Empakai Crater is a collapsed volcanic caldera that stands at 300 metres in height and more than 6 kilometres in width. At its heart lies Empakai Lake, a deep alkaline lake that stretches to depths of around 85 metres and covers three quarters of the crater’s floor. From Empakai Crater’s towering rim, it is possible to see landmarks such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Rift Valley, and Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. In addition to hiking and the opportunity to see animals such as blue monkeys, buffalo, bush bucks, water bucks, and a huge variety of bird life, Empakai Crater also offers a unique camping experience far removed from the tourist crowds that you may find during peak season at Ngorongoro or on the Serengeti.
An Empakai Crater trekking tour is a fantastic add-on to a safari to Ngorongoro, but can be added to any itinerary with minimal fuss. Empakai Crater lies roughly 3-4 hours drive from the majority of Ngorongoro accommodations, so treks are a full day activity. Once you’ve arrived, the walk from the crater rim to the crater floor is relatively short – little more than half an hour. Completing a circuit of Empakai Lake takes approximately four hours, although you can spend as little as an hour on the crater floor if you’re pressed for time. Climbing back up to the crater rim takes 45 minutes to one hour, with a return drive possible if you’d rather not camp in the area. Trekking tours of Empakai Crater can also be combined with trekking to Ol Doinyo Lengai or Olmoti Crater upon request.