Name ID 429
The most impressive sight of the Crater Highlands is at present [~1950] one of the most inaccessible, involving a long walk from where the track ends at Nainokanoka ('the place of heavy mists'), beyond the far northern rim of Ngorongoro and at least one night's camping.
The crater [Empakaai] is set in the summit of a 10,000 ft mountain, is four miles wide and over three thousand feet deep. Often as the clouds roll over and perhaps a single shaft of sunlight strikes down into the depths, the scene is eerie and awe inspiring and one can little wonder at the tales of monstrous serpents lurking in the dark waters. In fact there are two cattle tracks descending to its shores and the only monster likely to be encountered are rhino and buffalo, which although extremely common are never harried and seldom aggressive. ....
Extract Date: 1954 May 22
Notice in The Tanganyika Standard
Lease of Trading Rights - Serengeti National Park
Tenders are invited for the lease of premises and the right to trade there from in the Serengeti National Park. The premises are:
1. Shop and living quarter at Ngorongoro Market
2. Shop and living quarter at Ondoldol
3. Shop and living quarter at Nainokanoka
The present Rights of Occupancy of Traders at the above mentioned places expire on 30th June 1954 and will not be renewed. The successful tenderer(s) will replace these Traders; and will be required to be ready to commence trading on 1st July 1954.
The subject of the Tender will be an annual renta Shs. 720/- per annum for the plot and premises thereon, together with an annual concession premium of Shs. 400/- payable quarterly in advance.
Copy of the relative form of Lease Agreement can be obtained from the Secretary P.O.Box 180, Arusha on payment of a fee of Shs. 5/-. Tenders in sealed envelopes clearly marked 'Tender for Trading Rights' must reach The Secretary, P.O.Box 180 Arusha not later than 5th June 1954.
G.H.Swynnerton, Chairman, Board of Management, Serengeti National Park. Arusha, 18th May 1954
Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 171a
Extract Date: 1962
In good times the road round Ngorongoro's rim is usable for two-thirds of its circumference. Part of it is always satisfactory. This all-weather section runs from Wilkie's Point, where we had first looked down into the crater and were blind to the animals living there, round past the turn-off to the cliff road, past the village of Ngorongoro, past the Crater Lodge (which is a log cabin type of motel, superbly placed), and on to a spot known as Windy Gap. The road then leaves the crater rim and saunters down towards the huge plains of the Serengeti a couple of thousand feet below. The other portion of the rim road is by no means as reliable. From the junction at Wilkie's Point it travels north around the eastern side of the crater, and it eventually joins up with a minor village called Nainokanoka.
This perimeter system we surveyed, in so far as it was possible to do so. The wind had been blowing initially from the northeast, and therefore we paid most regard to that section up to Nainokanoka. The nearer we could get to that village, the longer the flight would be over the crater region. Unfortunately, no one had reached that village with a light lorry, let alone a heavy one, for several months, and the last heavy lorry to do the journey had left fearful ruts a foot or two deep along the track. We found these could normally be circumvented by driving into the surrounding jungle to make a detour round them; but 8 miles from Wilkie's Point a misguided river had been meandering along the route. This was of no great depth, but it had deposited far too much silt for us to negotiate and the ways round it were too steep. It formed the end of the line.
Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 208a
Extract Date: 1962
Six days later we left that camp beneath the fig-tree on our way to the air rally.[in Nairobi] In the intervening period we had continued to make the film, for there was nothing to be done about the balloon until another gas consignment was ready, and that had been booked for the Nairobi flight. We had also driven right across to the other side of the crater, up the more inaccessible north wall, and to the lonely village of Nainokanoka. We were the first to go along the track for several months, and it was in poor shape; but the countryside was magnificent with a softness that is rare in Africa. At the rest hut, a comfortable shack kept warm by the hay stuffed into its rafters, we lit a huge log fire, and occasionally made forays into a night of startling clarity for more wood. Earlier inhabitants had even burnt the outhouse lavatory roof, but we were not as desperate as they had been. However, there was something Neronian and intriguing about the thought of a person sitting there in that rondavel of a room with the roof blazing warmly above him.
The Crater Highlands is a range of extinct volcanoes that rise steeply from the side of the Great Rift Valley in Northern Tanzania. ...
To the north and south of Ngorongoro are several impressive peaks, with steep escarpments, crater lakes, dense forests and grassy ridges, streams and waterfalls. There's even an active volcano. It's also home to many Maasai people who have grazed cattle on the grassy hillside here for hundreds of years. This part of the highlands is an excellent walking area, but is very seldom visited, and is completed upstaged by the Ngorongoro Crater just a few km to the south.
The Crater Highlands range is roughly oval in shape, measuring about 80 km by 40 km, and is pinched at one end. The range rises steeply from the surrounding plains at about 1500 metres to heights of between 2500 and 3500 metres.
Like many of East Africa's mountains, the Highlands are volcanic in origin, although the different peaks were created over many millions of years by a series of eruptions connected with the formation of the Great Rift Valley. The older volcanoes have been eroded and most have collapsed to form the craters (more correctly known as calderas) from where the range takes it name. ...
To the north of Ngorongoro Crater is the main part of the highlands, where the trekking described in this section takes place. Only a few km away, the mountain of Olmoti rises to 3100 metres on its western side, with a flat topped peak which can easily be seen from Ngorongoro. This mountain also has a small crater. ... North is Empakaai (also spelt Embagai), with a steep sided circular crater, half filled by a lake. In between the peaks of Olmoti, Loolmalasin and Empakaai the ground dips to form the large Embulbul Depression.
... Beyond lies Ol Doinyo Lengai (2878 metres), a classic volcanic cone ... still active. The last eruption was in the mid 1960's, and at the top of the mountain today you can see hot steam vents and growing ash cones. ...
After driving from Arusha, it is usual to camp or stay at one of the lodges at Ngorongoro village on your first night and go down into the crater for a few hours wildlife viewing. Late afternoon or early morning is best, as this is when the animals are more likely to be active. On the second day you can drive across Ngorongoro Crater and leave by the Northern Track. Here you will meet your Maasai guides and donkeys.
... From the northern side of the crater you walk through the forest on a good track to reach the ranger post near the village of Nainokanoka. From Nainokanoka you can side track up through open forest to reach the summit of Olmoti Mountain where there's a small crater and the spectacular Munge Waterfall. Water collected in the Olmoti Crater flows down this waterfall and eventually into the lake in Ngorongoro crater. ...
From the base of Olmoti, continue on the track, aiming north around the edge of the Embulbul Depression, towards Empakaai Crater (20 km, 6-8 hrs). As you gradually gain height, the forest thins out and you pass through open grassland on the dry side of the mountain, to reach the highest point of the western rim. The view from here down into the crater is stunning. The steep inner walls are densely forested and drop to the flat crater floor, partly covered in grass, and partly submerged under a lake. The Maasai are not allowed to graze cattle here, and there's a good chance of seeing wildlife. ...
You could do a complete circuit of the spectacular rim. This is about 32 km, mainly on good paths and tracks, and takes all day. The northern side of the mountain is particularly impressive, with great views down into the crater to the south and north to the conical peak of Lengai some 13 km away, with Lake Natron and the flat plains of the Rift Valley sometimes visible beyond.