Olmoti & Empakaai Cratersadmin
Close to the Ngorongoro Crater there are two more craters, namely the olmoti & empakaai craters less famous and less visited, but very interesting for Walking Safaris off the beaten track. Both craters offer you the rare sense of pure solitude and peace, found only in remote, pristine places.
Olmoti Crater floor is shallow and covered with tussocks of grass. Besides the Maasai and their livestock you can sometimes see eland, buffalo and reedbuck. The Munge River originates from the Crater walls, crosses the caldera and plummets down over cliffs, falling some hundreds of metres into the steep-sided ravine below.Returning from Olmoti you can see the depression that is formed where the slopes of Olmoti, Empakaai, Lolmalasin and Losirua volcanoes join with the outer rim of Ngorongoro. This shallow, grassy bassin is called the Embulbul depression. Like the similar Malanja depression to the west, it probably collects and provides a sink for a good deal of water that appears lower down at the foot of the mountains.
From the crater rim you have a fantastic view in the craters’ green paradise. The caldera is about 6 km wide and nearly half of its floor is covered by a lake. The water in the lake is alkaline and the depth of the lake is about 85m, unusually deep for soda lakes in East Africa. The steep walls of the caldera, clothed in forest, rise in some places to almost 300m above the floor.The views along the trail downwards are spectacular at every point. All along you can enjoy the changing views of Empakaai itself. In addition, from the northern and eastern side you can look out to the dramatic cone of the still active volcano, Oldonyo Lengai. If the day is clear, you can look beyond Lengai to the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron. Sometimes you can even see the distant snows caps of Kilimanjaro far on the eastern side of the Valley.On your way downwards to the lake you might see buffaloes or bushbucks, blue monkeys, many birds (like sunbirds and turacos). At the shore of the lake are often waterbucks and elands. It is a joy to walk around the lake shore, experiencing the serenity and quiet beauty of this wild spot.The nights at the Craters can be quite cold (both craters are at 3500 m), especially in June, July and August.