About the challenge
We trek through the Crater Highland and Rift Valley landscapes of Tanzania, witnessing the traditional Masai way of life as the tribesmen tend their cattle in this spectacular region, most of which is a conservation area. The scenery is magnificent, with rolling green grasslands and acacia forests surrounded by jagged volcanic peaks. We trek high close to impressive volcanoes and look down into crater lakes, home to many birds. A safari in Tarangire National Park celebrates our achievement, where we can see wildlife such as lion, zebra, giraffe and elephant.
Day 1: Depart London
Day 2: Arrive Tanzania
Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to our accommodation in MtoWa-Mbu (approx 2 hours). Once checked in, we’ll spend the rest of the day relaxing and sorting our kit for tomorrow’s start before meeting up for dinner and an evening trip briefing. Night lodge.
Day 3: Mto-Wa-Mbu – Olmoti Crater – Empakaai Crater
We head off into the Reserve on bumpy tracks. We make a short stop to appreciate the views over the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, then drive on to Nainokanoka and the Olmoti Crater, where we start our walk. It takes about half an hour to climb up to the crater rim, where fabulous views await us – and give us a wonderful introduction to the region. At just over 3000m we’ll notice the slightly rarefied air on the crater rim it makes a perfect warm-up walk. We walk down into the crater, where Masai graze their cattle, and then walk back to Nainokanoka for lunch. Returning to our vehicles, we head northeast to Empakaai Crater; look out for gazelles, zebras and impala on the way. We ascend to the crater, where the views again are superb, and drop down to the crater lake to explore. The water in the crater is very alkaline and, with a depthof up to 85m, is unusually deep for a soda lake. We walk around the lake edge to see the flamingos, buffaloes and other wildlife that make this crater their home. We camp tonight at the crater. Night camp.
Drive 4-5 hours; trek approx 4 hours
Day 4: Empakaai Crater – Acacia Forest Camp, Naiyobi
After a hearty breakfast we set off on our first full day of trekking. Yesterday’s craterwalks will have warmed us up nicely and we should be feeling fit and ready to go! We walk through grassland on dusty tracks, admiring the vast open landscapes around us. We’re likely to see more wildlife and Masai farmers as we walk .Towards the end of the day we walk through a photogenic stretch of acacia forest, where we campnear the small Masai village of Naiyobi. Night camp. Trek approx 7 hours
Day 5: Naiyobi – Alalarai
We head off after breakfast, enjoying the scenes of village life as we walk past Naiyobi. The area is dotted with Masai bomas (pronounced ‘bombers’), and we’ll see herdsmen grazing their cattle. This is a very remote area, and it’s a real privilege to see the Masai way of life as we pass through their small communities. Our walk takes us west up the Rift Valley, where we trek along the ridge on tracks used only by Masai herders. We come to another village, or boma, and start climbing uphill to the top of the ridge, where we’ll camp. From the top we have magnificent views of Oldoinya Lengai, the only active sodium carbonate volcano in the world! ‘Oldoinya Lengai’ means ‘Mountain of God’ in the Masai language. It last erupted in 2007, and we see lava rock and other signs of its activity as we trek. Night camp.
Trek approx 6-8 hours
Day 6: Alalarai – Engaresero
We should get great sunrise views over Oldoinya Lengai from camp this morning, before continuing our trek through the grassy highlands. The terrain is hilly, and we continually walk up and down the rolling, grass-covered ridges – there are fantastic views. As well as cattle, the plains are grazed by zebra, wildebeest and gazelles. We follow upland tracks towards the Mosonik Hills, enjoying great sweeping views of the valley below us. Before lunch, we catch our first glimpse of Lake Natron in the distance. We descend steeply down off the Rift Escarpment to the valley floor and Lerai bomas, and then enjoy an afternoon of fairly flat terrain as we head towards Lake Natron. Night camp.
Trek approx 7-8 hours
Day 7: Lake Natron & Waterfalls
This morning we walk down to Lake Natron, one of the most alkaline lakes in the world. The lake is home to millions of tiny crustaceans, and one of the few breeding sites for flamingos. They are fascinating to see. We head back to camp, and spend the afternoon walking around Natron village and its nearby waterfalls. Night camp.
Trek approx 4-5hrs
Day 8: Engaresero – Engaruka – Mto-Wa-Mbu
We pack up camp and head out on the 2-3hr transfer to Engaruka, during which time there is a good chance of spotting some of Africa’s grazing animals. Engaruka Ruins are a very important Masai site and during the month of July many Masai people come here to celebrate their heritage. After a guided tour of the site, we’ll drive the final section of road to reach Mto-Wa-Mbu. Night camp. Drive approx 4-5 hrs (total)
Day 9: Tarangire National Park – Moshi
Another early start for optimum wildlife viewing! Tarangire is famous for its large elephant population, with herds numbering as high as 300 animals at times. The Park also boasts an impressive array of birdlife. After leaving the park we will transfer to Moshi and the comfort of our hotel, where we can relax and get ready for a big celebration to mark our achievements! Night hotel.
Day 10: Free time Moshi; Flight departs
Time today for a more leisurely start! You are free to explore Moshi, where there are some good markets, and relax with your fellow achievers. You can also opt to visit a Community Project we support on a long-term basis – a children’s home near Moshi. We meet again mid-afternoon in time to transfer to the airport for our international flight home. (Lunch not included)
Day 11: Arrive UK
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
For details of our amazing Ngorongoro Safari or Zanzibar extensions (adds 3 extra days) please contact us.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights, transfers, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat), all meals except two as specified in the itinerary, National Park entry fees and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary (eg Engaruka Ruins). Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, (capped at £225 by Discover Adventure), two meals as specified, tips for local crew, Tanzanian entry visa or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Ethiopian Airlines. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp for five nights during the trek and stay in a hotel/lodge for three nights. Hotel/lodge accommodation in Mto-Wa-Mbu / Moshi is comfortable and clean with private facilities. Please do not expect the same standards as you would in the UK!
All food is included when camping. The food is great, will give you plenty of energy, and there is plenty of it. Two meals as detailed in itinerary are not included. Any meals not included are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Tanzania would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers and cooks, and porters/mules where appropriate. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. Mules or porters are used throughout the trek to carry all luggage, food, water and camping equipment. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag – ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Terrain is varied; we trek on forest paths, wide turf trails, dirt paths and over some rockier terrain. Much of the walking is rough underfoot and can be muddy. There are some steep sections both up and down. This trek is challenging in itself, but the main challenge lies in the midday heat and rough terrain. There is also a small chance of feeling the effects of being at altitude (such as headaches, nausea, shortness of breath) at the higher points of the trek. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for and the type of terrain you are trekking over!
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote highlands where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Late March to June and November are Tanzania’s rainy seasons. For the rest of the year the weather is equatorial and very pleasant, with often a cool breeze on the mountains. Although warm by day, and hot on the valley floor, altitude has a great effect on temperatures and it will get cooler as you climb higher. It will also be cold at night especially at higher elevations.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after departure from Tanzania. Most nationalities, including UK citizens, require a visa for entry into Tanzania. This can currently be purchased on arrival at the airport for $50. We will send you more information about visas nearer to departure.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate is necessary if arriving from an infected country (being in transit at an airport for less than 12 hours doesn’t count). Although you are unlikely to encounter any mosquitoes while you are above 1000m, protection against malaria is recommended as there is a risk at lower elevations. You should always check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you! Our experienced tour leaders and local crew will help bridge the cultural gap; take advantage of their knowledge so you can come away with an understanding of a new culture as well as the achievement of completing a challenging trek.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
Community Project: Extension
In Tanzania we support a community project on a long-term basis – a children’s home near Moshi. At the end of your trip you will have the opportunity to visit it; many people list this as a highlight of their trip. You are welcome to take gifts such as unwanted children’s clothing, toys or books with you; some people simply donate left-over spending money. To give something back in a more practical way, you have the chance to extend your stay for an extra three days. You could be involved any of the myriad jobs that are needed to provide care for the children and keep the home running, or you may be helping to improve the facilities and buildings, or helping with the home’s community outreach programmes. You may also have an opportunity to visit different children’s homes and participate in projects with the children, e.g. schoolwork, play and similar social activities. Please see the side panel opposite and click on the link within it for all the details.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.