April 25, 2016
In 1998 I walked around the less busy side of the Ngorongoro Crater with a small bunch of friends and a band of Maasai warriors whilst donkeys carried a fairly simple mobile rig.
The donkeys proved unreliable but to climb up the path from the Olmoti Crater through the Layani forests to the Empakai Crater which sits in the shadow of the sacred Maasai mountain, Ol Donyo Lengai, was a wonderful adventure. Nomad, my favourite Tanzania safari company, outfitted this exploratory safari: the next time they organised it, the donkeys had transmogrified into a big Unimog!
Nearly twenty years later Nomad are opening a semi-permanent camp on this unfrequented rim of the crater, and I am wholeheartedly behind them in their bid to look after our clients on the road less travelled.
This environmentally friendly camp has a double aspect: on one side a plunging view into the largest unbroken caldera in the world; and on the other a breath-taking vista of the endless plains of the iconic Serengeti. There are no indigenous religious buildings here as one might find in India, but a big fig tree by the camp has been of spiritual significance for the Ilkisongo clan of the Maasai for generations. Older women of the tribe used to pray there, perhaps for an ailment to be cured or to hasten the end of a drought. Even today, passing herdsmen will leave a small handful of grass at the base of the tree, sitting quietly for a moment as a sign of respect.
Up here, besides enjoying the obvious game-viewing in the crater, you can walk away from others and experience real cultural interaction with the local Maasai. And we can get you there, albeit with a few bumps, by a trustier steed than a donkey in the form of a Land Cruiser with a drinkies fridge on board.
But if you still want the real deal of a walking adventure then see below.
A couple of hours’ bumping down from the highlands takes you to the Gideru hills, a hidden swathe of African bush carpeted with picturesque acacia and baobab woodlands, dotted with dramatic rocky hills and seemingly cut off from civilisation. It now forms the core of what is left of this unique people’s traditional rangelands. A few years ago a presidential decree granted the Hadza a title deed to this special corner of the wild.
While the woodlands provide the Hadza with food and other resources that allow them to practise their ancient lifestyle, they also bring financial benefits through an ambitious and innovative conservation project run by Carbon Tanzania. Jo Anderson, the co-founder of this enterprise, is the charismatic leader of walking adventures in this area, providing an interface between the simple yet inspiring lifestyle of the Hadza and the conservation desires of the wider world. The carbon emissions generated by your safari holiday can be offset by your donating a relatively modest sum to this project which for the past five years has been helping the Hadza to protect their land rights, educate their children and access health-care services.
A few days’ walking here links perfectly with a Serengeti eco-system safari.
NB prices shown were current at the time of writing the newsletter and are not necessarily current now.
Please ask for an updated quote.
- A Sense of Place – A favourite place: Tanzania and Ruaha
- A Sense of Place – A favourite place in Botswana: the Okavango with elephants galore
- A Sense of Place – Here be dragons and a dark past
- A Sense of Place – Justice Regained
- A Sense of Place – Summer rains make the roads impassable
- A Sense of Place – ‘Those two ladies put light in my future.’
- A Sense of Place – The bird who lost its nest
- A Sense of Place – Talking with the Maasai
- Newsflash: first American guests to Tanzania since March 2020
- A Sense of Place – AFRICA NEEDS YOU
- Escape to Italy?
- Covid: the road still to be travelled.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 3): Tiger reserves.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 2): Khajuraho.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 1): Lucknow.
- A Sense of Place – Engaged people may save the planet
- A word on lions and a trio of treats
- A Sense of Place – India’s most holy city
- A wealth of wilderness walks in Namibia
- Travel snippets from Miles
- A trio of treats on the green island of Pemba in the Zanzibar archipelago
- A Sense of Place – THE INSIDE TRACK on Cape Town guiding
- A Sense of Place – Migrations of people and beasts: East Africa
- A Sense of Place – An era of revolution and global alliances
- A Sense of Place – A walk on the wild side
- A Sense of Place – The ghost ingredient is back
- A Sense of Place – Liuwa Plains and Kafue National Parks – Zambia
- A Sense of Place – Literati in the Pink City, the Capital of Rajasthan
- A Sense of Place – A Tamil town still connected to Europe, Art Deco architecture, and temple antiquity in Southern India.
- A Sense of Place – Dreamy aquamarine sea and stunning safari with the Makuleke people
- A Sense of Place – A trio of lovely ladies in Hyderabad
- A Sense of Place – Entamanu, the wishing tree and walking with the Hadza tribe.
- We get you to places that others don’t… St Helena, Gt Zimbabwe ruins and Papua new Guinea
- A Sense of Place – Walking in the hippie hills of the Himalayas
- A Sense of Place – The Okavango: the river that never finds the sea
- A Sense of Place – The Great Rift Valley, Laikipia, Samburu warriors and Maasai Olympics.
- A Sense of Place – Escape the world in the Namib Desert
- Africa is a massive continent: a collection of 55 countries
- A Sense of Place – Zambezi Watery Wilderness
- A Sense of Place – Burma: the road beyond Mandalay
- Lake Malawi – Would you rather pay for the advertising or the experience?
- From shoe-shine boy to tourist guide in Ethiopia
- A Sense of Place – Ladakh, the Himalayas
- Dhow sailing, Lions are back in Malawi, Self-drive in Namibia
- Sacred rivers and forts, India
- Piranhas, sting rays, caimans – and still people go into the River Negro!
- Kerala, Southern India – God’s own country
- South Africa: Crucible of the rainbow nation
- Madagascar: croissants and lemurs
- Argentina vs Africa on wildlife drama
- Uganda – Gorillas and Gardens
- Mozambique & Kenya: immigration official on holiday
- Mozambique: Gorongosa and reconciliation in the bush
- Zimbabwe is ready for Tourists again
- Serengeti ecosystem and unbeatable savannah
- Lamu: crab complaining
- Kenya: circumcision
- Zambia: Ellie rescue
- Africans: always smiling
- French sketch
- Kenya: the best hosts
- First visit to Africa 1986
- Namibia, Namib Rand, Skeleton Coast and the ultimate flying safari
- A few gems off the beaten track: Fanjove Island, Tanzania; The Singular Hotel, Patagonia and Isla Palenque, Panama.
- Elephant relocation, quad bike expedition and new Sossusvlei reserve
- Templed out in Tamil Nadu and elephant refuge in Jaipur
- Kenyan sanctuary and family run camp in Zambia
- Australia: Arkaba, Tasmania and Lord Howe Island
- Australia: in the outback and off the beaten track
- India: heavenly Himalayan hideaways, Botswana: fun safari for children and Argentina: hidden homestay in a mountain desert
- Limpopo retreat, Serengeti spectacle and adventure on the Zambezi
- Value for money in Kenya and the trail less travelled in Peru
- Lions in danger, free nights and a new coastal gem
- G and T on demand, hidden beach, micro-light and sleeping on a dam
- Off the beaten track