camp

Arrive at lake Natron Camp. Depending on arrival time you can either relax or take part in activities. 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. There are options of long hikes to the source or shorter hikes to waterfalls. The staff are on hand to make your stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 2 – Lake Natron Camp

Relax or take part in activities. A sunrise flamingo walk is recommended before a lovingly prepared breakfast is made. After breakfast you may relax by the pool, have a massage or go to the waterfalls. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp. Dinner & overnight Lake Natron Camp (full board).

Day 3 - Leonotis Camp, Rift Valley Scarp

Drive to the bottom of the Rift Valley and start your hike up. Donkeys will go ahead with your luggage to camp. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything, from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. 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! A hot shower is available before dinner. Overnight Leonotis Camp (full board).

Day 4 – Empakai Camp

Trek to Empakai Camp. Dawn rises and our lofty position affords a great sunrise. As we take breakfast our camp crew break camp and depart. We then set off hiking with Maasai guides following a route that takes us through picturesque Maasai villages and rolling hills. Depending on arrival, at Empakai, there is the option to descend into the crater. This is around 40 minutes down and, depending on season, can be quite slippery but certainly a great hike with stunning views. Flamingoes are often seen flying into the crater or feeding in the lake at the base. A hot shower is available before dinner. Overnight Empakai Camp (full board).

Day 5 – Depart

After breakfast you can trek into Empakai Crater before departure and picnic lunches are provided to ensure you reach your goal well fed.




  • 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