The Ngorongoro highlands are situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation area. The main attraction and point is the Ngorongoro Crater itself, but equally as amazing are the highlands that roll on around the Ngorongoro Crater. The highlands is a vast, undulant volcanic landscape, dotted with crater and lakes, oozing minerals and soil fertility. Without the conservation area protecting this, we would not have the traditional Masaai villages and life that still remain here today. The highlands are an integral part of any Tanzania safari holiday.
The main safari route from Arusha and Manyara passes through this area on the way north to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
The area is of particular note for a number of beautiful farmhouse lodges set in a stunning rural landscapes of coffee plantations and shamba farms.
Olduvai, a misspelling of the Masai word Oldupai, is one of the areas main attractions with Olduvai Gorge being the site of numerous prominent archaeological finds. Made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey, the site has thrown up discoveries which date back nearly 2 million years, giving Olduvai the title of the ‘Cradle of Mankind’. Today a small museum gives visitors an introduction to the area and guides are available to walk you into the gorge. Copies of the famous Laetoli footprints, found nearby, are on display.
Halfway between Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater is the roadside village of Karatu, where there are comfortable accommodation choices on the border of the Conservation Area. This is the best position to be in from which to explore the surrounding area, with traditional homesteads, lush plantations and working farms. The lodges round here are all colonial style farm houses, with open tropical gardens and ancient tall led-wood trees. A day can be spent exploring the highlands and the working coffee plantations, hiking or mountain biking.