Crater Highlands

Name ID 1321

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East African Annual,1957-58
Extract Author: C.A.Spinage

Big Game Flock to Mystery Crater

Only 30 miles from Ngorongoro is a typical desert formation known as "barchane". This is in the form of a crescent-shaped sand dune, characteristic of many deserts in Central Asia. Other than to wandering Maasai herdsmen, the area known as the Crater Highlands, north of Ngorongoro, is virtually unknown and consequently little has been written about it, apart from two obscure German publications compiled in 1916 and 1930.

Extract ID: 3701

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Matthiessen, Peter The Tree Where Man Was Born
Extract Date: 1972

Crater Highlands

Crater Highlands ...the strangest and most beautiful of all the regions I have come across in Africa.

In every distance stand strange shrouded landscapes of the past and future. The present is wild blowing light, the sun, a bird, a baobab in heraldic isolation, like the tree where man was born.

Extract ID: 3670

See also

Matthiessen, Peter The Tree Where Man Was Born
Page Number: 191
Extract Date: 1972

Southern Cross and the Pleiades

From the Crater Highlands rose the Southern Cross; the Pleiades, which the Maasai associate with rains, had waned in early June. July is the time of wind and quarrels, and now, in August, the grass was dry and dead. In August, September and October, called the Months of Hunger, the people pin grass to their clothes in hope of rain, for grass is a sign of prosperity and peace, but not until the Pleiades returned, and the south-east monsoon, would the white clouds come that bring the precious water.

Extract ID: 3668

See also

Else, David Trekking in East Africa

The Crater Highlands

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.

Extract ID: 3702

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Source Unknown

Crater Highlands

1. named the Winter Highlands by the Germans (but see Ngorongoro)

2. Maasai - O'lhoirobi - Cold Highlands

Extract ID: 184